Guided Museum Tours

Students exploring the Captain's quarters of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan.

Students exploring the Captain’s quarters of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan.

Guided Museum tours bring the past to life for students and enrich classroom lessons with hands-on activities. Students engage with places, objects, and ideas from the 19th century and gain a new understanding of their own 21st-century lives. Our experienced Museum educators lead tours that are divided into small groups of 10 to 13 students.

Each tour will visit three key exhibits in which the activities and conversation will deeply explore the theme of the tour. Not all groups will go to the same exhibits.

The tour will include a Pair/Share activity (collaborative problem-solving), a Visual Thinking Strategy activity (critical thinking and observation), and a hands-on experience. The programs are constructed to always connect the historical to the modern, make the subject relevant to the student’s life and connect to the broader world.

Guided tour options include:

Social Studies and Language Arts

NEW! Whaling: Sea & Sky Package

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Examine why we whaled, how whale products helped to fuel the Industrial Revolution and the fashion industry, and explore how perceptions of whales have changed over time;
  • Explore the National Historic Landmark vessel the Charles W. Morgan and interpret how 19th-century whalers made their living;
  • Visit our new interactive “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” exhibit;
  • Throw a harpoon (weather permitting) or create artwork inspired by the traditional seafaring craft of scrimshaw;
  • See the Morgan’s Guiding Stars Planetarium show that illustrates what the night sky looked like to whalers aboard the Morgan using excerpts from the vessel’s logbooks to display the night sky views at various dates, times, latitudes, and longitudes of her storied history. (A whaling tour without the Planetarium show is also available.)

Grades: 2-12
Offered: Year-round
Length: 2 hours, 15-minutes (includes 30- minute Planetarium show)
Cost: $19 per student (includes admission, tour, and Planetarium show); $22.50 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free

NEW! Finding Your Way: Navigation by Stars & Sextant

Tour includes:

  • A Planetarium show;
  • Using a sextant to discover latitude;
  • Making a sundial to demonstrate the role that time plays in navigation;
  • And a special tour of the new exhibit called “Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude,” which is on loan from the “National Maritime Museum” in London, UK. This exhibit tells the extraordinary story of the race to determine longitude at sea and how one of the greatest technical challenges of the 18th and 19th centuries was eventually solved by building the perfect clock. Please note that Mystic Seaport is one of only four locations in the world that is hosting this exhibit, and that it is at Mystic Seaport from September 19, 2015, through March 28, 2016. This tour can help you meet components of the geography strand of the new Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks.

Grades: 3-12
Offered: October 5, 2015-March 25, 2016
Length: 2 hours, 30-minutes (includes 30-minute Planetarium show)
Cost: $19 per student (includes admission, tour, and Planetarium show); $22.50 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free

NEW! Cargos Around the World

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore at least one coastal and one deepwater vessel and discover how their cargos were obtained and stored;
  • Visit a trademan’s shop to learn how businesses in a seaport differ from a land-locked town;
  • Try their hand as a skilled apprentice by printing an advertisement, working with a barrel or making rope;
  • Visit our scale model of the Mystic River area to discover how geography impacts the local industry and economy.

Grades: 2-12
Offered: Year-round (except Jan. 4-Feb. 12)
Length: 1 hour, 45-minutes
Cost: $15.50 per student (includes admission and tour); $19 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free

Life in a Seaport Town

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Discover why coastal communities developed and flourished;
  • Learn how families lived by visiting the Buckingham-Hall House;
  • Investigate a working craftsman’s shop to examine traditional tools and compare them to their modern counterparts;
  • Visit the General Store to learn about the local economy and discover what types of goods were available in a seaport town;
  • Explore the important skill of ropemaking by actually making rope; or participate in a 19th-century school lesson in a 19th-century school house.

Grades: 2-12
Offered: Year-round (except Jan. 4-Feb. 12)
Length: 1 hour, 45-minutes
Cost: $15.50 per student (includes admission and tour); $19 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free

Sailor’s Work

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Visit our fishing schooner, the L.A. Dunton, to learn about a fisherman’s day and row a dory (on land!);
  • Explore a cooperage to learn how wooden casks were made;
  • Participate in a sailor’s story and tie a sailor’s knot.

Grades: Pre-K-1
Offered: Year-round (except Jan. 4-Feb. 12)
Length: 1 hour
Cost: $15.50 per student (includes admission and tour); $19 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free

Seaport Sampler

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Visit one of our historic ships;
  • Visit a 19th-century home;
  • Explore one of the many shore side trades.

Grades: Pre-K-12
Offered: Year-round, except Jan. 4-Feb. 12
Length: 1 hour
Cost: $15.50 per student (includes admission and tour); $19 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free

Hands-On History

Students will have the opportunity to be immersed in the life of a 19th-century seaport town by participating in hands-on activities on the list below:

  • Shipsmith, Shipcarver’s Shop, Print Shop or Cooperage;
  • Meet a roleplayer or hear a chantey performance;
  • Make a sailor’s craft to take home.

Grades: 4-12
Offered: September-December, March and April
Length: 3 hours (includes travel time between locations and lunch on your own)
Cost: $26.50 per student (includes admission and hands-on activities); $19 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free

Voyage to America: Immigration Tour

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Experience the journey many immigrants took to come to America by visiting one of our historic sailing vessels;
  • Empathize with the immigrants’ reception upon arrival and their experiences integrating into American society;
  • Participate in a naturalization class in our 19th-century schoolhouse;
  • Discuss what it means to be a U.S. citizen;
  • Learn how important communication and the printing industry were to new immigrants finding their way in America.

Grades: 2-12
Offered: Year-round (except Jan. 4-Feb. 12)
Length: 1 hour, 45-minutes
Cost: $15.50 per student (includes admission and tour); $19 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free

Science

Force and Motion

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Use simple machines on board or on shore to concretely understand mechanical advantage;
  • Visit a historic vessel to identify simple and compound machines in action;
  • Learn what types of technological advances occurred in several shore side industries;
  • Discover how simple machines make work easier by visiting our new “Force in Motion at Sea” exhibit.

Grades: 4-8
Offered: Year-round (except Jan. 4-Feb. 12)
Length: 1 hour, 45-minutes
Cost: $15.50 per student (includes admission and tour);$19 per non-teacher chaperone; teachers free