School Programs

Historic Hudson Valley's educational programs are designed to meet teachers' curriculum needs, support national learning standards, and take full advantage of the resources of our properties. Each of our sites has a story to tell and serves as a primary source for learning history.

To reserve a school program at any of Historic Hudson Valley’s historic sites, please call our reservationist at 914.366.6988.

What you need to know to make a reservation: 

  • Which site and program are you interested in?  You may review our program offerings below. 
  • What date would you like to visit? (Have alternate dates in mind.)
  • How many students will be in your group? How many adults? (Note maximum group size for each program. You are entitled to one free adult for every 10 students. Additional adults are $7 per person, per site.)
  • Do you have students with special needs?
  • Do you need picnic facilities? (Sunnyside lunchroom is available by reservation; picnic areas at all sites are on a first-come, first-served basis.)
From A Child's Perspective

at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Grades: 6-8 | Program length: 2½ hours
Admission: $9 | Group limit: 120

at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Grades: 6-8 | Program length: 2½ hours
Admission: $9 | Group limit: 120

A story, a letter, a house, a painting - all serve as primary documents for students to analyze and interpret as they learn about childhood in the mid-19th century. During this four-part program, students tour the home of Irving and his family, participate in a discussion of 19th-century fashion, play 19th-century parlor games, and discover how their peers communicated without the benefit of email or cell phones. On the tour, students look for objects that reveal clues to 19th-century games, toys, and children’s literature. During a lively conversation, students observe paintings to discover 19th-century children’s fashion and answer questions about how gender influenced dress. There will be an opportunity to handle and try on period accessories. To practice reading and writing skills, students decipher a thank you note written by Irving’s great-niece and then compose their own formal correspondence.

Legend Days

at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Grades: 3-7 | Program length: 2 hours
Admission: $8 | Group limit: 30

at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Grades: 3-7 | Program length: 2 hours
Admission: $8 | Group limit: 30

Washington Irving’s house has been brought to life, and is the perfect setting for students to sharpen their observational skills and practice their creative storytelling. On a guided tour through Irving’s home, students follow plot, character, and setting clues and create their own story of a day in the life at Sunnyside. A woodland walk provides an immersive way to experience Irving’s folk tale, The Devil and Tom Walker. Finally, a shadow puppet version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and a lively discussion of that story’s plot, characters, and setting, introduce students to Irving’s most famous work and reinforce the primary elements of story creation.

At Home With Washington Irving

at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Grades: 3-7 | Program length: 1½ hours
Admission: $7 | Group limit: 60

at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Grades: 3-7 | Program length: 1½ hours
Admission: $7 | Group limit: 60

Irving, best known today for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, was an American celebrity in the mid-19th century. At Sunnyside, he created a warm and comfortable home for his extended family and large circle of friends. With costumed interpreters as their museum teachers, students view period rooms, examine primary documents, and handle reproduction objects, gaining new perspectives and drawing conclusions about an important writer and social commentator from this period in America’s development.

 

A Cottage on the Hudson

at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Grades: K-2 | Program length: 1½ hours
Admission: $7 | Group limit: 25

at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Grades: K-2 | Program length: 1½ hours
Admission: $7 | Group limit: 25

We invite students to explore Sunnyside, the home Irving designed for his family. This program directly supports the ELA and Social Studies common core standards for grades K-2 that require students to retell stories and identify characters. Students learn about Irving and his family through visual documents, touchable reproduction objects, and stories illustrating how people lived in the mid-19th century. There is a concluding art activity in which students compare what they’ve learned about the past with their present lives today.

 

Touching The Past

at Philipsburg Manor

Grades: 1-2 | Program length: 1½ hours
Admission: $7 | Group limit: 60

A touch tour oriented towards younger students. Students visit the barn/farm, activity center, mill, and other areas of the site. Through season-appropriate activities, students learn about colonial life by threshing wheat, picking and carding wool, preparing food, and touching and examining a wide variety of colonial goods.

PLEASE NOTE: Students should dress for the weather. Programs involve long periods of being outdoors or in unheated spaces and are held rain, snow, or shine.


 

Millers and Merchants

at Philipsburg Manor

Grades: 3-5 | Program length: 1¾ hours 
Admission: $7 | Group limit: 60 

The program focuses on the interconnected roles of the enslaved Africans, Anglo-Dutch landowners, and tenant farmers who lived and worked within the colonial economic system. Students visit the farm, mill, activity center, and manor house, participating in hands-on activities such as grinding grain or examining reproduction 18th century trade goods, and learn about Philipsburg Manor’s role in the developing world of international trade.

PLEASE NOTE: Students should dress for the weather. Programs involve long periods of being outdoors or in unheated spaces and are held rain, snow, or shine.

 

Pinkster School Program

at Philipsburg Manor

Grades: 4-12 | Program length: 2 hours
Admission: $8 | Group limit: 100 

Come to Pinkster Day, a celebration of spring that was brought to the Hudson River Valley by Dutch settlers and adapted by Africans in the New World. Pinkster provided enslaved and free Africans a rare opportunity to celebrate community and preserve and enjoy their African traditions. Classes hear African folk tales and participate in African colonial dancing and African drumming workshops.

PLEASE NOTE: Students should dress for the weather. Programs involve long periods of being outdoors or in unheated spaces and are held rain, snow, or shine.

2014 Dates: May 19-21
 

 

Work and Community

at Philipsburg Manor

Grades: 4-7 | Program length: 2½ hours
Admission: $450 per class | Group limit: 28

Students examine the structure of rural colonial society through their morning's work: farming, milling, cooking, or making cloth. Each student spends an hour in a small group learning a skill and discussing its significance to the community. The entire class then visits the farm, the mill, and the activity center, where students share their experiences with one another. A snack, created by students, is included. February only.

PLEASE NOTE: Students should dress for the weather. Programs involve long periods of being outdoors or in unheated spaces and are held rain, snow, or shine.


 

Crafts & Tasks

at Van Cortlandt Manor

Grades: 3-8 | Program length: 4½ hours 
Admission: $18 | Group limit: 80 

Students visit several stations throughout the historic property to participate in and observe 18th-century household chores, crafts, or leisure activities. This intensive, in-depth experience may include workshops in open-hearth cooking, medicine, textiles, games, tin smithing, and limner. The program is customized to meet your curriculum needs.

PLEASE NOTE: Students should dress for the weather. Programs involve long periods of being outdoors or in unheated spaces and are held rain, snow, or shine.

Hard Work and Hand Work

at Van Cortlandt Manor

Grades: 2-5 | Program length: 3¾ hours 
Admission: $12 | Group limit: 150

Tin smithing, broom making, textile production, candle making, and open-hearth cooking are only a few of the engaging, hands-on activities your students experience when they participate in this program. In small groups led by museum educators in period attire, students navigate the busy landscape and gain an understanding of the skills, trades, and chores that were part of daily life on the Manor during the New Nation Era. A child-focused tour of the Manor’s historic buildings completes the educational visit. This program begins at 10:00 am and concludes at 1:45 pm, with a half-hour lunch break. (Activities may change, subject to seasonality. See below for program dates.)

PLEASE NOTE: Students should dress for the weather. Programs involve long periods of being outdoors or in unheated spaces and are held rain, snow, or shine.

2015 Dates: June 4-5, 8-12

 

Through Young Eyes: 18th-Century Community

at Van Cortlandt Manor

Grades: K-2 | Program length: 1½ hours 
Admission: $8 | Group limit: 30

The young child is inspired to compare his or her life with those of children from the past. Students explore the different roles of the people who lived on the manor: the Van Cortlandts, the enslaved Africans, tenant farmers, and craftsmen. A hands-on tour offers the student a chance to churn butter, explore period objects, and pick and card wool.

PLEASE NOTE: Students should dress for the weather. Programs involve long periods of being outdoors or in unheated spaces and are held rain, snow, or shine.

Reflections of Everyday Life

at Van Cortlandt Manor

Grades: 3-11 | Program length: 2 hours
Admission: $9 | Group limit: 80

Discover how citizens in early America met their fundamental needs. Students explore the physical and cultural aspects of daily life through a site tour and hands-on workshop(s). Workshops may include open-hearth cooking, medicine, and textiles.

PLEASE NOTE: Students should dress for the weather. Programs involve long periods of being outdoors or in unheated spaces and are held rain, snow, or shine.

This program features two workshops per student.