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Erie Canal Time Machine

If you had a time machine, where would you go? Ancient Egypt? Rome at the time of the gladiators? Maybe you'd like to see the signing of the Declaration of Independence?

Think of all the things you could learn if you could travel back in time! You could witness great events, see how people dressed, learn what games the kids played, and taste foods that didn't come from a supermarket. You could spend a day, a week or a year in the past, and when you got tired, you could travel back to your own time and tell everybody what you saw. Well, nobody's invented a time machine yet. But that doesn't mean you can't go back to the past.

If you have a little imagination and know where to look, you can travel to almost any year and learn what it was like to live then. Lots of pieces of the past have been saved in what are called archives — big collections of old photos, letters, diaries, newspaper articles and many, many other items. Historians — people who like to ask questions about the past — use archives as their time machine, to travel back and learn what it was really like to live a long time ago.