The News-Times/Wendy Carlson
Patrick Mott is a volunteer at The Military Museum of
Southern New England in Danbury.
On Nov. 10, eight months of work will come to fruition for
16-year-old Patrick Mott.
That is the day he will oversee "Open Turret Day” at The Military
Museum of Southern New England on Park Avenue in Danbury. And he
will introduce a series of games he has created to help children
visiting the museum learn about the wars that have been fought to
preserve their freedom.
"It was my interest in history that brought me into this,” said
Patrick, who undertook the project to earn the Boy Scout rank of
Eagle Scout. "I wanted to honor our veterans and instill an
appreciation of what they all did to preserve our freedom in the
children who come here. I want future generations to remember the
sacrifices that previous generations have made.”
Patrick chose Veterans’ Day weekend to introduce the games and
give the tours to "honor our veterans.” Both of his grandfathers
served in the armed forces and were involved in World War II. He was
thinking of them when he began this project.
The games he created range from a scavenger hunt that older
children can make as they move through the museum’s exhibits to
connect-the-dots pictures for young children. There are word
searches and crossword puzzles that have even given adults cause to
"I wanted to make the learning process fun,” Patrick said.
The Ridgefield High School junior spent the summer giving tours
at the museum and is extremely knowledgeable about the exhibits and
the historic facts behind them.
One panoramic display of an armored car has crated stuffed
chickens in it strapped to the car. It is something that often
catches the attention of young visitors to the museum.
"Chickens were used as diversions during WW II,” Patrick
explained last week as he gave this reporter a tour of the museum.
"Troops would occupy one side of a town and set up the chickens in
another part of the town. When the enemy came in, they’d be lulled
into a false sense that everything must be all right since livestock
was still around. Then the U.S. troops could surround and overcome
On Nov. 10, Patrick will be joined by 10 volunteers he picked to
provide safety watch as young visitors are allowed to climb on the
tanks and other mechanized armored vehicles outside. Three of the
volunteers have been trained by him to give tours. Others will hand
out the games. The day has been planned by Patrick down to the
Along with creating games and writing a tour guide for his
volunteers to learn, Patrick has taken a thick, bindered guide to
the outside exhibits and created a shortened version with two
sentences about each vehicle. That version is on a double-sided
piece of paper. He is placing the shortened guide on a computer disc
so it can be added to and printed as copies are needed in the
To attain the rank of Eagle Scout, Patrick has gone through a
lengthy process. His final project has to leave a lasting effect on
the institution that he chose to work with. And what better choice
could he make than to leave the gift of knowledge?
"I always wanted to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout,” Patrick
said. "I looked at these kids who were Eagle Scouts and realized the
character that they had. I knew I wanted to be affiliated with that
kind of people — people who can get things done.”
With another year of high school ahead of him, Patrick is already
thinking about the future when he will go to college. At this time,
he’s not sure if he will join the ROTC. A military career may be in
his future or might not. One thing is certain: a continued study of
history will be.
Open Turret Day will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Nov. 10 at
The Military Museum of Southern New England, 125 Park Ave., Danbury.
For further information or directions, call the museum at (203)