School Programs

School Programs

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.

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.

On-Site Programs for Grades K-2

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. 

Online Program for grades k-8

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 transformed from farmland to the busy town 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.

Online & AT SCHOOL Programs for Grades 2-6

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.

Online Program for grades 3-4

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. 

Online & On-Site Programs for Grades 5-8

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?

On-SITE Program for grades 6-12

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.

On-Site Programs for all grades

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.

Onsite Program for all grades

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.

Schedule your visit today.

School programs are scheduled Monday‒Fridays starting at 9:30 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 $6 per student. Teachers and adult chaperones attend programs for free. 

We are happy to work with you curriculum goals to develop programming for students. Contact us to discuss custom programs and pricing.  Please note that a custom programs will need additional preparation time to conduct research and create materials, and will be subject to additional fees.