In-school Programs

woman and man demonstrating to kids in classroom

Imagine transporting the sights and sounds of a seaport village right into your classroom. Mystic Seaport Educators bring the Museum’s collections to your class through a variety of programs. Activities can be tailored for multiple age groups and are designed for classroom-sized groups.

In-School Ropemaking

How important was rope manufacturing in the New England seaport towns of the 1800s? What materials were used to make rope, and where did they come from? Students are encouraged to try their hands at several stations as they process raw natural fiber into a sturdy functional rope. The students will deduce if the ropemaking industry is as important today and why.
Grades: 2-8
Offered: Year-round
Length: 45 minutes
Group size: 30 students
Cost: $200 per program plus mileage. Up to two additional programs may be scheduled on the same day for an additional $100 per program.

In-School Primary Source Workshop

History Detectives Program

By popular demand, we are taking our Primary Source Workshops on the road. Students use the inquiry process as they analyze replicas of primary sources and artifacts from the Museum’s collections.
Grades: 4-6: This program emphasizes what primary sources are and teaches students how to develop their historical thinking skills. This workshop can help meet components of the Historical Sources and Evidence component of the new Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks. Themes include Whaling or Life in a Seaport Town.
Grades 7-12: Primary Source Workshop 1 – The Curator’s Challenge
In this workshop, students work in teams to design an exhibit using historical objects. Students develop their historical thinking skills as they make decisions about what objects to include in the exhibit and what stories they tell. Each team presents their exhibit at the end of the program. Themes include “Whaling” and/or “The Charles W. Morgan,” “Collections Sampler: Objects from General Maritime History,” “The Changing Perceptions of Whales” and “Immigration: The Voyage to America.”

Treworgy Planetarium In-School Programs

Patterns of Change (grades K-3)

This program explores the ways in which our dynamic world is always moving and always changing. After centuries of people observing patterns in the world around us, we have a better understanding of how Earth and other objects are moving through space. Using kinesthetic and hands-on learning, we will explore day and night, seasons, and the phases of the moon, along with other patterns we can see and predict.

Phases of the Moon (grades 4-8)

This program will explore the human connection to our closest neighbor in outer space. Students will learn about the role the moon plays both in the night sky and in our solar system. We will examine the relationships between the Sun, Earth, and Moon, and discover not just the moon’s phases, but also how each object has an impact on tides, eclipses, and even our concept of time!

Scaling the Solar System (grades 4-8)

Some concepts in Astronomy are difficult to convey simply due to the vastness of outer space, or the fact that some objects in our universe are massively larger than Earth. Scale models are a powerful way to overcome these hurdles. In this program, we use a variety of models and methods to devise fun ways to express astronomical distances, and to compare the different sizes of celestial bodies.

Navigation by Sextant (grades 4-12)

This program puts a sextant in the hands of students to introduce the basics of celestial navigation. Angle measurements and other math concepts are incorporated into exploring how mariners determined their
current location, before ultimately plotting a course on the open seas.

Design A Mission (grades 6-12)

This program introduces students to the engineering process behind space exploration missions. Students will be assigned to teams and given the chance to design their own spacecraft and mission. The success of each team’s mission will be dependent on a series of carefully-considered choices. After designing their spacecraft, we will view and analyze a custom simulation of each mission.

In the Footsteps of Galileo (grades 6-12)

An important aspect of critical thinking in the science world is the ability to use observations and data collection to make predictions about the future. This program challenges students to take on the role of the famous astronomer Galileo Galilei, and to see exactly what he saw centuries ago as he sought to explain the mysteries of outer space. In this hands-on program, we will take Galileo’s observations, make precise predictions about what will happen next, and evaluate the results.


A Sailor’s Life

Grades Pre-K-1: Using artifacts, primary documents and historical photographs from Mystic Seaport’s collections, a Museum educator guides students as they unpack a sailor’s sea chest. Young people use the objects in the sea chest like clues, piecing together a picture of what a sailor’s life would have been like more than 150 years ago.

Life in a Seaport Town

Grades 2-8: Students compare and contrast life in a seaport town then and now. Through the use of artifacts, primary documents, and historical photographs from the Museum’s collection, students will focus on the living conditions, industry, commerce, and technology of a coastal town.

Whales, Whaling and Whalers

Grades 2-8: Students analyze the tools of the whaler and listen to the stories of life at sea aboard a whaling ship. A harpoon, samples of baleen, in addition to other artifacts and primary documents illustrate the dangerous and exciting work of whalers.

Skills and Trades of the 19th Century

Grades 3-8: Build a barrel right in your classroom. Set type and print on a portable 19th-century printing press in your classroom. Or forge metal like a shipsmith using our portable forge. Educators can choose from three different skills and trades: cooper, printer, and shipsmith. Students work directly with the cooper, printer, or shipsmith as they participate in hands-on activities that bring these trades to life.

Roleplayer In-School

Grades 2-12: Mystic Seaport roleplayers bring history to life as students have conversations with a person from the past. Roleplayers wear historically accurate costumes, and use artifacts and stories to create a fascinating glimpse into the 19th century.

Chantey Programs

Music on the Water

Grades Pre-K-12: Sing along with one of Mystic Seaport’s renowned musician educators. Our chantey staff can bring your curriculum to life with stories told through music. From the working music of the deep water sailors and coastal fisherman, to the tales of westward expansion through our inland waterways, to the cultural influences of music brought from far-flung ports, America’s rich musical heritage owes much to the way in which seafarers and river mariners carried music, musical instruments, and musicians from place to place. Students are invited to become crew members as they join in a chorus, picture the events in a ballad or use a chantey as a tool to help accomplish hard work like raising sail.

Music on the Morgan

The Charles W. Morgan is the last remaining wooden whaleship in the world – and she is at Mystic Seaport! The vessel’s long career covered a significant period of American history as the nation moved from whale oil to petroleum for fuel and lubricants. This interactive music program traces this history and the Morgan’s role within it.

Fees and Registration

In-school programs are $225 per program plus mileage. Up to two additional presentations may be scheduled on the same day for an additional $100 per program. Full payment is due within 30 days of making the reservation.

You may also call 860.572.5331 weekdays between 9 a.m.-4 p.m. or email reservations@mysticseaport.org/.

The Facts

  • Grades: Pre-K–12
  • Offered year-round
  • Times are flexible
  • Length: 45 minutes
  • Group Size: 30 students (classroom-sized groups)

Virtual Programs

Visit Mystic Seaport without leaving your classroom. Using Skyping technology and state-of-the-art equipment in our production studio at Mystic Seaport, a Museum educator will lead your students in an in-depth dialogue about various topics in American maritime history. Learn more.