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

Life in Colonial New England

Recommended for grades K–2
Students experience how early New England colonists lived, worked and entertained themselves on an interactive tour of the c.1730 Bush-Holley House, combined with a lively session of hands-on discovery featuring colonial costumes and games.

Click here to download teacher materials.

Sarah and Her Town

Recommended for grades 3 – 4
Students relive the dramatic events that shaped the lives of the members of the colonial Bush family in the Bush-Holley House. Using reproduction objects, students become history detectives to determine the identity of historic artifacts that Sarah Bush and her family likely used. Pre-visit activity booklet available. 

Click here to download teacher materials.

Patriots vs. Loyalists: The American Revolution

Recommended for grades 5 – 8
Cast in the role of Loyalist or Patriot, students debate the issues and events that led to the start of the American Revolution. They visit the Bush-Holley House to learn how the Revolution affected the colonial Bush family. Then students participate in secret meetings using primary source documents to prepare an argument to support their position. A curator’s presentation of Revolutionary War artifacts is also included. The program concludes with a lively full-class debate.

Click here to download teacher materials.

Create Your Own Impression

All Grades
Students are inspired by the beauty of Bush-Holley House and the surrounding landscape like many American Impressionist artists who visited the site. They 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 century. Following a tour of the art colony rooms, students use paint, palette and canvas to create their own Impressionist painting.

Click here to download teacher materials.

Meeting People in Portraits

All Grades
Students view and discuss the collection of portraits in the Bush-Holley House. Afterward they will identify artistic techniques and characteristics including pose, expression, gesture and symbolic props to develop their interpretation of the individual. Students will then work in groups to write an interview involving one of the subjects.

Click here to download teacher materials

Schedule Your Visit Today

School programs are scheduled Tuesdays–Fridays starting at 10:00 am and 12:00 noon. 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.

Hamilton Avenue School Partnership


Since 2009, the Historical Society has nurtured a close partnership with Hamilton Avenue School, a Title One 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 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 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 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 Bush-Holley House.

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Reservations are required for the galleries.
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