Your hometown is alive. From schools to museums to theaters and beyond, there’s a network of civic and cultural institutions that form the lifeblood of our cities and towns.
The summer is the perfect time for a civic scavenger hunt. As you make your way to each of the following civic checkpoints, mark the location on a map of your town or city so at the end, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of your town’s civic circulatory system!
We’d also love to see your civic scavenger hunting, so feel free to tag us in photos of your finished map on Instagram. Be sure to tag us @Kidizenship!
1. HISTORY MUSEUM — What surprises you the most at your local history museum? Are there any local heroes that you didn’t know about? Visit your local history museum and take a photo with the exhibit that inspires you the most. (In Memphis, TN, you can visit the National Civil Rights Museum’s exhibit on the Student Sit-In Movement of 1960, among many other moving collections.)
2. LANDMARK OR STATUE — Which historical figure does your hometown choose to commemorate? What do these memorials tell you about American history, and how does their era differ from our own? (In Philadelphia, PA, you can pose with the statue of John Barry, Father of the American Navy, in Independence National Historic Park.)
3. HISTORICAL MARKER — In Rye, NY, Benjamin Franklin built mile markers along the Boston Post Road for the colonial postal system. These markers, which still stand to this day, don’t just take us through history — they show how American civic life has built this country, mile by mile. Take a walk through downtown or the park to snap a photo of a historical maker that matters to you and you think others should know about.
4. CITY HALL — Make a poster of 3 things you want to bring awareness or change to in your city, and pose with it on the steps of City Hall. Bonus points if you spot the Mayor and hand it to them!
5. BOARD OF EDUCATION — Attend a school board meeting that is open to the public, and represent while wearing your school colors as you listen to their plans for the next school year. In the public comment section, tell them one thing you think your school should focus more on.
6. LIBRARY — Hit your local library and check out three new books you’re eager to read. For a youth civics special, ask your librarian to show you a book published by someone under 18. Show off the covers of your books of choice, and let your friends know if you joined any cool activities! (In Cerritos, CA, you can browse Cerritos Millennium Library to experience everything from the Children’s Library to the Old World Reading Room.)
7. CITY FOUNDING SIGN — Find a sign with your city’s founding year, especially if you’re coming up on an anniversary celebration of the place you call home! (In St. Augustine, FL, residents celebrated being the first American city officially founded by European settlers.)
8. LOCAL CAMPAIGN, CAUSE, OR ISSUE — Snap a photo of a billboard or yard sign that showcases a candidate or cause you support. You could be next to fill their shoes or make the change you want to see!