In-school Programs

Students will learn about life at sea aboard a 19th-century whaling ship from their very own classroom!

Imagine transporting the sights and sounds of a 19th-century village right into your 21st-century 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.

NEW: 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: 4-7: 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 8-12: 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

Navigation by Sextant

Grades 3-12: 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.

Phases of the Moon

Grades K-8: Using hands-on activities and real-world math problems, students will learn about the phases of the moon and its relationship to Earth, and the differences between large- and small-scale models.

Solar Observing

Grades 3-12: This hands-on program gives students the opportunity to safely observe the sun using a telescope and solar filter. Students will sketch the sunspots they observe, see their sunspot tallies recorded in a Citizen Science activity, and learn how astronomers use sunspots to study the properties of the sun and other stars.


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 19th-century coastal living with their own lives in the 21st century. 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 in the 19th century.

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 19th-century 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

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.