FULTON -- Sydney Van Orden has been to the National Churchill Museum on the Westminster College campus before, but when her grandmother suggested she attend an overnight adventure there last night, the 8-year-old was taken aback.
"It never occurred to me to be in a museum overnight," she said. "It was weird. I didn't want to go alone."
So Sydney recruited a friend, Sami Cooke, and last night the girls joined 10 other area children for a "Night at the Museum."
It's the third time that Mandy Plybon, education and public programs coordinator at the museum, has opened up the historic Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, to young overnight guests. The inaugural sleepover was held last summer and featured ghost stories, and she hosted a second in January.
The goal is to get kids ages 6-12 a chance to enjoy the museum's features in a more relaxed setting.
"It's a way to experience the museum alone without adults after hours," Plybon said. "They can be loud if they want to because there are no other visitors. There's more freedom. They can be kids."
Last night's program revolved around the museum's newest traveling exhibit: "Our Lives, Our Stories." The National Endowment for Humanities' exhibit features stories of America's "greatest generation" through touch-screen videos and printed and audio stories of people who lived through the Great Depression and World War II.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is an old-fashioned soda foundation counter that, when visitors sit at a booth, plays a recording of the radio news that broke when Pearl Harbor was attacked.