On-Site Museum Education Programs Come and Visit CHS with Your Classroom

Museum programs, tours, and related activities are thematic and focus on a wide range of social studies topics from Connecticut history to civics and geography. Programs take place in the museum’s permanent and changing exhibitions or in other non-exhibit spaces at the CHS.


The CHS updates our COVID-19 policies per current guidance from the CDC and the State of Connecticut. We will discuss current COVID-19 policies with you at the time of booking.  

If you can’t come to us, our programs can come to you! Visit Classroom Outreach and Online Learning Programs for more information on these participatory programs. These programs use reproduction objects and documents from our collection along with hands-on activities to bring history to life.


Group Limit: Program-dependent
Length: 1½ hours
Cost: $8 per studentdiscounts available for Priority and Title I School Districts


Work and Play from Long Ago

In this introductory museum tour for our youngest visitors, students explore the museum, trying out a variety of hands-on activities to compare work done by adults, and children in the past. After their “work” is done, students play with reproduction colonial-era toys.

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

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Native Americans and Natural Resources


This program is temporarily unavailable as we are reviewing and updating our programming containing Native American content. We look forward to offering new programming in the 2022-2023 school year. 


Kids in Colonial Connecticut


What was it like to be an English colonist in early Connecticut? Learn about daily life through hands-on activities, reproduction objects, and the museum galleries. Students will compare and contrast their own lives to those of colonial children as they explore daily chores, try out reproduction colonial-era toys, and make a reproduction “hornbook.” 

HIST 1.1, 1.4-5, 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 3.2, 3.4, GEO 3.7-8; CCSS R.1-2, R.4, R.10, SL.1-2, SL.4, L.1, L.4, L.6

What Makes a Community?

Students use a large floor map and “building” blocks to strengthen map skills and vocabulary while creating and analyzing a new town, then tour the Making Connecticut exhibit to learn about how work, home life, and transportation were different in the past. The third part of the program focuses on how decisions are made in communities, as well as ways that children can be good citizens and contribute to their communities.

HIST 1.1, 1.4-5, 1.8, 2.2, 2.6-7, 3.2, 3.6-7, CIV 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 2.4, 2.6-7, 3.6, ECO 1.4, 2.3, GEO 1.2-3, 2.2-3, 3.3; CCSS R.7, SL.1-2, SL.4-5, L.1, L.4, L.6

Two Cultures in Early Connecticut


Students explore the early colonial period in Connecticut by comparing and contrasting their own lives with those of both Native Americans and English colonists. They examine artifacts from the two cultural traditions, and discover intriguing aspects of village life, housing, clothing, food, and work.

HIST 3.2, 3.4, 3.6-7, 5.2, 5.4-7, ECO 3.2, 4.3, 5.2, GEO 3.4-6, 3.8, 4.3-5, 5.2-3; CCSS R.7, W.2, SL.1-4, L.1, L.4, L.6

This is Connecticut!

What makes our state so special? During this thematic tour students will learn about famous Connecticut people, places, events, and products. From the mighty white oak to the tiny nutmeg, “Constitution State” to famous (and not-so-famous) Connecticut people, students explore the unique stories behind our state’s history and symbols.

HIST 3.3, 3.6-7, 5.2, ECO 4.4, 5.2; GEO 3.4-5, 4.3-4, CCSS R.1, R.7, SL.1-2, SL.4, L.1, L.4

The Legend of the Charter Oak

Why is the white oak a symbol of Connecticut’s strength and independence? During this program, students bring the people and events from the legend of the Charter Oak to life using a variety of dramatic techniques, period costumes, and specially-designed props. Students evaluate sources, including historic maps, to draw their own conclusions about the famous legend.

HIST 3.2, 3.4, 3.9, 3.11, 4.1-3, 5.7, 5.9-10, CIV 4.1, 5.3, GEO 3.4; CCSS R.7, SL.1-2, SL.4-5, L.1, L.4

PLEASE NOTE: This program does not include a gallery component. For $2/student, explore the museum on your own with a gallery visit add-on!  (See below).


The Three Branches of Government


During this program, students explore Connecticut’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government to 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 does not include a gallery component. For $2/student, explore the museum on your own with a gallery visit add-on! (See below).


On the Move: Immigration and Migration to Connecticut


This two-part program uses hands-on activities to introduce students to stories of moving to Connecticut. During the workshop, students work in teams to examine artifacts and documents from “immigration trunks” and uncover many different family stories about moving to Connecticut. In the Making Connecticut exhibit, students try out the kinds of jobs done by different immigrant groups who arrived in Connecticut in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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

PLEASE NOTE: For $3/student, add on a 30-minute Primary Source Workshop for a close look at one Hartford neighborhood’s immigrant community, told through the 1900 census.


Connecticut and the Revolution


Students 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 in the Making Connecticut exhibition and other hands-on museum spaces. Students examine reproduction artifacts and analyze a primary source document to explore life in Connecticut during this time. Using quill pens, students join the cause by signing an “oath of allegiance.” Ask about our fee reductions for this program, which are made possible by the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut.

HIST 5.2-10, 8.1-9; CCSS R.1-2, R.4, R.6-7, R.10, SL.1-4, L.1, L.4, L.6, RH.6-8.1-2, RH.6-8.4, RH.6-8.6-8

PLEASE NOTE: For $3/student, add on a Primary Source Workshop for a deeper dive into the experiences of everyday Connecticut residents living through the American Revolution, through their own words.


Slavery and Abolition in Connecticut

Students learn about the history of enslavement in Connecticut, from the Pequot War and the enslavement of African and Native American people in the colonial period through the emerging abolitionist movement and the Civil WarUsing historic documents and hands-on activities, students learn about the experiences of enslaved people in the North, examine multiple perspectives of people living in Connecticut and how they felt about slavery, and explore ways people resisted and fought against it. 

HIST 5.2-9, 8.1-9, ECO 5.1-2, 8.1; CCSS R.1-2, R.4, R.6-7, R.9-10, W.2, W.4, W.9, SL.1-2, SL.4, L.1-2, RH.6-8.1-4, RH.6-8.6-9

Grades 8-12

Group Limit: 50 students or 2 classes
Length: 1 ½ hours
Cost: $8 per student

Take a Stand


History is complicated; stand up for your position! In this program students develop higher order thinking skills by drawing conclusions after analyzing historic sources. Students create an argument using preselected primary and secondary sources (including book excerpts, manuscripts, historic photographs, and artifacts from the CHS collection). Students then debate compelling questions in U.S. History through the lens of local and state history, and use their conclusions to take a stand! Select a theme for your workshop from the topics below.

  • Women’s Suffrage?   Evaluate primary source documents and visual sources arguing against women’s suffrage to determine the ultimate goals of the movement.  Discuss the methods used, and their effectiveness, in advancing the suffrage and anti-suffrage agendas.
  • Connecticut: Land of Opportunity?   Analyze photographs, census data, and other primary sources detailing daily life of diverse Connecticut residents to develop an understanding of some of the factors that brought immigrant groups to Connecticut, and the types of obstacles they faced.
INQ 8.8-10, 9-12.8-11, HIST 8.7-10, 9-12.6-10, ECO 9-12.1; CCSS RH.8.1-2, RH.9-10.1-2, RH.9-10.6, RH.9-10.9, RH.11-12.1-2, RH.11-12.6-9

Add-On Options

Enhance your students’ visit to the CHS with our add-on options. Workshops and gallery visits give your students the opportunity to more deeply engage with the material and practice skills such as observation, forming opinions, and making connections.  

Grades 3-8

Gallery Visit


Grades: 3–8
Length: 30 Minutes
Cost: $2 per student

Give your students additional time to explore the CHS exhibitions in small, chaperone-led groups with our activity cards. This option is great for classes participating in “The Legend of the Charter Oak” or “The Three Branches of Government” programs, which do not include a an exhibit component, or for groups that want a little more gallery time. Visit our Exhibits page for more information on current exhibits.

Grades 5-8

Primary Source Workshop


Grades: 5–8
Length: 30 Minutes
Cost: $3 per student

Delve more deeply into a content theme by adding this workshop to the “Connecticut and the Revolution” or “On the Move: Immigration and Migration to Connecticut” program. Students work individually and in groups to analyze various types of primary sources, such as historic images, letters, and printed documents.

Click here for COVID-19 visiting rules. Click here for the CHS’s digital programs.