Classroom Outreach Programs Bring CHS to Your School

If you can’t come to us, our programs can come to you! These programs use reproduction objects and documents from our collection along with hands-on activities to bring history to life.

These participatory programs are designed for class-size groups. They are not suitable for assemblies or large groups, unless otherwise noted.

Length: 1 ¼ hours, except where noted (allow 15 minutes between programs)
Cost: $150 per program, plus round trip mileage from the CHS at 60¢ per mile.





The Circus Comes to Town

circus-outreachStudents use props, costumes, physical activities, games, and their imaginations to create their own circus, from the parade of animals and performers to the acts in the center ring. They enjoy a circus storybook and each student makes a circus poster to take home.

HIST K.1, 1.1; CCSS SL.1-2, SL.4-5, L.1, L.6


PLEASE NOTE: This program requires a large open space, like a gym or multi-purpose room.



Native Americans in Early Connecticut

native-americans-in-early-ctThis program introduces students to the life and culture of Native Americans in southern New England. Students examine reproduction artifacts made from materials such as stone, wood, bone, and animal skins and learn about Native American cultural values from a traditional story. Each student makes a “bear claw” necklace to take home.


HIST K.1, K.3-5, 1.1, 1.3-5, 2.2, 2.4, 2.6-7, GEO K.4, 1.4, 2.4; CCSS R.7, SL.1-2, SL.4, L.1, L.6



Colonial Kids

on-the-move-outreachUsing reproduction objects and hands-on activities, students are introduced to daily life in colonial Connecticut. They compare their own lives to those of colonial children as they learn about both work and play. Students examine differences in clothing, learn about daily chores, try out some colonial toys, and make a reproduction “hornbook.”


HIST 1.1, 1.4-5, 1.7-8, 2.2, 2.6-7, 2.9-10, CCSS R.1-2, R.4, R.10, SL.1-2, SL.4, L.1, L.4, L.6



History Detectives: Exploring Native American Life

history-detectives-outreachIn this hands-on program, students become the historians to investigate the lifestyle of Native American people in Connecticut before European contact. They learn about different kinds of historical resources, discover the importance of oral tradition, and play a traditional Native American game. Students practice their observation skills by examining, describing, and analyzing reproduction artifacts.


HIST 3.2, 3.5-7, 4.1, 4.3, 5.2, 5.5-7, 5.10, ECO 3.2, 4.3, 5.2, GEO 3.4-6, 3.8, 4.3, 4.5, 4.7, 5.2-3, CCSS R.7, W.2, W.4, W.9, SL.1-4, L.1-3



The Three Branches of Government

Based on our popular museum tour of the same name, students explore Connecticut’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government and discover who makes the rules in Connecticut. To better understand the role of each branch, students elect a governor from among their classmates, debate a bill, and hold a mock trial (student reading required). Through movement, improvisation, role-playing, and active participation, students learn the purpose of rules and laws, explore the separation of powers, and discover the rights and responsibilities of individuals.

CIV 3.1-3, 3.6-7, 5.1-4; CCSS R.10, SL.1, SL.3-4, L.1, L.3, L.6

PLEASE NOTE: This program is available for groups of 26-50 students for a fee of $225 per program. For groups of over 25 students, a large, open space is required as this program will not work in a standard classroom.


Characters from Colonial Connecticut

characters-from-colonial-ct-outreachAfter a short introduction, students work in teams of 4-5 to learn about one character from colonial Connecticut, such as a tinsmith, tavern keeper, Patriot soldier, enslaved domestic servant, or Woodland Indian trader. Each group explores one “identity box,” handling reproduction artifacts, practicing close observation skills, and completing a series of activities related to their character’s life.


HIST 4.1, 5.2, 5.4-6, ECO 5.2, CCSS R.1-2, R.4, R.6-7, R.10, W.2, W.4, W.9, SL.1-2, SL.4, L.1-2



On the Move: Immigration and Migration to Connecticut

on-the-move-outreachThis program introduces students to a variety of 20th-century stories about moving to Connecticut. An introductory game of chance looks at the difficult choices and conditions faced by immigrants throughout history. Students then work in teams to examine artifacts from “immigration trunks” and uncover many different family stories about moving to Connecticut.


HIST 4.1, 8.1-3, 8.6-9, ECO 4.1-2, 8.1, GEO 4.4-8, 8.3-4; CCSS R.1-4, R.7, R.10, W.2, W.4, W.9, SL.1-2, SL.4-5, L.1-2, L.6, RH.6-8.1-4, RH.6-8.7



Connecticut and the Road to Independence

ct-road-independence-outreachStudents investigate how Connecticut citizens participated in the American Revolution, looking at issues from both the Patriot and Loyalist perspectives. Through a variety of student activities, the dramatic sequence of events from 1763-1783 that led to American independence is brought to life. Students examine reproduction artifacts and analyze a primary document to explore life in Connecticut during this time. Using quill pens, students join the cause by signing an “oath of allegiance.” Fee reductions for this program are made possible by the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut.

HIST 5.1-10, 8.1-9; CCSS R.1-2, R.4, R.6-7, R.9-10, SL.1-4, L.1, L.4, L.6, RH.6-8.1-2, RH.6-8.4, RH.6-8.6-8



Amistad: A Journey to Justice

amistad-outreachExplore the Connecticut event that had a national impact on the rising tensions leading up to the Civil War. Investigate the dramatic 1839 story of 53 Africans, kidnapped from their homeland and forced into slavery, who managed to win a legal battle in the U.S. and return home. Students re-enact parts of the story and use a range of physical activities to bring the Africans’ ordeal to life. They learn ways to communicate and work together to solve problems just as the Africans on the Amistad did. Reproduction artifacts, primary source documents, props, and illustrations are also used to dramatize the story.

HIST 5.2, 5.4-5, 5.9, 8.1-5, 8.9, ECO 5.1, 8.1, GEO 5.3, 8.4, CCSS R.7, SL.1-4, L.1, RH.6-8.1-3, RH.6-8.7-8

PLEASE NOTE: This program requires a space to project images. The CHS educator will bring a projector, unless one is already set up in the room. This program is available for groups of 26-50 students for a fee of $225 per program. For groups of over 25 students, a large, open space is required as this program will not work in a standard classroom.


Connecticut and the Civil War

ct-civil-war-outreachUsing a variety of primary sources and local history materials, students look at the Civil War through the experiences of people from Connecticut. Using letters, photographs, historic posters, and government documents, as well as reproduction clothing and equipment, students explore four areas of impact on Connecticut’s citizens: recruitment, the soldier’s experience, roles played by women, and reporting the war. This program requires a projection screen or surface.

HIST 5.2, 5.6, 8.1-4, 8.6; CCSS R.1-2, R.4, RH.6-8.1, RH.6-8.4, RH.6-8.7-8



Program Length: 45 minutes–1 hour (depending on class length)
Cost: $125 per program plus round trip mileage from the CHS at 60¢ per mile.

Historian’s Toolkit

historians-toolkit-outreachLearn the skills needed for researching anything! This program emphasizes research and inquiry skill development, close reading and observation, and analysis. Students learn the process of researching a topic by examining pre-selected primary and secondary sources including books, manuscripts, historic photographs, and artifacts from the CHS collection to investigate a series of related research questions. Throughout the process students develop an understanding of how to gather information from different types of sources.

Choose one of the following compelling questions to frame your workshop:

  • What was the role of images in influencing public opinion during the Civil War?
  • Were Connecticut cities good places to live in the 1880s and 1890s?
  • Did the opportunities available to Connecticut residents as a result of World War II outweigh the hardships of the time?
INQ 9-12.4-6, 9-12.8, 9-12.10, HIST 9-12.3-4, 9-12.7-9, 9-12.12; CCSS RH.8.1-2, RH.8.4-8, RH.9-10.1-2, RH.9-10.4-6, RH.9-10.8, RH.11-12.1-2, RH.11-12.4-6