Programs Grades 6-12

Program Descriptions

River Science

Students participate in environmental studies activities as they test water quality, identify plant and animal species and explore the relationship between people and the ecosystem. This program takes place in the Museum, on the docks and on our partner vessels.

Choose from the following activity menu, each session is 60-90 minutes long

Gallery Exploration: discover the role of human occupation in the changing face of the River using art, artifacts and activities in the Museum.

Dockside Water Monitoring: learn how to “read the river,” collect water samples and conduct a series of water tests to check the health of the River.

On-Water Exploration: onboard one of our partner vessels, students participate in observation activities as they study the natural environment of the lower tidal river, conduct a plankton trawl, take water samples for chemical analysis.

Finding the Past Around Us

Students use Museum art and artifacts, historic documents and team based discovery activities to explore historical events and concepts. Each program takes place in the Museum’s exhibit galleries and focuses on specific events and themes of United States history.

Choose from the following topics

The War of 1812: The British Raid on Essex– explore the events of the April, 1814 raid on the privateer fleet in Essex. Find out what the town looked like, how the British attacked and separate the myths from the historic record.

Bushnell’s Turtle: How did David Bushnell design and build his famous Turtle submarine? What challenges did he face? Using transcripts of original documents, students explore his design ideas, discover his fears of being discovered and develop an understanding of the early years of the American Revolution.

19th Century Industry along the River: Sailing ships slowly gave over to steam as the growing industrial machine changed the face of America. What changes happened in transportation? How did it affect trade? Students explore the artifacts on display in the Museum’s historic Steamboat Dock building to discover the 19th century.

Shipyards & Sailors: Connecticut’s Maritime Heritage

Connecticut River communities were driven by shipbuilding and maritime trade for almost 300 years. Students explore this industry through hands-on traditional shipyard jobs. As students make rope, carve trunnels, use an auger and caulk a hull, they see first-hand the simple machines used in the shipyard and the steps involved with building a sailing ship. Combine the shipyard workshop with a sail on our schooner to see how a sailing ship worked and try sailors’ jobs.

Curriculum connections: colonial & 19th century history, trade, rivers, geography, natural resources, simple machines, invention & innovation.

Choose from the following

90 minute shipyard workshop at CRM.

90 minute shipyard workshop and 90 minute schooner sail.

EagleWatch Adventure

Available: February and March. Students learn the environmental story of the Bald Eagle and specifically how eagles have been returned to Connecticut. Bird anatomy and nesting behavior are discussed during the land-based program in the Eagles of Essex exhibit. Students learn how to identify different species of birds as well. On the EagleWatch boat cruise, students observe eagles and other wintering birds in flight, fishing and nesting along the shore.

Curriculum connections: ecosystems, rivers, eagles, 20th century conservation/government action, biology.

Program includes both

60 minute gallery program: activities in Eagles of Essex exhibit and (weather permitting) off the CRM docks.

60 minute EagleWatch boat excursion on the River. The boat cruise has a maximum capacity of 35 students and teachers.

Schedule a Program

We recommend scheduling your program at least 2 months in advance. You may call our Education Department at 860-767-8269, ext. 121 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.

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