Our Commitment to

School Programs

Each year the Greenwich Historical Society hosts thousands of students and teachers at Bush-Holley House and barn, the centerpiece of our beautiful historic site on Cos Cob Harbor.   Our interactive, inquiry-based programs give students the opportunity to creatively explore topics and sharpen their critical thinking skills. Each experience is specially designed to complement classroom teaching while providing students and teachers a memorable day full of fun and discovery. Our programs cover topics such as Colonial American history, the American Revolution, slavery in the North, the Industrial Age and the development of American Impressionism. All programs meet state curriculum standards for both Connecticut and New York.

Please contact us at 203-869-6899 to discuss how we can tailor our programs to meet your specific needs.

SARAH & HER TOWN

Online and On-Site Programs for Grades 3-4

Sarah & Her Town

Students will relive the dramatic events that shaped the lives of the members of the colonial Bush family in the Bush-Holley House, including the struggles of being a woman of the time, the lives of the enslaved and the realities of living through a revolution. On-Site Activity: Students will have the chance to learn about the games of colonial children, discover Native American folklore and make their own corn husk doll to take home in a hands-on activity session. Pre-visit activity booklet available
Download Teacher Materials

LIFE IN COLONIAL NEW ENGLAND

Online and On-Site Programs for Grades K-2

Life In Colonial New England

In this program students will begin to paint a picture of what it was like to live during Colonial New England. Through the Bush-Holley House, they will be introduced to the ideas of open hearth cooking, colonial medicine and colonial industry. On-Site Activity: Students will make their own cardboard loom and learn the art of weaving.

PATRIOTS VS. LOYALISTS: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Online and On-Site Programs fro Grades 5-8

Patriots vs. Loyalists: The American Revolution

Cast in the role of Loyalist or Patriot, students start with a tour of the Bush-Holley House to learn how the Revolutionary War affected the colonial Bush family, and see Revolution-era artifacts from our Collections presented by our Curator. Students will participate in 'secret meetings,' using primary source documents to prepare an argument and support their position. The program concludes with a lively full-class debate. Who will win: the Patriots or Loyalists?

SLAVERY IN CONNECTICUT

On-Site Programs for Grades 3-4

Slavery in Connecticut

Take a deep dive into the realities of slavery in Connecticut. Working with primary source materials in our Archives, students will view local law books, emancipation papers, runaway ads and bills of sale to deepen their understanding of what slavery in Greenwich and in Connecticut at large. In the Bush-Holley House, students will learn about the life of either Cull or Candice, two of the 15 enslaved people who were kept in captivity by the Bush family. Students will learn the daily rituals of Cull or Candice’s life, learn about their families and help preserve their legacies.
Download Teacher Materials

ASK A HISTORIAN ONLINE

Online Program for Grades K-8

Ask a Historian Online

Have a conversation with a member of the education staff about the history of Greenwich. Educators will use photographs from the collection to illustrate how Greenwich Avenue transformed from farmland to the busy street it is today, filled with restaurants, shops and government buildings. The presenter will answer pre-submitted student questions about Greenwich’s past, using primary source materials from our Collection.

MONUMENTS IN GREENWICH

Online and On-Site Programs for Grades 2-6

Monuments in Greenwich

Highlighting 15 monuments in Greenwich - from graves to plaques and from statues to parks - we will review what a monument is, who is remembered and why. For each monument, we will touch upon the lives of the people (and dog) being honored. Designed to help students notice the monuments in their hometown instead of merely walking by them, we support critical thinking about the act of remembering. Participants will be given a bingo card with all the monuments listed as a takeaway so they can tour on their own time with family and friends.

CREATE YOUR OWN IMPRESSION

Online and On-Site Programs for All Grade levels

Create Your Own Impression

In this program, students will be inspired by the beauty of the Bush-Holley House and the surrounding landscape like the many American Impressionist artists who visited the Cos Cob art colony. Young artists investigate the dynamics between art and history as they search for visual clues in the artwork to learn about life at the turn of the 20th century. Following a tour of BHH art colony rooms, students will use paint, palette and canvas to create their own Impressionist paintings.
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Meeting People in Portraits

Onsite Program for All Grade Levels

Meeting People in Portraits

In this program, students will view and discuss the collection of portraits in the Bush-Holley House. They will learn to identify artistic techniques and characteristics including pose, expression, gesture and symbolic props to help develop their interpretation of the individual. In the included workshop, students will create their own self-portrait, drawing on the techniques and symbolism they have learned.
Download Teacher Materials
Anna in classroom

Schedule your visit today.

School programs are scheduled Tuesdays‒Fridays starting at 10:00 am. Each program runs 1½ hours. Groups of up to 50 students can be accommodated at one time. One adult chaperone is required for every 10 students. Program fees are $5 per student. Teachers and adult chaperones attend programs for free. To book one of our exciting programs, call 203-869-6899. Don’t see what you are looking for? Contact Heather Lodge at hlodge@greenwichhistory.org to discuss custom programs and pricing. Please note that a custom program will need a minimum of two months preparation time to conduct research and create materials. They are also subject to additional fees.

Hamilton Avenue School Partnership

Since 2009, the Historical Society has nurtured a close partnership with Hamilton Avenue School, a Title 1 magnet school in Chickahominy, where more than half of the students are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches. The program, which includes the first through the fifth grades, gives students an opportunity to visit the Bush-Holley Historic Site each year to learn about local history, develop an appreciation for art and build a foundation for lifelong learning.

As part of the partnership, working artists and educators conduct classroom workshops at the school to further explore topics touched upon during site visits. For first- and second-graders, a tour of the Bush-Holley House helps the school meet curriculum requirements for art and history, including a trip to a museum and historic site. Third-graders study the House’s Colonial period and create quilt squares to reflect what they’ve seen and learned. Fourth-graders pay particular attention to the portraits, especially those created by Cos Cob artists, and explore what they represent before drawing and painting their own images. Fifth-graders train as junior docents, becoming experts on the portraits in a particular room, and then they help the fourth-graders relate to the paintings and the techniques used to create them. At the end of the school year, the third- through fifth-grade students and their families come to a reception at the Historic Site to see an exhibition of the students’ work and take junior-docent-led tours of the Bush-Holley House.

Witness Stones Programs

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 As part of our ongoing work toward Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEAI), Greenwich Historical Society staff has committed to the development of preservation initiatives, programming, education resources and engagement in thoughtful discussion with stakeholders inside and outside of our organization.

An important part of this work is our partnership with the Witness Stones Project, a registered non-profit that seeks to restore the history and honor the humanity and contributions of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities. 

The Witness Stones project brings students, teachers and local historians together to learn, research and celebrate the lives of enslaved people where they lived and worked. Records show that at least fifteen enslaved people have lived and worked at the Bush-Holley House site in Cos Cob.

The Greenwich Historical Society began its Witness Stones Project with Sacred Heart Academy in the fall of 2019. Middle-school students were assigned Cull and Candice, who were enslaved by the Bush family in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Students studied original documents in our library and archives collections and took a tour of the Bush-Holley House, focusing on Cull and Candice’s experiences.

The culmination of the Project, postponed due to COVID-19, will be a public ceremony when students and community members will come together to install commemorative Witness Stones and share their findings in May 2021. These plaques, traditionally installed at the known residences, places of worship or graves of enslaved persons, serve as a permanent public reminder of lives lived in slavery in our community. This academic year Greenwich Academy and Greenwich High School have joined the Witness Stones Project.

Together, students from these schools will study the lives of Patience, Cull Jr, and Hester Bush. We are hopeful that the final ceremony with our three participating schools will take place outside in spring 2020 when five plaques for Cull, Candice, Patience, Cull Jr. and Hester will be placed near the interpreted slave quarters on the Bush-Holley site in a public ceremony to commemorate and honor their lives and contributions to Greenwich.

Understanding the lived experiences of all Greenwich residents through our exhibitions and education programs is a commitment we have made at the Greenwich Historical Society. We know we cannot tell these stories ourselves. They will come from a rich diversity of experience, voices and objects. Through the Witness Stones Project, our interpretation will continue to evolve with new research as we strive to authentically recreate for our visitors a realistic understanding of what life was like for all members of the Bush household.


We welcome the Greenwich community to be part of this exciting new project. For information on the Witness Stones Project or to learn more about DEAI initiatives, contact Heather Lodge, hlodge@greenwichhistory.org.

Scout Programs

We host after-school programs including badge workshops for scouts. Our educators are familiar with badge requirements for all levels of both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Vacation Programs

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Art & History Camp

Our beloved Ary & History Summer Camp uses Bush-Holley House and our staff, Collections and Archives to offer 2nd-8th graders a highly interactive summer experience with a wide variety of activities focusing on history and art.

More on Education

Education is core to our mission. Every year the Greenwich Historical Society interacts with thousands of students and teachers: all third graders in Greenwich Public Schools, most local independent schools, and school groups from neighboring towns in Connecticut and New York visit every year for interactive, inquiry-based programs that meet curriculum standards and complement classroom teaching.

Our team of professional educators works with teachers to develop lessons that uniquely fit their goals, using primary source documents and collections housed in our library, archives and museum. We conduct professional development programs for teachers who take tours of Bush-Holley House and current exhibitions and get behind-the-scenes looks at our collections. We demonstrate how primary sources documents, objects and artwork can be incorporated into research projects and classroom discussions.

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