School Programs

The Connecticut River Museum invites teachers and students to discover the River Valley and explore the natural environment and human experience along its 410 miles. Programs are based on the principle of Place-based Education, a philosophy that emphasizes interdisciplinary studies using local cultural and natural resources to engage students.

All CRM programs are designed to meet a variety of curriculum standards in social studies, language arts, science and art and ar e led by trained Museum Teachers. All CRM programs emphasize student directed learning experiences and are designed to meet the needs of C3 curriculum, emphasizing inquiry.

Programs at the Museum

The Museum accommodates groups of up to 75 students per day for field trips. Large groups will be divided into smaller groups of up to 25 and will rotate through the chosen programs.

Programs may be conducted aboard the Onrust, reproduction of the 1614 dutch wooden yacht.  Maximum capacity of 24 people (students & teachers) per trip. Multiple trips may be scheduled in one day.

Programs may be conducted aboard the RiverQuest, twin hulled, catamaran style vessel. Maximum capacity of 35 students and teachers per trip. Multiple trips may be scheduled in one day.

Programs at your School

Museum teachers are happy to bring a program to your school (within 60 miles of CRM).

Up to 4 classes may be scheduled per day.

Mileage costs will apply at the current standard mileage rate

Program Rates

At the Museum: $8 per student per program.

Outreach Programs are designed for groups of no more than 25 students.

Outreach: $160 per class, plus mileage at the going rate.

Bushnell Farm: $21 per student for the immersion experience, extra programs will incur additional fees based on supply needs.

Boat Trips

Onrust trips: $15 per chaperone

EagleWatch trips aboard RiverQuest: $20 per chaperone

Schedule a Program

We recommend scheduling your program at least 2 months in advance. You can call 860-767-8269, ext. 113 or email Please have ready school name, grade level, number of students, best school contact number and email, requested program, requested date (please give 3 dates), requested start time and end time.


Payment is due prior to program or on the day of the program. Checks may be written out to the Connecticut River Museum.

Museum Scholarships

The Connecticut River Museum does have a small scholarship fund for schools who serve low income, at-risk students or are unable to support field trips.

Scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Scholarship funds are usually disbursed by March 1. 

Please contact the Education Department here to find out if your school qualifies for the scholarship fund.


Indoor and outdoor spaces are available for lunch. Students should bring brown-bag lunches.


Chaperones are required at a rate of 1 adult chaperone per 10 students. These chaperones are offered complimentary admission. Additional adults must pay $5 each for Museum program and $15 for boat program.

Directions & Parking

Use Exit 3 from Route 9.

From Route 9 South, take Exit 3 onto Route 154. Turn left onto Middlesex Turnpike. Turn left onto West Avenue. *Follow directions below.

From Route 9 North, take exit 3 toward Centerbrook. Turn left off exit onto Saybrook Road. At light turn right onto West Avenue. *Follow directions below.

*At stop sign, take a slight right to remain on West Avenue. Turn righ at circle onto Main Street. Continue to end of Main Street.

Buses can drop off students at our driveway entrance. Buses are not allowed to park in our parking lot. Buses can park on Pratt Street or at Essex Town Hall, 29 West Avenue. Cars may park in our parking lot.

Please be sure to include our zip code of 06426 in any map application that you use. If you do not, you may end up in a different section of Essex.

Programs are available for grades PreK-12 for public, private and homeschool groups. In each program students will participate in a variety of learning experiences that allow them to:

  • Discover the River and its people through observation, experimentation
    and exploration.
  • Use Museum objects, primary documents, lab activities and the River itself
    to explore natural and cultural environments.
  • Discuss the physical changes of the River Valley landscape over time.
  • Explore the role of industrial and cultural development and the direct
    impact their own lifestyle has on the environment.
  • Develop skills for conserving and protecting one of America’s Last
    Great Places.

Programs are delivered by skilled Museum Teachers

  • At the Museum campus on the River in Essex
  • At our partner site, historic Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook
  • At schools across the state
  • On board the historic vessel Onrust, the modern tour boat RiverQuest or
    another partner vessel at the Museum for an on water exploration of
    the River.

Camps and Vacation Days

The Museum offers a variety of Camp and Vacation Day Workshops. These full day programs incorporate hands-on experiental learning in a fun environment. Children ages 6-12 may participate in a range of engaging activities such as learning what life was like for a sailor on a merchant vessel, seining in the River looking for aquatic life or being immersed in the life of colonial child.

Museum Teachers create exciting lessons including theme based games, art activities and science experiments. Programs take place at the Museum or at the historic Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook. For detailed information please select from the following

Summer Adventure Camp

Registration Open Now for 2020.

Register Before January 1, 2020 for 2019 Prices!

Children are dropped off at camp between 8:30 & 9:00am and picked up at 4pm. We provide a morning and afternoon snack. Please provide a lunch and reusable water bottle. Please have children dress for appropriate weather as we will spend a portion of the day outdoors.


December Vacation Day Workshops

Children are dropped off at the Museum at 9am and picked up at 4pm. We provide a morning and afternoon snack. Please provide a lunch and reusable water bottle. Please have children dress for appropriate weather as we will spend a portion of the day outdoors. More information coming soon!

April Vacation Day Workshops

Children ages 6-12 are invited to participate in April Vacation Day Workshops. Each day is a different theme and will be filled with fun, engaging activities in the Museum and outside around Essex. We have new expanded hours; Drop-off is at 9am and Pick-up is at 4pm. More information coming soon!

See full Schedule


Interested in Booking a Group Tour?