The Jackson Homestead and Museum offers programs for student groups in grades Pre-K through 12 that provide an opportunity to explore the history of American people using the City of Newton as a case study. The programs engage children in active learning through observing, discussing, and participating in hands-on activities.
Stories & Playtime: Peeking into Newton's Toy Chest
(Grade Pre K-2, 30-45 minutes)
Enjoy a storytime followed by historic games and activities! Time for a teacher-provided snack can be arranged.
TOPIC I: Underground Railroad
Maps, music, and primary documents will be used along with hands-on activities to bring the history of the Underground Railroad to life. These programs integrate well with studies of slavery, abolition, race relations, migration, and local history.
Songs and Stories of the Underground Railroad
(Grades 1-3, 60 minutes, Visit Guide
Learn about the Jackson family and what it meant to be an abolitionist. Discover what everyday life was like for people living as slaves by listening to the words of Frederick Douglass. Hear stories of escape on the Underground Railroad. Crawl into a reproduction box that was used by a man to mail himself to freedom and try on a collar made to punish a man for attempting to escape.
Time for a teacher-provided snack can be arranged.
Underground Railroad: Passage to Freedom
(Grades 4-6, 60 minutes, Visit Guide)
Students will develop an understanding of the risks both abolitionists and slaves were taking as conductors and passengers on the Underground Railroad. Take a glimpse at a book written in the 1800s that describes a fugitive slave hiding at the Jackson Homestead. Get a sense of the danger of escape by crawling into a reproduction of a box used by a man to mail himself to freedom, and try on a collar made to punish a man for attempting to escape from slavery.
Abolition: Examining the Evidence
(Grades 7-12, 60 minutes, Visit Guide)
In this program, students will examine primary documents to learn about the Underground Railroad. Students will learn about the use of written documents and oral tradition, and explore the mysteries of this important part of American history.
TOPIC II: Native American History
Penobscot Indian ball and triangle game
Native American History and Culture
(Grades K-3, 60 minutes) Learn about what life was like for the first people of North America. Artifacts, oral traditions, and hands-on activities illustrate the traditions and history of the Native Americans of our region and their contact with 17th-century European settlers. Students will:
- Play Native American games
- Learn about native plants and their uses
- Explore an Algonquian language
- Handle tools and natural materials
- Make your own ring and pin game
Digging for Evidence
(Grades 4-6, 75 minutes)
Get your hands dirty at our Digging for Evidence program! Do a mock dig in the backyard of the Jackson Homestead. Discover how archaeologists work, examine objects in our collection, and do the detective work of history. Students will learn how archaeology can teach us about the Native American people who lived in this area before European settlement.
TOPIC III: Family Life in the 1800s
Photographs, clothing, artifacts, and other primary sources illustrate a day in the life of the Jacksons in the 1800s. These programs integrate well with studies of family life, 19th-century social history, and local history.
If You Lived at The Jackson Homestead
(Grades K-2, 60 minutes, Visit Guide
Explore the everyday life of a family in the 1800s. After playing a guessing game with artifacts in the Jackson's kitchen, students handle artifacts relating to work, school, cooking, and fun and games! Time for a teacher-provided snack can be arranged.
19th-Century Family Life
(Grades 3 and up, 60 minutes, Visit Guide)
Examining artifacts and clothing in the Jackson's kitchen, students will get a sense of the differences between their everyday lives and that of a family in the 19th-century. The program also includes a hands-on activity which challenges students to determine what artifacts were made of and used for by handling genuine 19th-century tools, games, books, and other artifacts.
What Teachers Say
"This trip is always very worthwhile!!! It brings history alive for the kids." -- First Grade, Runkle School, Brookline
"It was a wonderful way to integrate our curricula both visually and experientially." -- Fifth Grade, Jackson School, Newton
"I really appreciate both the content of the program and [the] responsive manner with the children." -- Third Grade, Northfield (MA) Elementary
"A wonderful program enjoyed by children, their parents and me! We all learned so much!" -- Third Grade, Bowen School, Newton
Scheduling a Visit
Pricing and Additional Information
- For all programs except "Digging for Evidence," the fee per program is $65.00 per group of up to 30 students. These programs are free for Newton Public Schools.
- "Digging for Evidence" is $85.00 per group of up to 30 students. Newton Public Schools classrooms will be charged a $35.00 materials fee only for this program.
- There is a $25.00 fee per additional half-hour for lunch, museum time, and/or outdoor games.
- Each group should have at least four and no more than ten adult chaperones, including teachers and aides.
- Parking is available in front of the museum on Washington Street and around the corner on Jackson Road.
- Cancellations must be made at least 48 hours in advance. The full program fee will be charged if less than 48 hours notice is given.