Virtual Programs for Schools

Virtual Programming for Schools and Other Groups

Our virtual programs keep students engaged and make the Museum come alive, and are delivered via Zoom and other video conferencing software based on what the school uses.  Our virtual programs always include an educator and a moderator to facilitate the discussion over the chat. 

In addition to all the virtual programs we delivered in 2020, we have new virtual programs available as well for 2021.   These new programs use a combination of behind-the-scenes pre-recorded videos, up-close and personal artifact analysis, and live footage from the vessels and exhibits on the Museum grounds.

While nothing beats students being able to come to the Museum, our virtual programs are the next best thing and allow students to experience never-before-seen content that we have not been able to incorporate into our in-person programming in the past.  

To register email reservations@mysticseaport.org or call 860-572-5331.  For questions about the content of the programs contact the Director of Education, Sarah Cahill, at sarah.cahill@mysticseaport.org or 860-324-3989.  See program descriptions below for our Maritime History and Artifact Investigations programs, as well as our Astronomy and Navigation programs.

Logistical details for school programs

  • Programs cost $225 per program; financial aid is available up to 100 percent of the cost if needed.
  • Programs are 45-75 minutes depending on the program (time is noted next to each program description).
  • We use Zoom for our programs with a capacity of 500, but we recommend no more than 100 participants per program.  We can use Google Meet or other platforms if needed.
  • At least two days before your program, our staff will send you a personalized Zoom link that you can then share with your students if they are doing the program from home.

Life in a Seaport Town (grades 3-12) 75 minutes (can be scaled down to 60 minutes if needed)

Students will learn about what life was like in a coastal town in the 1800s.  Using a combination of brief videos, artifact analysis, and live tours of vessels and exhibits from the grounds of Mystic Seaport Museum, students will have the opportunity to learn about what it was like to go to school, work in a trade, and participate in domestic life in a maritime community.

19th Century Whaling and the Charles W. Morgan (grades 3-12) 75 minutes (can be scaled down to 60 minutes if needed)

This program explores the history of 19th century whaling through the lens of the last wooden whaleship in the world, and one of the star artifacts at Mystic Seaport Museum, the Charles W. Morgan. Learn how and why Americans went to sea for more than a century, in search of the great leviathans; learn about the true tale that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick; and see rare artifacts from the Museum’s collection that connect to American whaling history. This program uses a combination of brief videos, artifact analysis, and live tours of vessels and exhibits from the grounds of the Museum. 

Conversations in 1876: Meet a Mystic Seaport Museum Roleplayer! (grades 2-12) 45-60 minutes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to speak with someone from the past? With the roleplayers of Mystic Seaport Museum, we invite you to do just that! Through the art of first-person interpretation, our roleplayers blend historical research, historical perspective, and emotional connection to bring the past to life. Based in our country’s centennial year of 1876, each presentation includes a composite character that shares their personal accounts through storytelling and audience interaction, creating a unique education experience that can broaden your students’ understanding of history at the local, national, and international levels. Several themed programs are available including immigration, whaling, and life ashore.

Music of the Sea (grades 3-12) 45-60 minutes

Sing along with one of the Museum’s renowned musician educators. Our chantey staff can make sailors’ work come alive with stories told through music. 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 from their home or classroom.  Students will learn about the history of sea chanteys and their use, and participate in interactive songs with a live musician.  

From Corsets to Coopers: Primary Sources from 19th Century Whaling (grades 4-12) 45-60 minutes

Using artifacts from our collection, reproductions, historic images, and video footage, students will gain a deeper understanding of New England whaling in the 19th Century.  Students will learn about our collection, why Museums collect things, the what and why of whaling, and discuss what can be learned from primary sources. 

The Story of the Gerda III: Rescuing Jews During WWII (grades 4-12) 75 minutes (can be scaled down to 60 minutes if needed)

This program uses the resources of several institutions to tell the story of the boat Gerda III, a Danish lighthouse tender that played a critical role in carrying Jews to safety in Sweden during October of 1943.  Students will experience survivor accounts, oral histories, and behind the scenes footage on the vessel.  Specific connections to the book Number the Stars can be made for classes that are reading that book. This program is a partnership between The Museum of Jewish Heritage:  A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, and Mystic Seaport Museum. 

The Story of the Amistad (grades 4-12) 60 minutes

This new joint program of Mystic Seaport Museum and Discovering Amistad tells the story of the Amistad and how it serves as an example of how citizens and communities, working together, can bring about landmark change.  Using the legacy of the 1839 Amistad Uprising, the program bridges history and the challenges of that time to present-day issues of inequity.  The program features behind the scenes footage from the vessel itself, and a special Planetarium show that showcases changes in the night sky as seen by the Amistad Africans on their return trip to Sierra Leone, and the role that celestial navigation played in this local story.

History Detectives: Primary Source Inquiry (grades 5-12) 45-60 minutes

Broadcast live from our Museum Studios into your classroom, a Museum Educator will guide students through the analysis of primary source documents and artifacts from the Museum’s collection to help develop their historical thinking skills. Themes include “Whaling” and “Life in a Seaport Town.”

In the Footsteps of Charlotte Doyle (grades 5-12) 75 minutes (can be scaled down to 60 minutes if needed)

In this program, students will explore parallels between The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi and the resources, artifacts, and ships of Mystic Seaport Museum, including the Charles W. Morgan.

Sailor’s Sea Chest (grades K-5) 45-60 minutes

In this virtual version of one of our most beloved school outreach programs, students will explore the items that a sailor would have packed for a long journey at sea. Students will analyze each of the objects and learn about the adventures on board 19th-century ships.

Scrimshaw: The Sailor’s Art (grades 4-12) 60 minutes

Learn about the sailor’s art of scrimshaw in this interactive program and create a piece of modern scrimshaw alongside a Museum Educator! Please book at least three (3) weeks in advance in order to ship materials.

Zoo in the Sky (grades K-3) – 30-45 minutes

This program will unlock your students’ imaginations to see animal shapes in the stars! After sharing a story about one of the animal constellations, we can “connect the dots” together as we tour the “zoo” in the sky. We will end with a short craft activity where we can turn our favorite animals into constellations.

Patterns of Change (grades K-3) – 30-45 minutes

This program explores the very first concepts of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Earth and Space Science covered in early elementary grades. Our dynamic world is always moving, and always changing, and 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.

Night Sky Update (grades 4-12) – 45-60 minutes

Join us to explore the current night sky! We will share information about the moon, planets, and the constellations that are visible this time of year – where they are and how to find them in the sky. By the end of our program, you’ll have everything you need for some backyard stargazing.

Navigation and Explorers (grades 4-8) – 45-60 minutes

Join us to learn about navigation through the lens of explorers throughout history. We will see the tools used by Magellan and Cook, among others, and will also identify some lesser-known but equally-important navigators. Ultimately, we will make a connection between technological improvements and safer, more precise movement around the globe. We will finish the program by using some household supplies to build a simple navigation tool that you can try out yourself!

Phases of the Moon (grades 4-8) – 45-60 minutes

Using hands-on activities and real-world math problems, students will learn about the phases of the moon and its relationship to Earth.  We’ll talk about scale models, tides, eclipses, and much more.

Scaling the Solar System (grades 4-12) – 45-60 minutes

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 one 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 also to compare the different sizes of celestial bodies.

Design A Mission (grades 4-12) – 45-60 minutes

This program introduces students to the engineering process behind space exploration missions. After establishing how technology has enabled us to reach further and further into space, students will recognize that some missions have been successful while others have not. Students will then be assigned into 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 a customized simulation of each team’s mission.

In the Footsteps of Galileo (grades 6-12) – 45-60 minutes

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 workshop, we will take Galileo’s observations of the four large moons around Jupiter, and provide historical context into the magnitude of his findings. We will then take a small sample of data, make precise predictions about what will happen next, and evaluate the results.