Go to a masquerade ball!
THE AGE OF EXPLORATION AND DISCOVERY
My elementary school history lessons included George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, and Pilgrims. The picture I painted in my mind was basically, Columbus “discovered America.” The Pilgrims sailed to America and had a feast. George Washington, a man with “wooden teeth” who never lied, was the first president. Honest Abe said, “All men are created equal.” History!
Growing up in Minnesota, I was able to attend the Renaissance Fair in Shakopee every October. It was like stepping back in time. I really didn’t understand the time I was stepping into, you know, because my limited knowledge of history included four events, but I knew it was colorful and entertaining. Jugglers, puppeteers, jousters, jesters, maidens, minstrels, mimes, craftsmen, and merchants all existed at the Renaissance Fair.
The Renaissance makes me think of a fun street festival. That’s why I chose masquerade masks for the craft. In the 15th century people wore masks to the carnivals in Venice. Wearing a mask was a great way to disguise your identity. No one knew if you were rich or poor. You could speak freely without being judged.
TOP 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE RENAISSANCE PERIOD
#10 Renaissance means rebirth. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Greek and Roman ideas in science, art, and government had been lost. The Renaissance was a time of rediscovering the past and exploring new ideas.
#9 Humanism was a philosophy that said everyone should make an effort to be educated. The humanist movement made it okay for people to pursue wealth, comfort, and beauty.
#8 The Reformation was a split in the Catholic Church. A monk named Martin Luther started to have questions about the practices of the church, noting they differed from the teachings of the bible. Martin Luther and others started new Christian religions.
#8 The Medici Family from Florence, Italy were wool merchants and bankers. They were one of the richest families in Europe. Medici money was used to support the arts, architecture, and science.
#7 Queen Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII, took the throne after her father, and later, two of her siblings (King Edward and Queen Mary) died. She worked hard to be a good queen and reigned for 44 years.
#6 Copernicus & Galileo – New ideas about the solar system were explored. Copernicus used math to figure out that the Earth was in orbit around the sun. Before he figured it out, people thought the Earth was the center of the solar system. Scientists studied the written works of Aristotle and other ancient Greeks. They didn’t run tests to find out if these old scientific ideas were true. Galileo changed all that. He created an early form of the Scientific Method to test various hypothesis to find out if they were true.
#5 Shakespeare—Probably the best known author of all time.
#4 Renaissance Art—Proportion and perspective were understood. Artists were known by name. Wealthy people paid artists to paint their portraits. (The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are named after 4 well-known Renaissance artists.)
#3 Leonardo DiVinci – an artist, inventor, and scientist – the original Renaissance Man. DiVinci was a very talented and intelligent man. His paintings, “The Last Supper“ and the “Mona Lisa,” are probably the most famous paintings in the world.
#2 The Printing Press, invented by Johann Gutenberg, changed everything. Before the printing press, books were written by hand. It took a long time to make a book. Now books were created quickly. Because they had access to books, many people learned how to read.
#1 Explorers – From the 1400s to the 1600s European nations began to explore the world. Exploring was a dangerous and expensive business, but successful explorers enjoyed adventure, fame, and fortune. Explorers found new sea routes to “undiscovered” places. They would colonize the land, meaning lay claim to the land and the people who already inhabited it. We are all familiar with the story of Christopher Columbus.
Make the RENAISSANCE MASQUERADE MASK Click the link to view or print the PDF.
Masquerade balls became popular in 16th century Italy during the Renaissance. They were extravagant dances for wealthy citizens.
Click the link to go to the Renaissance Period on my website for FREE activities or to purchase the unit.