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 .58 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 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. PLEASE NOTE: The Route 9 exit number will be changing in 2022 from Exit 3 to Exit 4 due to highway sign renumbering.

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 red boat house. Do not 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 Fun Programs at the Connecticut River Museum
July 18 – August 19

The Museum offers morning programs that incorporate hands-on learning in a fun, small group environment for children ages 6-12 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, Monday through Friday, from July 18, 2022 – August 19, 2022. Families may register for as little as 1 day or every day!  Space is very limited – we recommend that you register as soon as possible. Each day’s cost is $35.00 for members (family membership or above) and $38.50 for all others.  Book 10 days and receive 2 complimentary passes for a sail aboard the Onrust or RiverQuest! Programs subject to cancellation if under enrolled.

Register Here!

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

New this year!
CRM is offering Kids’ Summer Days Sling Backpacks to help your child carry their treasures home from the day’s adventures. For only $10.00, each kit contains a backpack, a sailor bracelet and one sticker of either The Onrust,  Bushnell’s Turtle or the Museum.

Pre-order yours now by clicking on this link: Summer Fun Days Sling Backpack


If you would like more information, please contact Tami Christopher, Director of Education, 860.767.8269, ext. 113, or email Tami at email: Tami Christopher.

Register Here!


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

Kids Summer Fun at the Connecticut River Museum

Children are dropped off for Summer Days at 8:00am and picked up at 12:00pm. Please provide a snack and reusable water bottle. Please have children dress for appropriate weather as we will spend a portion of each day on, in, or near the water. Please apply sunscreen and or bug repellent before drop off if the child is not able to apply these products themselves.

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:


Sibling discount: subtract $5 per day

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 Workshops. Each day is a different theme and will be filled with fun, engaging activities in the Museum and outside around Essex.

Member Rate: 

2023 rate TBD

Non Member Rate:

2023 rate TBD

Sibling discount: subtract $5 per day

Important Information:

  • Rain or Shine
  • Children are dropped off at the Museum at 10am and picked up at 2pm.
  • 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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