What in the World is it?

In museums and historic sites, we often come across objects from the past that we can’t immediately identify. Only after much examination and research is the mystery of “What in the world is this?” solved. The Historic Odessa Foundation invites you to search your home for interesting objects to create a historical investigation for your whole family. Each family member will need a piece of paper, a pencil and a ruler or tape measure.

brass weights inside the Coin Scale box

The Assignment

  • First, every family member needs to pick one or two everyday objects found in your house. This needs to be done in secret….. don’t let other family members see the items you have chosen.
  • Next, working by yourself, look at your object closely and, on a piece of paper, list the following:
    • Give the measurements of your object (width, height, depth, circumference)
    • Describe the weight of the object in general terms (heavy, light)
    • Describe the color and texture of the object, include variations
    • Describe any removable parts
    • Describe the object’s shape
  • Finally, when everyone is finished, gather your family around a table and exchange the descriptions of your objects.
  • Each family member should then try to guess “What in the world is this object” based upon the descriptions.

Download the activity here

PDF icon What in the World is it?

From Our Collection

Coin Scale box containing a scale and weights

Coin Scale and Weights
Creator: Peter Stretch (1670-1746)
Origin: Philadelphia, 1709-1746
Medium: Brass, steel, unidentified diffuse porous wood, probably fruitwood
“PS” stamped on weights; “William Corbit born 1762 / Daniel Corbit born 1796 / Mary C Corbit born 1848 / John Warner born 1884” on inside of lid.