That little children's ditty has been around long enough to prove that if there's one thing kids love, it's treasure. The idea that there's some hidden loot out there just waiting to be discovered is awfully powerful-even for adults. (Right, antiquers?)
So that's why neighboring Rockford museums Discovery Center Museum and Burpee Museum of Natural History are teaming up to present a traveling exhibit called " Treasure! Your Hunt Has Just Begun" which examines just what people consider "treasure" and how they go about finding it.
"In a nutshell, the exhibit is about the science, technology, history and thrill of treasure hunting," says Ann Marie Walker, marketing manager for Discovery Center Museum. "The words 'treasure' and 'treasure-hunting' evoke excitement and curiosity in all of us."
The science of treasure hunting explores the devices that are used to discover treasure, from pirate times to the modern day. Visitors can operate a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) in a tank of water, the same way professionals look for shipwrecks in the ocean. Or they can try to crack the code on a safe (parents, it might be time to change that code when you get home!). And for those who gravitate toward eyepatches and parrots, there's a chance to "shoot" cannons from the deck of a pirate ship.
The exhibit also explores the question of "What is treasure?" whether it's gold dubloons in a treasure chest, an heirloom quilt in the attic, or a kid's favorite stuffed animal.
Both museums have special events planned in conjunction with the exhibit. Kids will especially like Discovery Center's "Dig Into Treasure" event on June 28 and "Swashbuckling Science" on July 26, which both include time to explore the exhibit, as well as special activities.
"The goal is really to help families connect to one another," Walker says. "We want them to learn about something together, to figure something out together, and hopefully to continue those conversations even after they leave the museum."
And that, we can all agree, is the real treasure.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.