Ever wondered what life was like for sailors aboard Christopher Columbus’s ships? Or what it would sound like if you were in the middle of a Civil War naval battle? Every year, thousands of students discover the answers to these and many other questions while visiting The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
The Mariners’ Museum is one of the largest maritime museums in the world and has been designated by Congress as America’s National Maritime Museum. For over 75 years, The Mariners’ has illustrated the spirit of seafaring adventure, assembling a renowned and strikingly diverse collection of more than 35,000 maritime artifacts.
And while groups can explore The Mariners’ Museum galleries using customized scavenger hunts, The Mariners’ Museum also offers engaging, hands-on, cross-curricular educational experiences that bring history, science and language arts to life and are designed to enhance and supplement classroom instruction. Popular program topics include “Age of Exploration, Hurricanes: Predicting Disaster,” “Clash of Armor: The Battle of the USS Monitor” and “CSS Virginia, Captive Passage: Investigating the Transatlantic Slave Trade,” “Titanic,” “Anansi and other African Tales,” “Pirates” and much more. These engaging programs are for grades pre-K – 12 and are designed to meet state and national learning standards and the Common Core.
In addition to the vast gallery collection and exciting educational programming, student groups can enjoy the museum’s 550-acre park, the nation’s largest privately maintained park that is free and open to the public. Rolling woodlands, the 167-acre Lake Maury and the five-mile Noland Trail make the Mariners’ Museum Park a true urban oasis. After your visit to the museum, your group can go for a hike or have a picnic lunch overlooking the James River.
For those unable to physically travel to The Mariners’ Museum, virtual field trips are the next best thing. To visit virtually, all you need is an Internet connection, a streaming device and a means to show the content to your students. Imagine your students sitting in their classrooms interacting with an expert on the Age of Exploration while passing around the spices that fueled the European quest for a route to Asia, all while discovering for themselves the impact this era had on our modern society. Or, how about your students learning about the science of hurricanes and then participating in a hurricane tracking exercise where they predict when and where it will make landfall. Or perhaps having your students make a musical instrument as they discover and participate in an African storytelling program. These are just a few of the programs offered both at The Mariners’ Museum and in your classroom through the museum’s award-winning Interactive Video Conferencing.
Located in Newport News, Virginia, the museum is just 20 minutes from the historic triangle of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg and offers your students a great day-trip opportunity. For information, visit www.marinersmuseum.org.
Arkansas State University
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