This past Friday, the Barker Mansion held the first ever Night at the Mansion event. Basically, the mansion allowed two troops of girl scouts to spend the night in the mansion. They received a tour of the mansion (including a “behind the scenes” tour), had dinner in the Barker dining room, and watched a movie and played games in the drawing room. The girls spent the night and enjoyed a nice breakfast in the morning. Before I left for the night, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the troop leaders and the girls.
I first talked to Amy and Kelly from Troop 00012 about their experience having the scouts visit and spend the night. They thought it would be an interesting, fascinating idea for the group. Amy mentioned how she used to visit the mansion a lot when she was a kid, and Kelly told me that she visits all the time for different events and weddings. They both had an amazing time. They found it to be a very rich learning experience for the girls and themselves. Amy really liked that she was able to share the mansion with her own daughter, Juliana. Kelly made a great point that every time you visit, you notice something new. They also enjoyed the large group aspect for the fact that the girls asked a variety of questions during the tour.
I also spoke with the troop leader for Troop 30204, Joan. Whereas Troop 00012 consists of girls around the age of nine, Joan’s group consists of teenagers (around 15 and 16). She mentioned to me that her and her girls are always looking for fun and exciting things to do. All of them are very interested with history, and they thought coming to the Barker Mansion satisfied that interest greatly. Joan mentioned a cool part of the mansion were the carvings in the wood and the architecture overall. Her and her daughter, Anastasia, love architecture, and they really enjoyed the mansion’s. Joan felt that visiting the mansion gave all the girls a real appreciation for history. She also said the visit and tour brought history to life through the mansion. Being able to walk in and around the many rooms and halls of the mansion allowed the girls to see history as more than just names and dates.
As great as talking to the troop leaders was, I also made an effort to talk to the girls. I always find it important to get the different perspectives. I had the pleasure to sit down and speak with Amelia, Krystani, Juliana, and Megan as they played checkers. Off the bat, all four girls exclaimed how awesome and cool they thought the mansion was. After being able to walk through the mansion, Amelia said it felt like a dream. She, and many other girls, wished to own and live in the mansion. Her favorite part was the library since she loves books. Krystani had a harder time picking her favorite part because she loved all of it too much. She was very ecstatic about the entire thing, wanting to go on the tour the moment she walked through the mansion’s door. Krystani made a great point about not being able to touch anything. This made everyone see with their eyes and really take good looks, maybe even double takes, of everything they saw.
Mentioned before, we had a few teenagers a part of the scout’s night over. I had the opportunity to speak with two of them, Anastasia and Gwen. Both thought the mansion was really cool, and they thoroughly enjoyed touring. Anastasia talked about she recently visited Europe, a visit she loved. She compared visiting the mansion to Europe based on the architecture. Her favorite aspect of the mansion was the architecture, finding it really cool and fascinating to examine. Gwen’s favorite part was Catherine’s room. They thought spending the night was a great idea since they were able to walk through the mansion as a smaller group. It was like being a part of something, something in history.
This was the first time the Barker Mansion ever allowed people to spend the night. The girls of Troops 00012 and 30204 loved the fact they were first, the trendsetters. We loved having them as much as they loved being here. The best part for us is that we were able to share the mansion and it’s rich history with a great group of young people, children and teens. We would love to have them, and any other similar groups, back again.