School Group Programs

Historic Newton offers programs for student groups at the Jackson Homestead and Museum and at the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds. Our programs for grades pre-K to 12 provide an opportunity for students 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.

The programs listed below are available throughout the year. We are also happy to work with you to develop a custom program that meets your curriculum goals and students' interests. Contact Hannah Weisman at the Jackson Homestead and Museum ( or 617-796-1463) or Sarah Cole at the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds ( or 617-641-9142) to discuss content and scheduling for custom programs.

Programs at the Jackson Homestead and Museum

TOPIC I: Journey on the Underground Railroad

Journey on the Underground Railroad
(Grades K-5, 60 minutes,
Visit Guide

Journey on the Underground Railroad with primary source activity
(Grades 6-12, 60 minutes,
Visit Guide)

Engage the minds and imaginations of learners of all ages and discover what really happened on the Underground Railroad. Come to Historic Newton’s Jackson Homestead and Museum—tour the house where the Jackson family took in people escaping from slavery, act out a trial under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, hear stories and try hands-on activities—all to experience what life was like for enslaved people in the United States.

Test your knowledge of the Underground Railroad with our online quiz!


These programs were developed with funding from the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

TOPIC II: Native American History
Native American History and Culture
Penobscot Indian ball and triangle game. (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.
Students will play Native American games, learn about native plants and their uses, handle tools and natural materials, and make their own game to take home.

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 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, and artifacts 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.

Programs at the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds

TOPIC I: Life in the Colonial Era

Colonial Life in Newton
(Grades 2 and up, 90 minutes)
Our program uses the full breadth of our unique site to give students a variety of perspectives on life in the 18th century. Inside the house three reproduction rooms show the tools and furnishings of the late colonial period, while the outdoor grounds and gardens allow students to put their hands on period-style tools. In the museum classroom students play a game in which they form households and barter with one another to ensure that their family has adequate food and fuel to make it through the year. 

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

Jackson Homestead and Museum
Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds

Pricing and Additional Information

  • Beginning on September 1, 2014, school programs are $3 per student. Parent chaperones and school faculty and staff are admitted free. Groups from Newton Public Schools are admitted free. Contact Hannah Weisman at 617-796-1463 at the Jackson Homestead or Sarah Cole at 617-641-9142 at the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds for pricing if you would like to schedule a group visit before September 1.
  • Groups participating in "Digging for Evidence" will be charged a $30 materials fee. Newton Public Schools are also charged the materials fee.
  • There is a $30.00 fee per additional half-hour for lunch, museum time, and/or outdoor games.
  • Each group should have at least one adult for every 6 students.
  • 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.