Education Programs

The Connecticut River Museum (CRM) invites educators, youth group leaders, and students to discover the Connecticut River and explore the natural environment and human experiences along its 410 miles. Our education programs emphasize interdisciplinary studies using local, cultural, and natural resources to engage students.

All CRM programs are designed to meet a variety of State of Connecticut curriculum standards in social studies, language arts, science, and art and are led by trained Museum Educators. CRM is committed to delivering dynamic programs that are student-directed and grounded in inquiry and discovery.

Programs are available on our campus, off-site in schools and other community organizations, and hybrid.

Custom programs meeting the needs of your students and curriculum may also be available. Please contact the Education Department at for more information.


The museum can accommodate up to 75 students per day for exhibit and workshop programs. In the spring and continuing through early fall, programs may also be conducted aboard the Onrust, a reproduction of the 1614 Dutch wooden yacht originally captained by Adriaen Block. Maximum capacity is 25 people (students and teachers) per trip. Multiple trips may be scheduled in one day. Our other vessel, the RiverQuest, is also available during most of the year and can fit a group of 30 comfortably. Programs are also available at Bushnell Farm in nearby Old Saybrook. These hands-on and interactive programs focus on New England colonial life. For information on onsite educational programs and rates, please contact the Education Department at

On-Land Educational Program Fees at CRM:

Includes regular museum admission plus your choice of a 90-minute program.

Up to 25 students; $15 per student

25-49 students; $12 per student

50-75 students; $10 per student

On-Water Boat Program Fees at CRM:

One hour boat excursion on Onrust or RiverQuest; must accompany at least one 90 minute program.

Up to 25 students; $25 per student

25-49 students; $20 per student

50-74 students; $18 per student



    The Connecticut River Museum is happy to bring a program to your school or organization. All traveling programs cost $225 per class (maximum of 25 students) and $0.655 per mile traveled round trip. Visits over 30 miles will incur a $50 surcharge. Some programs require an additional materials charge.


    CRM’s hybrid programs include pre-program materials, live virtual program facilitation and post-program materials. Education kits are used during the hands-on interactive portion of the lesson, led by one of our educators. Hybrid programs now available include Connecticut River in a Jar and River Dwellers.


    We recommend scheduling your program at least two months in advance and require at least 2 weeks notice. Contact the Education Department at 860-767-8269, extension 113 or email Please provide your school name, grade level, number of students, contact information, program of interest, requested date (please give 3 dates), and requested start and end time.



    Payment in full is due two weeks prior to program date and made be made by one check or by credit card. If program is being booked within two weeks, full payment with a credit card must be made at the time of booking.

    Please note that no refunds will be awarded if your group arrives with fewer students than stated on the confirmation invoice. Additional tickets may be purchased on the day of your visit.

    All payments are payable to the Connecticut River Museum Education Department, Attn: Director of Education.

    Museum Scholarships

    The Connecticut River Museum has a small scholarship fund intended to expand access to our museum.

    Scholarships are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and are usually disbursed by the beginning of March. Contact the Education department to learn if your school qualifies for this fund.


    Indoor and outdoor spaces may be available for lunch. Please request a lunch space during booking. Students should bring brown-bag lunches. We do not have food services on site but local eateries may offer discounts to school groups.


    Chaperones are required at a rate of 1 adult chaperone per 10 students. These chaperones are offered complimentary admission to the museum. Additional adults must pay $10 each for any museum program and $25 for a boat program.

    Address, Bus Instructions, and Parking

    Our address is 67 Main Street, Essex, CT 06426. Please be sure to include our zip code in the map application that you use.

    School Busses: Please drop off and pick up on the right side of the circle at the bottom of Main Street by pulling close to the curb (disregard the sign on Main Street that directs “Tour Buses and RVs” to make a left turn. This does NOT apply to school buses). Directly in front of the bus will be a grey boat house. Do not block the public boat ramp. Students should proceed along the sidewalk, crossing the boat ramp, and enter through the museum’s entry sign pavilion. Buses should park on Pratt Street or at Essex Town Hall, 29 West Avenue.

    We are happy to provide your bus driver a complimentary admission to explore the museum during your school visit.

    Passenger vans may park in our parking lot.

    Programs are available for K-12 students.  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
    • Aboard the historic vessel Onrust or aboard the vessel R/V RiverQuest

    Kids Summer Camp at the Connecticut River Museum
    July 10 – August 18, 2023

    Camp runs Monday through Friday
    9:00 am to 3:00 pm

    Hands-on learning in a fun, small group environment for children ages 6-12 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday. July 10, 2023 – August 18, 2023.

    Each day is different and includes a learning activity thematically tied to the River. Activity examples include:

    • Catch critters with dip and seine nets
    • Spend the morning in coves or on the water’s edge
    • Be a history detective
    • Hoist sails, tie knots, learn the sailor’s life

    July 10 – 14 Digging into the Past. Click Here to Register.
    Ready, set, dig! To kick off summer camp 2023, we’ll dig up the past, literally and figuratively! We will learn about the Connecticut River’s history through a simulated archaeological dig, make nautical crafts, build our own ships, and practice talking like a sailor! Arrrr you ready?

    July 17 – 21 River Explorers. Click Here to Register.
    Calling all waterfront fans! This week is for campers who want to explore all of the Connecticut River’s wildlife, big and small, near and far, through binoculars and microscopes. We will sail the Onrust (a re-creation 17th Century Dutch yacht) and cruise RiverQuest, our 64’ eco-friendly research vessel, to search for river creatures such as eagles, ospreys, plant life, and more! Campers will learn about the importance of native and non-native animals and plants within our ecosystem. We will even play our very own invasive species game.

    July 24 – 28 Sailor Life & Pirates. Click Here to Register.
    A pirate’s life is for us! Have you ever wondered what pirates were really like? Have you ever wondered about the Onrust, and why it looks so much like a pirate ship? This week, we will learn about real pirates– what they did, looked like, and where they traveled. We will dress in pirate garb as we learn about the boats they sailed, the flags they flew, and how they navigated. We will also have the opportunity to practice shipbuilding this week.

    July 31 – August 4 Blown Away. Click Here to Register.
    This week, campers learn valuable and fun skills specific to New England outdoor survival. We’ll create our own simulations of hurricanes and learn about their effects on the Connecticut River. We’ll find out how the River Valley was impacted by the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 and how people prepare for hurricanes today. Get ready to dive into survival games, skills, and immersive exploration.

    August 7 – 11 Hometown Originals. Click Here to Register.
    Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in Essex hundreds or even thousands of years ago? This week, campers will learn about the Indigenous peoples of Essex and how they thrived on the riverfront for thousands of years. We’ll also imagine the lives of the early European settlers, captains, and merchants and remember the burning of the ships in Essex in 1814. We’ll explore Essex to complete a scavenger hunt and work together to solve an old Essex mystery.

    August 14 – 18 Colonial Life at Bushnell Farm. Click Here to Register.
    Do you have what it takes to travel back to the past? All week, campers will experience what life was like for kids during the colonial era at Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook. Try your hand at farming activities, woodworking projects, and cook an entire meal on the open hearth.


    If you would like more information, please contact the Assistant Education Director, 860.767.8269, ext. 121, or email Lauren at


    Museum Teachers create exciting lessons including theme based games, art activities and science experiments. Programs take place at the Museum.

    Winter Vacation Fun Workshops at the Connecticut River Museum

    Children ages 6-12 are invited to participate in Winter Vacation Fun Workshops. Each day is a different theme and will be filled with fun, engaging activities both inside and outside.

    2022 Information:

    Member Rate: 


    Non Member Rate:


    Important Information:

    • This is a drop off program. Hours for 2022 TBD
    • Cost includes all materials, snack, and activities.
    • Please bring a brown bag lunch and refillable water bottle.
    • Enrollment is limited to 12 children per class ages 6-12.
    • Minimum of 5 participants.
    • NO REFUNDS or CREDITS for missed workshops.
    • Please remember to dress for mess and for the weather.

    April Vacation Fun Workshops at the Connecticut River Museum

    Children ages 6-12 are invited to participate in April Vacation Day Mini-Camp. Each day is a different theme and will be filled with fun, engaging activities in the Museum and outside around Essex.

    Member Rate: 


    Non Member Rate:



    Important Information:

    • Rain or Shine
    • Children are dropped off at the Museum at 10:00 am and picked up at 12:00 pm.
    • Cost includes all materials and activities.
    • Please bring a snack and refillable water bottle.
    • Enrollment is limited to 12 children per class ages 6-12.
    • Minimum of 5 participants (subject to cancellation due to low enrollment).
    • NO REFUNDS or CREDITS for missed workshops.
    • Please remember to dress for mess and for the weather.

    See full Schedule


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