School Programs

The Connecticut River Museum invites teachers and students to discover the Connecticut River and explore the natural environment and human experiences along its 410 miles. Our school 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 State of Connecticut curriculum standards in social studies, language arts, science, and art and are led by trained Museum Educators. CRM is committed to producing programs that are dynamic, interdisciplinary, and student-directed learning experiences, emphasizing inquiry and discovery.

During this time of Covid-19, we are committed to adhering to state recommendations regarding safe social distancing and smaller groups. For these reasons, we have adapted several of our most popular educational programs to meet the needs of our partner schools and interested organizations via hybrid programming. Programs will continue to be available on our campus for smaller groups, and hybrid programs are now also available to interested schools, students, and families. 

PROGRAMS AT THE MUSEUM

The museum is able to accommodate two groups of up to 12 students per day for field trips. These groups will be divided into smaller groups to ensure safe social distancing and will rotate through the chosen programs. Masks are required to be worn by visitors while on our campus. For information on onsite educational programs and rates, please contact the Education Department at ainsall@ctrivermuseum.org.

Beginning in the spring, programs may also be conducted aboard the Onrust, a reproduction of the 1614 Dutch wooden yacht originally captained by Adriaen Block. Maximum capacity during the pandemic is 15 people (students and teachers) per trip. Multiple trips may be scheduled in one day.

Programs are also available at Bushnell Farm in nearby Old Saybrook. These programs are immersion-experience designed programs, with a wide variety of options for creating a unique and memorable day of learning and history for students.

PROGRAMS AT YOUR SCHOOL

The Connecticut River Museum Educators are happy to bring a program to your school, within 30 miles of the Museum. Up to two classes may be scheduled per day.

HYBRID PROGRAMS

In addition to onsite and in-school education programs, new hybrid models of our most popular programs are now available. CRM’s hybrid programs include pre-lesson and post-lesson informational packets for classroom teachers in advance of the planned online virtual lesson.

Individual CRM Ed “Kits” are available for every child in the class, to be used during the hands-on interactive portion of the lesson, led (by appointment) by one of our educators. Hybrid programs now available include Connecticut River in a Jar, The Bushnell Turtle, and River Dwellers. Hybrid programs expected to be available in 2021 include The Raid on Essex and a program on the Ivory Trade.

SCHEDULE A PROGRAM

We recommend scheduling your program at least two months in advance. Contact the Education Department at 860/767-8269, extension 113 or email ainsall@ctrivermuseum.org. Please have ready school name, grade level, number of students, best school contact name, number, and email, requested program, requested date (please give 3 dates), and requested start and end time.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Payment

Payment is due two weeks prior to program date. Contact the Education department to arrange payment. All payments are payable to the Connecticut River Museum Education Department.

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 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.

Lunch

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

Chaperones

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 $5 each for any Museum program and $15/$20 for the 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 right at circle onto Main Street. Continue to end of Main Street.

Buses can drop off students at our driveway entrance. Due to space restrictions, 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 the map application that you use. If you do not, you may end up in a different section of Essex.

We look forward to speaking with you soon about CRM’s innovative education programs!

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.

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We have decided to not hold our Summer Adventure Camp Program
due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

 The limitations of our facilities, the challenge of social distancing, and the unknowns related
to Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome create additional cause for concern in the
ability to
provide summer programs in a safe manner.  The health and safety of our participants and staff is our foremost concern.

We plan to offer smaller scale activities for children throughout the summer.
Please check our public events calendar regularly as we will add these events as restrictions ease.

 

Camps and Vacation Days

The Museum offers a variety of Camp and Vacation Day Workshops. These full day programs incorporate hands-on experiential 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.

 

Sailing into the Past

July 6-10 | Ages 12-15

Learn how to sail a tall ship aboard the reproduction of the Onrust. The original ship was a wooden vessel built by Dutch explorer Captain Adriaen Block and his crew. Rig sails, tie knots, fire a cannon—by the end of the week you will have the skills to sail the Onrust on the Connecticut River. ➢ Located at the Museum campus in Essex.

Finding the First Americans

July 13-17 | Ages 9-12

Learn about the diverse indigenous people who called Connecticut home! Make a dugout canoe, cook on an open fire, and build a wigwam model. Try your hand at building a fishing net, planting a Three Sisters Garden, or creating pottery. ➢ Located at historic Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook.

Colonial Survival

July 20-24 | Ages 6-8

Travel back in time and discover what life was like on a colonial farm. Build a timber frame structure, learn to weave, cook on an open hearth, plant a garden, play co- lonial games, and more! ➢ Located at historic Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook.

Return to Colonial Life

July 20-24 | Ages 9-12

Have you survived Colonial Survival Camp? Are you ready to travel back to the past? Become a member of a colonial community and try your hand at farming and woodworking. Experience a colonial school day and cook an entire meal on the open hearth. (Participation in Co- lonial Survival Camp not required.) ➢ Located at historic Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook.

Life at Sea

July 27-31 |Ages 9-12

Ahoy Matey! Join our crew and learn the skills of a sailor and find out about life aboard a wooden sailing ship. Be- come a ship designer as you create and test your own model vessel. Build and launch a boat that actually holds a person! Sail aboard the historic vessel Onrust—hoist her sails and immerse yourself in the life of a sailor. ➢ Located at the Museum campus in Essex.

Critters, Coves & Currents

August 3-7 | Ages 6-8

Discover what is over, under, and along the Connecticut River! Try your hand at catching critters using dip and seine nets, create nature crafts, and take a journey on the River to spot wildlife! Learn about the many fish, plants, birds, and animals that call the Connecticut River Valley home. ➢ Located at the Museum campus in Essex

Building, Baiting & Boating

August 10-14 | Ages 9-12

Exploration and adventure await when you join the Building, Baiting & Boating Camp! Challenge yourself to find out all you can about the River. Spend each day in coves, on islands, and on the water. Collect samples, conduct experiments, and build a river aquarium at the Museum. ➢ Located at the Museum campus in Essex.

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.

Summer Adventure Camp Registration is CLOSED due to COVID – 19.

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

2019 Programs

Super Steam Trains! Winter Vacation Workshop–Friday, December 27th

Wonderful Winter! Winter Vacation Workshop–Monday, December 30th

 

Member Rate: 

$25.00

Non Member Rate:

$30.00

Sibling discount: subtract $5 per day

Important Information:

  • Children are dropped off at the Museum at 10am and picked up at 2pm.
  • 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.
  • Classes fill up quickly, so register early.
  • All classes are drop off.
  • NO REFUNDS or CREDITS for missed workshops.
  • Please remember to dress for mess and for the weather.

REGISTER NOW

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. Registration will open on January 1, 2020.

2020 Vacation Days!

Monday, April 6 -Thursday, April 9

Member Rate: 

$25.00

Non Member Rate:

$30.00

Sibling discount: subtract $5 per day

Important Information:

  • Children are dropped off at the Museum at 10am and picked up at 2pm.
  • 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.
  • Classes fill up quickly, so register early.
  • All classes are drop off.
  • NO REFUNDS or CREDITS for missed workshops.
  • Please remember to dress for mess and for the weather.

See full Schedule

VIEW CALENDAR

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