On Saturday, October 22, 2016 I had the opportunity to take part in a special event at the National Archives for a second time. Kids ages 8-12 along with their adult chaperones participated in several activities and spent the night next to America’s most precious treasures: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights for a "History, Heroes & Treasures" themed sleepover!
All evening long I documented the event using the relatively new Instagram stories function on my account (@Carolyn Belefski) and the National Archives (@usnatarchives) also did a great job with their feed and stories.
The activity I helped lead is called "Design Your Own Superhero with Carolyn Belefski" where the children and their parents are welcome to create their own hero using prompts of personality traits and activities each of us enjoy individually. I created a worksheet so everyone could grasp the concept quickly. The sheet included a body template, checklist of superpowers, and more. If the participant wanted to use a black sheet of paper and go freestyle without the template, they could go that direction as well. Throughout the evening there were several activity stations to choose from, so if they wanted to visit everything they would only have about ten minute or less at each spot. However the event is very freeform and kids could stay as long as they want at any station without a "whistle" or "alarm" to change stations.
A few of the children and their parents came dressed up as superheroes or visionaries from history. There were also costumed entertainers (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Dunlop, and Sojourner Truth) to answer historical questions. I was surprised to see a few familiar faces from the last event this past February and have the kids enjoy the activity so much that they wanted to do it again.
Look for more images and content online using the hashtag #ArchivesSleepover. Shoutouts to the volunteers and interns who helped make the event be the best it could be and big thanks to the National Archives for hosting such a fun event and for educating the younger generations!