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Disappointing ...

My grandsons, ages 15 and 12, were in town last week, and we tried to do two interesting things a day while they were here.

On Friday afternoon, we drove into Austin to the Harry Ransom Center to see the World War I exhibit.

I picked that particular activity because they are boys, and boys are generally more interested in war than girls are, because I figured it wouldn't hurt them to learn some history and because I figured it would be a great way to spend two or three hours.

In my head, I imagined all kinds of neat things that a museum could do to make a war that happened 100 years ago interesting. Like weapons. Like video. Like mind-numbing big black-and-white images. Like great maps, even interactive maps. Accessible audio. Things to touch. Things to hold. Things to process in some way besides through the written word.

When we drove away from the museum about an hour after entering the exhibit, I asked the boys what they had learned about World War I.

In unison: "Nothing."

The things I imagined, it seems no one else imagined at the Ransom Center.

Even I got bored with it.

I could go on and on about it. But I won't.

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