Explorers of the Past club members travel internationally within Pittsburgh


Photo provided by Bryan Calligan

On Feb. 16, members of the Explorers of the Past: History and Anthropology Club came together for a Pittsburgh adventure at the Soldiers and Sailors museum and Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning.

Despite initial transportation woes, the club’s first trip of the semester is sure to remain one of its highlights. Making the most of even the drive there, the group jammed out to thematically appropriate tunes, including songs from the musical “Hamilton” and various countries’ national anthems.

While most of the group went straight to the Nationality Rooms, several attendees also visited the Soldiers and Sailors museum. According to junior Katie Hugo, the museum “was really cool because it … contains military historical items from Civil War to the present.” The museum itself also has a unique history, having been founded by Civil War veterans.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group toured the Nationality Rooms, a collection of functioning classrooms in the Cathedral of Learning designed using the traditional architecture and styles of countries around the world. As they wandered, the members kept each other entertained, taking fun group pictures and reciting mock lectures, political orations and Shakespearean speeches as appropriate.

The club members visited many rooms, and they all had a hard time choosing a favorite. As junior Felicity Moran put it, “I don’t think I could pick a favorite room. It was incredible to see little pieces of countries hundreds of miles away. It made me feel smaller.”

Those who could choose were inspired by different things. Hugo, who eventually joined the group in the Nationality Rooms, said that her nostalgia for her Austrian semester made the Austrian room her favorite, but “it was awesome to (see) things inspired by different parts of the world.”

In contrast, junior Bryan Calligan most enjoyed “the Armenian room, where it felt like you had stepped into an actual castle.”

The one thing everyone could agree on was that the trip was really fun and, as Moran put it, “thoroughly unforgettable.”

And as Calligan so aptly stated, “History club is the only true adventure. … This was probably the best trip I have ever been on in my time with the history club. We were all given the opportunity to really get close to each other on top of being able to see such an exciting place.”

The club is hoping to do a repeat trip with more members later in the semester, to which all students will be welcome and for which more information will be provided in the coming weeks.

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