Third through Fifth Grade

Bennington Museum offers several programs designed to meet the needs of students and teachers in the elementary grades. 

General Tour

Available at the Museum only
Adaptable for any age
Locations: Church Gallery; Center Gallery; Vermont Decorative Arts Gallery; Bennington Pottery Gallery; Flag Gallery; Changing Exhibitions; Wasp Gallery; Moses Gallery; Bennington Battle Gallery

Discover the three most important jobs of a museum through a guided tour of our galleries. The program starts with a discussion about what museums do, leading students to the conclusion that the three main jobs of a museum are:

  • to collect
  • to preserve
  • and to educate

Throughout the tour, our museum educator encourages students to look for the ways in which Bennington Museum achieves these goals. At the end of the tour, we review what we’ve learned and use the information about what the museum collects to decide what kind of museum Bennington Museum is.

The General Tour is highly adaptable and can be adjusted to highlight a topic of your choosing. Please mention your specific interests when you book your program, so we can be sure our museum educators are well-prepared.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials

 The Art of Grandma Moses

Available at the Museum only
Recommended for Grades K through 6
Locations: Grandma Moses Gallery; Grandma Moses Schoolhouse

See the paintings of Grandma Moses, America’s most famous folk artist, and learn about her life and art. The program begins with a visit to the Grandma Moses Gallery, where students see paintings, yarn-work, and belongings of Moses and begin to learn about the type of work she did. There they also learn about the life of this artist through stories and photographs. Next we bring the group to the Grandma Moses Schoolhouse to learn about how she made her paintings. Working in small groups, the students use felt boards to create a Moses-style piece of art, which they then present to the class, focusing on how the paintings tell a story. Through this activity, they learn about art concepts such as perspective and foreground/middle ground/background. This program is highly adaptable for a wide age range.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials  

Going to School

Available at the Museum or as a Rentable Kit
Recommended for Grades 2 through 5
Locations: Grandma Moses Schoolhouse and/or Paresky Education Center

Find out what it was like to go to school in the 1800s. At the museum, students begin by exploring our recreation of an early 19th-century schoolhouse (in the Grandma Moses Schoolhouse) and looking for similarities and differences between it and their own classrooms and schools. Our museum educator leads a discussion about 19th-century education using the students’ own observations as a guide. Throughout the course of the discussion, students participate in learning by rote, “making their manners,” and may become subject to the dunce cap. The program ends with a final lesson in penmanship as the students practice writing with quill and ink. For those students completing the project early, we are prepared with letter-making or story-telling games, depending on the grade level.

This program is also available as a rentable kit. The kit contains most of the materials that are used in the on-site program as well as background information and activity suggestions.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials  

Bennington’s First Settlers:
From a Wilderness to a Town

Available at the Museum only
Recommended for Grades 3 through 5
Locations: Grandma Moses Schoolhouse; Center Gallery; Vermont Decorative Arts Gallery; Pottery Gallery

 

Learn about the early history of Bennington while visiting several galleries in the museum. Students must listen carefully for information about important people, places, and things in order to complete their “Who Am I?” cards, starting at the very beginning with Bennington’s 1749 charter. Our museum educator leads them through land disputes with New York, the formation of the Green Mountain Boys, and the accomplishments of some of the first residents of the town. They learn about some of the important industries in early Bennington, including furniture making and pottery, and then apply what they have learned to the creation of their own towns. The students work in small groups using wooden buildings to assemble their towns. The program culminates with the student presentations of their towns, during which they explain how their towns got their names, and what their important industries and structures are.

Learn about the early history of Bennington while visiting several galleries in the museum. Students must listen carefully for information about important people, places, and things in order to complete their “Who Am I?” cards, starting at the very beginning with Bennington’s 1749 charter. Our museum educator leads them through land disputes with New York, the formation of the Green Mountain Boys, and the accomplishments of some of the first residents of the town. They learn about some of the important industries in early Bennington, including furniture making and pottery, and then apply what they have learned to the creation of their own towns. The students work in small groups using wooden buildings to assemble their towns. The program culminates with the student presentations of their towns, during which they explain how their towns got their names, and what their important industries and structures are.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials 

Crafts and Trades

Available at the Museum only
Recommended for Grades 3 through 6
Locations: Paresky Education Center

 

This program begins with a museum educator-led conversation with students about what types of jobs they might have in the future and what types of tools they will need to complete those jobs. Next we help students “travel back in time” to the 19th-century to think about how people’s daily lives and the technologies available to them differed from our own. Students then participate in a puzzle-game. When each puzzle is complete, the students will find themselves in groups of three with the name of a job, a tool, and a finished product in their hands. They then look for and handle authentic artifacts matching the items in their puzzles. We use the objects to facilitate a conversation about how jobs were done and how they were learned, either via the apprentice system or through growing up on a farm and learning the many tasks families did for themselves.

About half of the program is spent in the hands-on exploration of three jobs of the 19th-century. Students enjoy carding wool, making punched tin designs, and churning (and then tasting) butter.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials 

Health Care, 1777

Available at the Museum or as an Outreach
Recommended for Grades 3 through 8
Locations: Grandma Moses Schoolhouse or Paresky Education Center

Students will gain a healthy appreciation for modern-day medical and dental practices when they learn about those of the 1770s!  The program starts with a discussion of hygiene – what it means and how we practice it – followed by a presentation of some of the theories and practices of 18th-century hygiene. This leads into an explanation and demonstration of dental practices during this time period, after which we discuss medical theories and the seemingly outrageous remedies they led to. This program elicits plenty of “Ew” and “Gross,” but also teaches the reality of medical care in the 1770s, the hazards of being a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and demonstrates the massive advances in medical care that have come in the past 250 years.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials 

Our Flag

Available at the Museum, as an Outreach, or as a Rentable Kit
Recommended for Grades 3 through 8
Locations: Flag Gallery; Paresky Education Center

Using reproductions of historic American flags, our museum educator takes students on a journey through the nation’s history, beginning in Colonial times and ending today. Along the way, students look for the meanings behind the symbols we see in our flag over time, and how those symbols tell the tale of a growing nation. Next, students create their own flags on paper – flags that stand as symbols of themselves. They are asked to think about what is important to them, what they wish to show about themselves via their flag, and how they will use symbols to convey those ideas. Great for younger students learning about national symbols and for older students learning about the Revolutionary War.

Vermont Learning Standards
Before Your Program
After Your Program 

Made in Vermont

Available as an Outreach only
Recommended for Grades 3 through 12

In 1760, prior to settlement, Vermont was 100% wilderness.  By 1800, it was only 30% wilderness, and human activity had changed the environment so much that once-plentiful animals were now absent from the state and even the temperatures were higher.  This program investigates how the environment impacts the activities of human industry, and, in turn, how those industries impact the environment. After an introductory discussion about what is meant by industry and its pros and cons, small groups of students are assigned one of the six geophysical regions of Vermont and given information about their region’s natural resources and limitations. They are then charged with determining what they can do in their region in order to make money. Will agriculture work out, or will they have to turn to other industries? Once students have generated a list of possible industries, they are then asked to think about what impacts their choices will have on the environment. Finally, we discuss how Vermont went from 30% wilderness in 1800 to 70% now, and how industries including tourism helped move that change forward.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials  

Mystery Artifacts

Available as an Outreach or a Rentable Kit
Recommended for Grades 4 through 12

Using actual artifacts, we challenge students to use their own background knowledge, observations, and, most importantly, context clues to determine the possible uses of an unknown object. A brief introduction explains what makes an object an artifact and how those who study artifacts look for clues to their uses. Small groups of students are then given an item to explore in-depth. They look for important characteristics including design, texture, motion, and materials, to help them make a hypothesis about the object’s use. They are encouraged to challenge each other’s ideas with questions and critical thinking, as modeled by the feedback from our museum educator. Additional context clues lead the students ever-closer to the object’s actual use. Finally, the museum educator explains the thought processes of each group and brings the students to a final conclusion about each object, revealing its actual use.

Vermont Learning Standards
Common Core Standards 
Before Your Program 
During Your Program
After Your Program 

People and Places Walking Tour

Available at the Museum only
Outdoor Tour; Available April through October
Recommended for Grades 3 through 12
Locations: Bennington Center Cemetery, Monument Avenue, Bennington Battle Monument

Discover the people and places of Bennington’s history as you make your way to the Battle Monument’s impressive view. The tour includes the Bennington Center Cemetery, where poet Robert Frost, soldiers from the Battle of Bennington, and many of Bennington’s earliest settlers are buried; a walk up Monument Avenue, stopping at the site of the Catamount Tavern and other landmarks; and a visit to the Bennington Battle Monument, where students take a ride in the elevator and have the opportunity to learn about the Monument’s construction and history. Along the way, we encourage active listening by having the students complete fill-in-the-blank worksheets about what they hear and see. Be sure students wear comfortable walking shoes and are dressed for the weather. Contact us in advance to make accommodations for any participants who are unable to make the tour on foot. We do not recommend this tour for students younger than Grade 3.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials

The Civil War Soldier

Available at the Museum only
Recommended for Grades 5 through 12
Locations: Changing Exhibitions Galleries; Paresky Education Center

Follow the Civil War journey of Bennington native, Nelson O. Wilcox, a drummer in Vermont’s 4th Regiment of Volunteers. Nelson entered service at the age of 14 and served through numerous battles. Using reproduction Civil War artifacts, as well as photographs and maps from the museum’s collection, we tell his story, which is also the story of many a Vermonter. From May 25 through October 27, 2013 the program will bring students through a temporary exhibit about Vermont’s role in the Civil War, featuring numerous artifacts and documents that are rarely on display. Recommended reading: Mr. Lincoln’s Drummer by G. Clifton Wisler.

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials 

Gravestone Stories

Available at the Museum only
Outdoor Program; Available April through October
Recommended for Grades 5 through 12
Locations: Hadwen Pavilion; Bennington Center Cemetery

What can we learn about a person by looking at his or her gravestone? Students use the Bennington Center Cemetery as a resource to see what they can find out. The program starts in the Hadwen Pavilion, where students brainstorm about the types of information they might find in the cemetery. Our museum educator then explains how changes in the designs found on gravestones reflect changes in the way society thought about religion, death, and the afterlife. In the cemetery, students work in pairs or small groups to select and thoroughly document a single stone. They learn that they can often supplement the information on a particular stone with information found on nearby stones. In our wrap-up discussion, students often find connections among burials and are also able to use the information they collected to create a picture of the life of an individual. 

Vermont Learning Standards
Pre and Post Visit Materials

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