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.

Several of our most popular educational programs are now also available via hybrid models. Programs will continue to be available on our campus in classrooms, and elsewhere for interested schools, students, and families. 

PROGRAMS AT THE MUSEUM

The museum is able to accommodate up to three groups of 25 students per day for field trips. These groups will be divided into smaller groups and will rotate through the chosen programs. For information on onsite educational programs and rates, please contact the Education Department at ainsall@ctrivermuseum.org. Multiple programs may be completed during one visit if time allows.

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 is 25 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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Summer Adventure Camp
is Back for 2021!
Registration Open Now!

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 or seining in the River looking for aquatic life. Camps run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Registrations are not considered complete until all mandatory forms are completed.

Life at Sea

July 19-23 and/or August 2-6 | Ages 6-8

Find out about life aboard a sailing ship. Create your own model vessel – and see if it floats! Hoist the sails and immerse yourself in the life of a sailor. ➢ Located at the Museum campus in Essex.

Register Here. Registration Closed for these weeks.

Sailing Into the Past

July 19-23 and/or August 2-6 | Ages 9-12

Learn to sail aboard the historic replica of Adriaen Block’s vessel, Onrust. Rig sails and tie knots! ➢ Located at the Museum campus in Essex.

Register Here. Registration Closed for these weeks.

River Explorers

July 26-30 and/or August 9-13 | Ages 6-8

Discover what is over, under, and along the Connecticut River. Use dip and seine nets to catch critters. Take a journey on the river to spot wildlife. ➢ Located at the Museum campus in Essex.

Register Here!   Registration Open for August 9-13 only. 

River Adventures

July 26-30 and/or August 9-13 | Ages 9-12

Find out all you can about the river. Collect samples using nets. Spend each day in coves, on islands, and on the water. Spot wildlife. ➢ Located at the Museum campus in Essex.

Register Here!   Registration Open for August 9-13 only.

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 open now!

Children are dropped off at camp at 9:00am and picked up at 4:00pm. Please provide a snack, lunch, 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.

December Vacation Day Mini-Camps

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.

2021 Mini-Camp Information: Coming This Summer

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

April Vacation Day Mini-Camps – Not offered in 2021

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: 

$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

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