A Special Ship – And A Special Invitation

When I was asked to create an 1812 character for American Girl, I set out to learn everything I could about that period. The very first thing I did was plan a visit to the USS Constitution and the USS Constitution Museum in Boston. Why? Well, I’ll share that in a moment.

First, I want to let everyone know that Museum staff have planned a wonderful event to celebrate publication of the Caroline Abbott books, the important role the ship played during the War of 1812, and the ways children’s lives were touched by those momentous events. If you live in the area, I hope you will join us at 2 PM on October 7. (If you don’t live nearby, but you know someone who does, I hope you’ll share this information with them.)

Attendees can dress up and enjoy an 1812 tea. I’ll present an illustrated program providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Caroline’s world. We’ll have time for questions, door prizes, autographs, photos, and tea. Then everyone can visit the USS Constitution Museum and take a tour of USS Constitution, a ship that actually fought in the War of 1812–just like those Caroline Abbott knew at Sackets Harbor.

Illustration from Meet Caroline. (Artwork by Robert Papp)

Tickets cost $12.50, which includes the special program, tea, and tours. To reserve your tickets, call 618-426-1812, ext. 113.

So why am I so excited about this event? Well, there aren’t many opportunities for any of us to literally touch history. The USS Constitution defeated four English warships during the War of 1812. That accomplishment gave rise to the ship’s nickname, “Old Ironsides.”

One of the active-duty tour guides on the USS Constitution.

Touring the ship and imagining the men who once lived and fought aboard is a moving experience.

Can you imagine the crewmen who once walked these floors…

…and slept in hammocks like these?

Touring made me feel like the 1812 sailors had just stepped out for a moment.

And the USS Constitution Museum is a wonderful place to visit, and to imagine what your life might have been if you’d lived two hundred years ago.

In my books, Caroline likes learning to tie new knots.

Exhibits like this one helped me imagine Caroline and her world.

If you’ve read Meet Caroline, you know that her cousin Oliver planned to travel Lake Ontario as a merchant-sailor. This exhibit showed how he would transport livestock from the dock to his ship!

On my last visit to the USS Constitution Museum, I had great fun exploring the exhibits—and seeing how much fun kids were having as they tried swinging in a sailor’s hammock, raising a sail, dressing up as a sailor, and lots more.

I’m looking forward to sharing this special place with readers.  I hope to see some of you there!

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4 Responses to “A Special Ship – And A Special Invitation”

  1. J. G. Burdette Says:

    I seen where my local library is getting your Caroline Books. I’ll have to pick them up and have a look at them!

  2. Daniel Stack Says:

    My wife and daughter Jasmine were at the event. Jasmine is 7 and was never the one interested in history – that was more our older daughter Vicki, age 10. Every year we go to U.S.S. Constitution for the turnaround cruise on the 4th of July.

    Now Jasmine is talking non-stop about life around 1812. We just finished reading the first book last night and she can’t wait to begin the second. Though the books are a touch above her reading level we take turns and she’s inspired to give a try – something rather inspiring as she’s had some difficulty with reading at grade level.

    Jazzy had a boxed set for which you signed all the books – when we read “Meet Caroline” Jasmine insisted we read the autograph as part of the experience. It really made the books feel specially “hers”.

    • Kathleen Ernst Says:

      Hi Daniel – Thanks so much for sharing your family’s experience. Books were such an important part of my childhood that one of the best parts of my job is hoping that in some small way I can help encourage young readers to get excited about reading and history. I’m so glad that Jasmine enjoyed the tea and now is enjoying the books! I have a lovely image in my mind of you sharing the books together. I had a wonderful time in Boston–being at the USS Constitution Museum was a special honor, and of course meeting so many beautiful and smart little girls was a joy!

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