Each year the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich hosts thousands of students and teachers at Bush-Holley House, 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!
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 email@example.com 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.
Title One 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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Art & History Camp
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.