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.

If you can’t come to us, our programs can come to you! Visit Classroom Outreach 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 student


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 men, women, and children in the past. After their “work” is done, students play with historic toys and games.



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



Native Americans and Natural Resources

native-americans-natural-resourcesThis tour introduces students to the lives of Native Americans in early Connecticut and emphasizes their use of natural resources. Focus is placed on multi-sensory learning, a varied pace of activities, and handling reproduction objects. Students hear a story based on Algonquin tradition and make 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, 2.4-6; CCSS R.7, SL.1-2, SL.4, L.1, L.6



Kids in Colonial Connecticut

kids-in-colonial-ctWhat 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 their own lives to those of colonial children as they learn about daily chores, try out colonial 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, transportation, and home life were different in the past. The third part of the program focuses on how decisions are made in communities, as well as ways to contribute to your community and be a good citizen.


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

two-culturesStudents explore the colonial period in Connecticut by comparing and contrasting the lives and experiences of both Native Americans and English colonists. They examine artifacts from the two cultural traditions, exploring aspects of village life, housing, clothing, 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 will 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 role-playing program does not include a gallery component. For $2/student, explore the museum on your own with a gallery visit add-on!


The Three Branches of Government

three-branchesDuring this program, 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 role-playing program does not include a gallery component. For $2/student, explore the museum on your own with a gallery visit add-on!


On the Move: Immigration and Migration to Connecticut

on-the-moveThis two-part program uses hands-on activities to introduce students to stories of 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. 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.

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 (see below).


Connecticut and the Revolution

ct-and-the-revolutionStudents 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 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 5.2-10, 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 30-minute Primary Source Workshop (see below).


Slavery and Abolition in Connecticut

Students discover the history of slavery in our state from the enslavement of Native Americans and Africans in the early colonial period through the beginnings of the abolitionist movement and the Civil War. Using historic documents and hands-on activities, students learn about conditions of enslavement 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 slavery.

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

Historian’s Toolkit

historians-toolkitLearn 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


Add-On Options

Enhance your students’ visit to the Connecticut Historical Society with one of our add-on options. Workshops and gallery visits give your students the opportunity to engage with the material in a deeper way and practice skills such as observation, forming opinions, and making connections.

Grades 3-8

Gallery Visit

gallery-visitGrades: 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 packets. 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 museum tour, or for groups that want a little more gallery time for students. Visit our Exhibits page for more information on current exhibits.

Grades 5-8

Primary Source Workshop

primary-source-workshopGrades: 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, printed documents, and artifacts.