The Mystic Seaport Education Department hosts many different types of professional development programs for educators. Check back often as we add new events every month!
The buildings in the recreated seaport town on the campus of Mystic Seaport represent a variety of architectural styles. By examining these buildings and their individual styles and characteristics, we can learn a lot about the people who lived and worked in them. Join us for an evening sampler of the various hands-on architecture-related programs we offer at the Museum. Come prepared to put on your architectural historian thinking cap and survey a building with your team!
The world around us is filled with primary source material and clues about the past. It’s also filled with legends and stories that may or may not be “true.” Join Dr. Elysa Engelman to learn how to help your students navigate the art of inquiry and decipher the world around us. She’ll share how researching a historic house with a rumored Underground-Railroad connection led to a different story – a fugitive slave whose experience in New London triggered national coverage in the 1850s. She’ll also look at how you can use artwork, stories, and primary sources to help students unpack the impact of memory and myth on our popular understanding of the past.
Join Herman Melville Scholar, Dr. Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, and Mystic Seaport staff to learn all about one of the great American classics, Moby-Dick. Bercaw Edwards, Associate Professor of English, University of Connecticut, is an accomplished Melville scholar. Her books include Cannibal Old Me (2009) and Herman Melville’s Whaling Years (2004). Bercaw Edwards has worked aboard the Charles W. Morgan for over thirty years and was one of the Morgan’s sailing crew for the 38th Voyage. This program will include a special Moby-Dick themed tour of the Charles W. Morgan, lecture, and pizza! RSVP now to join us.
*"Moby Dick p 510 illustration" by A. Burnham Shute - Moby-Dick edition - C. H. Simonds Co. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Part lecture and part walking tour of Mystic Seaport, we will discuss the interdisciplinary teaching of American literary works set at sea or on the coast and how they have reflected, informed, and even spurred the environmental movements in the US. We'll discuss authors such as Rachel Carson, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, TS Eliot, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Linda Greenlaw, and Sarah Orne Jewett. As we look at the Mystic River and the museum's ships, we'll focus a particular eye toward fishing and ocean resources when examined through the lens of fiction, narrative, and poetry. Pizza dinner and time for discussion included!
Click here to learn more about our speaker, Dr. Rich King.
Join us as we dive into the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks! During this workshop, participants will discuss how the social studies frameworks can be effectively utilized by schools and museums as they evaluate the ways they educate students. The inquiry arc will be analyzed in great detail, with attention given to approaches to getting students to ask compelling questions. Methods to promote effective collaboration, both between students and educators, will also be a focus of this session. Participants will also experience a Primary Source Workshop and leave with a Mystic Seaport inquiry-based lesson plan using objects from the Museum collection, featured on the MSE website.
This professional development workshop will introduce middle school teachers to a new science unit inspired by the 38th Voyage of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan. The six lessons in the unit merge history with science to encourage an enduring interdisciplinary connection between modern marine science and the experience of the nineteenth-century whaler. Each lesson includes a reading or activity that reflects one or more historic observations mariners conducted at sea. While these observations may not have been originally performed with scientific intent, students will learn the value of historical perspective on modern research.
Each lesson is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and can be used as stand-alone material or in sequence, adaptable to any middle school science course. All of the lessons are free and linked to articles on Mystic Seaport’s 38th Voyage website and additional resources.
Read more about Dr. Lisa Gilbert and the 38th Voyage here.
Connecticut was and still is a very inventive state full of ingenious people. There are many Connecticut citizens who have invented great things to make our lives safer, easier, and fairer. What was it about the small developing towns in this small state that produced such big thinkers?
With direct ties to the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks, "Connecticut's Unsung Heroes" is a new program for grades 2-8, tailored to your town’s history, introducing new vocabulary and examining products of the town, region and state. Through hands-on activities, students will understand why their town developed over time in the way that it did and what their hometown’s claim to fame was by discussing famous people and inventions that came from their town. They will learn what industries have come and gone in their town as well as our state and why, and learn how their town’s inventions and people contributed to the growth and strength of the state and the country. In addition, students will learn how the geography of the state (soil, water, natural resources, etc.) and the locations of major towns directly correlate to the concentrations of revolutionary ideas.
During this Professional Development session, teachers will have a chance to make one of Connecticut’s popular products, as well as have a local geography lesson, 19th century style.
(Image by L. L. Poates Eng. Co. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)
Last year, the Mystic Seaport Museum hosted an exhibit called, “Ships, Clocks, and Stars: The Quest for Longitude”. On loan from the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, the exhibit allowed us to tell the story of maritime navigation like never before.
While the exhibit has moved on, the opportunity to teach navigation remains, and the Museum’s Education Department has designed two new on-site programs for school groups – “Explorers and Navigators” for grades 2-4, and “Finding Our Way: Navigation at Sea” for grades 5-12.
This workshop will introduce teachers to each program, before allowing them to experience a hybrid combination of elements from both. Teachers will experience activities including chartwork, taking a compass bearing, determining speed using a chip log, and measuring angles using a sextant.
(Image: Captain Benjamin Cleveland with sextant. © Mystic Seaport, 1973.189.60.)
In celebration of the opening of our new, dramatically different Thompson Exhibition Building, the SeaChange exhibit presents a range of beautiful and surprising objects from Mystic Seaport’s rich collections. Each is a survivor of the past and gives glimpses into other people’s lives in different places and times - from scientific surveyors charting the Atlantic coast on the eve of the American Revolution to western merchants trading for silk and tea in 1850s China, from Arctic explorers to laborers harvesting bird guano off Peru for American farmers. Together they speak to larger transformations that continue to shape our times. The exhibit includes interactives that give you the chance to peek inside a 1740s shipmodel, test the principles behind dazzling WWI ship designs, and zoom-in to see the tiny cuts on modern miniature figureheads.
Join Director of Exhibits Elysa Engleman as she gives a special teacher tour of this stunning new exhibit.
In 1846, the men and ships of New London’s whaling fleet began 70 years of extensive whaling in the eastern Arctic. With one of the earth’s most inhospitable regions serving as a stage, they played key roles in a series of dramatic adventures, including the greatest whaling “catch” of all – the discovery and salvage of the abandoned British exploring ship Resolute. Drawing from Mystic Seaport’s rich collections of rare photographs, artifacts, books, and documents, Curator of Collections Fred Calabretta will share the stories and adventures of colorful whaling captains, Inuit visitors to New London, arctic explorers, and other fascinating characters.
Have you ever been curious about hosting a virtual program in your classroom? If so, then join Mystic Seaport staff Krystal Rose and John Boudreau to learn about the mechanics of a Mystic Seaport virtual program, the programs and content that can be covered and why it can be a beneficial learning experience in your classroom!
The program is free. Will be hosted live from 4:30-5:30 pm, and archived afterwards. RSVP to receive link to program.
Visit https://www.mysticseaport.org/learn/k-12-programs/virtual-programs/ to learn more about our virtual programs.
One of the most powerful concepts in astronomy is the concept of scale. Our planet Earth seems so large sometimes, and yet in the grand scheme of things we are one of the tiniest dots in a vast universe. To convey this concept to students, the Treworgy Planetarium has crafted a new in-school program called, “Scaling the Solar System."
This workshop will introduce teachers to our new program, which draws on multiple disciplines – science, math, and visual arts – to create a unique perspective of our most local address in the universe. Visual aids, which are constantly being updated from the latest NASA missions, provide awe-inspiring, full-color displays of each unique member of our Solar System. Teachers can also learn how to make a kinesthetic model of the Solar System, with students playing the roles of celestial bodies, in a variety of school spaces (classroom, hallway, gymnasium).
(Image by Rick Guidice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)
Join Mystic Seaport staff as we explore new topics in our monthly professional development series. Sessions for the 2016-2017 school year include:
September 28: "Putting the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks into Action" with Social Studies Consultant Steve Armstrong
October 5: "Science on the Charles W. Morgan's 38th Voyage" with Dr. Lisa Gilbert
November 16: "Connecticut's Unsung Heroes" with Assistant Director for School & Family Programs, Barbara Jarnagin
December 14: "Finding Your Way: Navigation at Sea" with Treworgy Planetarium Supervisor, Brian Koehler and Assistant Director for School & Famiy Programs, Barbara Jarnagin
January 18: "Sea-Change" Exhibit - Teacher Tour with Director of Exhibits, Elysa Engelman
February15: "Adventure, Discovery and Disaster: The New London Whaling Fleet in the Eastern Arctic" with Curator Fred Calabretta
March 15: "Behind the Scenes of Mystic Seaport Virtual Programs" with Krystal Rose & John Boudreau
April 19: "Hands-On! A Look into the Maritime Trades at Mystic Seaport" with Mystic Seaport Staff
May 10: "Scaling the Solar System" with Treworgy Planetarium Supervisor, Brian KoehlerJune 7: "Gerda III: A Story from WWII" with Gerda III Historian, Howard Veisz
Mystic Seaport volunteer and researcher Howard Veisz will speak about Gerda III, a wooden work boat built in 1926 to re-supply offshore lighthouses along the Danish coast. During the Nazi occupation of Denmark during World War II, she took on another cargo: clandestine groups of Jewish refugees that she transported to freedom. Howard will discuss in-depth her profound impact upon the fate of so many Jewish people who escaped the terror of the Gestapo because of her heroic actions.
By an act of the Danish Parliament, the Gerda III was donated to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. The vessel was restored to her wartime appearance, complete with neutral flags, by the J. Ring Andersen yard in Denmark. Mystic Seaport is proud to help care for the boat and exhibit her in the United States.
Mystic Seaport is dedicated to helping teachers and students understand and utilize the primary and secondary source materials available in our collection. In this workshop, experience a Virtual Education Program, which can bring primary sources to your classroom, if you can’t come to us! We will also get to have some hands-on time with our Education Collection through one of our popular “Curator’s Challenge” programs.
Mystic Seaport is fortunate to have the Viking ship Draken Harald Harfagre docked until late spring 2018. We have collaborated with the crew to produce this joint education program. Come experience this new program, available to your students this school year only! The workshop will consist of a planetarium show, “Stars of the Vikings,” a tour of the Draken, a navigation based hands-on activity and a trip to our preservation shipyard to discuss how and why Viking Ships were built the way they were.
Mystic Seaport is now doing special programming for teachers in October instead of April, and for one day only so don’t miss it! This year’s Educators Appreciation Day is Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 9am-5pm, rain or shine. All teachers, administrators, instructional assistants, homeschoolers, afterschool professionals, and their families (up to four people total with teacher ID) will receive free admission to Mystic Seaport.
The Viking ship Draken Harald Harfagre is docked at Mystic Seaport for a limited time, and educators will be able to learn about our new joint tour with Draken for this year only. Don’t miss this special opportunity to explore the Museum, learn more about our educational programs, participate in special activities for educators and their families, and find connections that link your classroom with ours. Education Department staff will be on hand to discuss program offerings and answer questions.
Museum visitors might be surprised to learn that what they see in public exhibitions only represents a small percentage of that museum's collection as a whole. Mystic Seaport is no exception, so this program is a chance for teachers to see what we keep, safely stored in our vaults -- from our vast collection of scrimshaw to over five hundred small vessels. Join us for this rare, behind-the-scenes look at some of the major collections of Mystic Seaport: artifacts, documents and watercraft. Space is limited for this program.
Come learn about our popular Hands-On History program! Teachers will hear from our master craftsmen about what they do with students during this program, and get a chance to try their hand at some carving, blacksmithing, coopering, and printing.
Join us for a special teacher night in the exhibit Murmur: Arctic Realities.
Murmur: Arctic Realities will present a groundbreaking new experience by John Grade, one of world’s leading contemporary artists. Visitors will encounter what appears to be a natural landform – a mound intricately carved from Alaskan yellow cedar. This vast sculpture represents a pingo, a hill of ice that grows over centuries in the Arctic’s highest latitudes, then collapses, pockmarking the tundra. Grade’s work replicates exactly a pingo in Alaska’s Noatak National Preserve, mapped by the artist using photogrammetry. Visitors will not only witness the pingo’s impressive scale, but will also be able to enter inside the sculpture as its walls open and close, mimicking the pingo’s lifecycle at a time when this is accelerating due to unprecedented environmental change.
The title Murmur evokes both the sound of Arctic wind and the shapes made by flocks of Arctic birds in flight. The installation will provide an experience in which people can virtually explore the interior of a pingo’s ice core and the unusual textures, flora and fauna of the landform.
Murmur will incorporate the use of Microsoft’s HoloLens Mixed Reality technology. Grade will map fragments of Noatak’s landscape into the gallery so that visitors wearing a wireless HoloLens headset will see themselves within a holographic representation – one using visual images and spatialized sound of a precise geographic location 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle. By allowing visitors to traverse an Alaskan marsh in Connecticut, Murmur will revolutionize the public’s grasp of what a museum experience can be.
Mystic Seaport’s installation will be Murmur’s international debut and is made possible in collaboration with the Anchorage Museum.
Sing along with one of Mystic Seaport’s renowned staff musicians in a program of traditional songs from the sea, including ballads, dance tunes, and the shipboard work songs that came to be known as chanties. 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. Teachers are invited to become crew members as they join in a chorus, picture the events in a ballad or use a chantey to mime the hard work of a sailor.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to speak with someone from the past? With the role-players of Mystic Seaport, we invite you to do just that! Through the art of first-person interpretation, our role-players 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. Come meet three of our role-players in this program sampler, and experience how engaging and enlightening the experience can be!
PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE!
Join Melville Scholar, Dr. Mary K. Bercaw Edwards and Mystic Seaport staff to learn all about one of the great American classics, Moby-Dick. This program will include a walking tour of the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world. Bercaw Edwards, Associate Professor, University of Connecticut, is an accomplished Melville scholar. Her books include Cannibal Old Me (2009), Herman Melville’s Whaling Years (2004), and Melville’s Sources (1987).
Image By Everett Henry (1893–1961) (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/tri064.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Join us for a special teacher night in our two new exhibits, The Vikings Begin and The Vinland Map, opening in May 2018!
In The Vikings Begin, priceless treasures, including helmets, shields, weapons, glass, and other artifacts that are safeguarded at the Gustavianum Museum of Uppsala University in Sweden, Scandinavia’s oldest university, make their way to Mystic Seaport. These collections, dating as early as the seventh century, are now the focus of a major research initiative designed to significantly advance our understanding of how the Norse culture evolved. Thematic sections on Viking warfare, trade, the Baltic Sea, a ship burial, Norse gods, and relations to other cultures will employ rare archaeological finds in the discovery of how this maritime society lived more than a millennium ago. This exhibition represents the first instance most of these artifacts will have ever left Sweden. Mystic Seaport’s installation will be the international debut of The Vikings Begin, and is made possible in collaboration with the Gustavianum, Uppsala University Museum.
Science, Myth, and Mystery: The Vinland Map Saga will chronicle the story behind the controversial Vinland Map, first unveiled by Yale University in 1965. This parchment map was dated by Yale to about 1440 – an incendiary claim as the map depicts at its far western edge Vinland, the mysterious land discovered by explorer Leif Ericsson in about 1000, what we now know to be Newfoundland. Did Norse knowledge of the New World exist within mainland Europe before Columbus sailed? The Map suggests so. Its publication riveted a public deeply invested in the question of First Contact, and eager for evidence of an American connection to Viking history. The Map’s discovery also ignited a firestorm of debate as scholars, historians, and scientists across the globe argued over its meaning and authenticity. Today most scholars concur the Map is a forgery, which does nothing to diminish the role it has played in our national conversation about who we are and where we come from.
This exhibition will place the Vinland Map on display in the U.S. for the first time in more than 50 years, allowing those who have followed the saga to see its primary evidence for the first time. Mystic Seaport will engage historians, archaeologists, scientists, and other leading experts to share the Map’s story, and discuss its out-sized role in modern American history.
This exhibition is made possible in collaboration with the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Image: Helmet, 7th century. Copyright: Gustavianum, Uppsala University Museum.