Washington, DC Illuminated Tour

A trip with your students to the Washington DC area is an adventure they will never forget. The best part of our Washington DC tour is when the sun sets and the entire city is quiet. The illuminated tour of the memorials and monuments makes the rich history of Washington DC seem more personal. The tour starts with the tribute to the soldiers of the Vietnam War. The Memorial Wall is etched with 58,318 names.  There are 1,200 names that are listed as missing (MIA) from the War never to be heard from again. Another dedication to the Vietnam memorial is the bronze statue of The Three Servicemen which depicts the three troops mourning the deaths of their fellow comrades. The third memorial to the Vietnam War is the Women’s Memorial which shows three nurses aiding a fellow solider and the dedication in their service.

Just past the Vietnam Memorial is the Lincoln Memorial which honors the 16th President of the United States. President Lincoln laid the foundation towards ending  slavery in the Southern states plus restoring the economy and revamping our government. Walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, reminds you of the famous speech “I Have a Dream” given by the courageous and fearless leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. one hundred years later. Overlooking the Lincoln Memorial is the Reflecting Pool which has been filmed in several movies where you can relive the scene from the movie “Forest Gump” when Jenny runs in the reflecting pool towards Forest or from “Planet of the Apes” when Captain Leo lands his plane in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

From the Lincoln Memorial, you will then find yourself surrounded by the statues of troops from the Korean War depicting the war when North Korea invaded South Korea with the United States came to the aid of South Korea. Sounds eerily familiar to current events. Doesn’t it? The 19 stainless steel statues depict all the branches of the United States military forces which include the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. The mural wall adjacent to the statues, is made from granite and portrays the photographs that were captured during the Korean War.

The next stop on the tour is the memorial dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. who was the leader of the Civil Rights movement. He was the voice for the African American community which endured racial discrimination and segregation.  Mr. King based his principles of non-violent resistance from Gandhi who was known for his idea of winning “hate with love”.  Mr. King continued the work of equality which was started by Abraham Lincoln in giving his famous  speech “I Have a Dream” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on October 16, 1963. The Stone of Hope at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial is a portrait of Mr. King carved into a granite statue. Surrounding his statue, is fourteen quotes from either King’s speeches, sermons or writings. Reading each quote displayed on the wall, you can feel the pain and hardship for equal rights during that time period which is  still ongoing today.

After the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, you continue on to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in honor of our 32nd President. Roosevelt was rated as one of the top US presidents of all time as he guided the government during the Great Depression. He also aided Britain and China against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, he then declared war on Japan and Nazi Germany. He united our country in this dark era.  He spearheaded the Social Security Act which provided monetary security for the elderly still in existence today. The Roosevelt Memorial consists of a variety of sculptures to depict his life. There is a statue of Roosevelt along with his dog “Fala”,  and another of the first lady Mrs. Roosevelt,  honoring her dedication to the United Nations, and another statue of people standing in line for bread to portray the Great Depression. The designers of the Roosevelt Memorial made sure it was accessible to the disabled as President Roosevelt lost his legs due to polio during his childhood.

Then it’s a short drive to the next memorial which honors the fallen soldiers of World War II. The World War II Memorial is located between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.  The Memorial is a tribute to the over 400,000 American soldiers who sacrificed their lives during this War. At the center of the memorial is an oval shaped fountain surrounded by 56 pillars representing, at that time, the nation’s 48 states, 7 federal territories and the District of Columbia. The northern entrance arch is engraved with “Atlantic” symbolizing the war against Nazi Germany while the southern entrance arch is engraves with “Pacific” symbolling the war against Japan. The Freedom Wall embellishes 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war.

The tallest monument in the district is the  Washington Monument which honors our 1st President of the United States, George Washington. Before becoming President, Washington’s leadership secured American independence during the Revolution against Great Britain. His great leadership skills is the reason why he was so popular and elected president. President Washington helped forge the foundation of our nation.  He was  actively involved with the setup of our federal government that is in use more than 230 years later.  Things such as the cabinet system, the inaugural address,  plus the term Mr. President. He was also the first to sign the Constitution in 1789. George Washington will always be known as the “father of our country” as he helped the pathway for our country to follow.

The illuminated tour will open up your students eyes and bring history alive to them!

Educational Student Trip to New York City

 

The very first question that the amazing tour directors at Educational Travel Consultants are asked when they arrive in New York City is, why did New York City decide to name one of its major cities after the state? Well, our guides always have the answer. In 1664, New York was named by the British in honor if the Duke of York and Albany.  He was the brother of the famous King Charles II. After New Amsterdam was taken away from the Dutch, New York City became the name of this major city. One of the most popular areas in New York City is Times Square. There is always time allotted for our groups to discover Times Square in all of Educational Travel Consultants itineraries, for groups that want it. With the flashy billboards and neon lights, there is no better place to be. Educational Travel Consultants also offers a guided tour of the city, and of course, a chance to experience Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Along with these amazing attractions, the group gets to experience a world renowned Broadway Musical! We are happy to customize a trip to your specific needs and wants. Educational Travel Consultants will provide  your students an  experience of a lifetime. We know that that a majority of your children  will only experience this exciting adventure once in their lives! Educational Travel Consultants is here to make your trip plans reality.

The Presidential Inauguration

                      Blog Picture for Inauguration                      The Presidential Inauguration is a ceremony that dates back to George Washington. Did you know that inauguration day wasn’t always on January 20th? It used to be held on March 4th. So, why the long wait? Well, back before all the technological wonders of today, it used to take a tremendous amount of time for the President Elect to get his administration together. Once it was discovered that it would no longer take as long, America decided on a new date, which is the one we use today. And, not all inaugurations since the change have actually been on January 20th. President Barack Obama was sworn in as our President on January 21st, 2013. This is because the 20th fell on a Sunday.

The inauguration procedure is based more on tradition than the constitution. The Constitution only states that the President must take the oath of office. The oath is the very first thing that happens on inauguration day. Though it is not the President’s. Before the President Elect is sworn in the Vice President elect must be sworn in. Then, the President is sworn in. After all the oaths are taken, the new President will address the nation. As the former President exits the White House, the new President has an inaugural luncheon, followed by the famous Inaugural Parade. The very last thing that happens on the day of inauguration is the Inaugural ball.

This year, this historical day falls on a Friday. This is the day that we, as Americans, welcome Donald J. Trump as our 45th President. This will be a very educational day, which only comes once every four years. Here at Educational Travel Consultants, we have several groups attending the inauguration. We always get great feedback, the wonder in a child’s eye as they watch hope and dreams come true as the President is sworn in to do the most amazing job in the world is. Every Inauguration is different, but very important. For the schools that are attending the 2017 inauguration, seem to be excited and hopeful for their trip.

Happy Traveling!

ETC Team
Educational Travel Consultants
(P)828-693-0412
(F) 828-693-1591
(TF) 800-247-7969
www.educationaltravelconsultants.com

 

Brooklyn Street Art Tours for Students

Traveling to New York City to see the magnificent street art is a great experience for students who enjoy art. Add to that, the city lights and diverse cultures, this is a trip to remember. New York City thrives on individuality and creativity. From the awe-inspiring Broadway shows to Central Park where artists are as common as blades of grass, New York City is the place to travel to for inspiration and stimulation. Whereas in other big cities graffiti is looked at in a negative light, NYC broadcasts the beautiful art as a part of their heritage and culture. Graffiti started as early as ancient Rome, but the Urban Graffiti style started in New York City in the late 1960s. Brooklyn Street Art Tours are the newest trend to get students out of the traditional art show setting and into the heart of the city to experience the culture of the people who dwell there.

The Brooklyn Street art tour that is offered by Educational Travel Consultants provides an inside look at the various graffiti art and artists. Students will take a walking tour through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, including Bushwick and Williamsburg. What is great about this particular tour is that no two will be alike. With the ever-changing skyline of New York and the influx of graffiti artists to the area, new “canvases” are being unveiled daily. Your students will experience the dizzying collections of urban images that give testament to the vibrant culture that makes New York City a true melting pot of the world. Please contact one of our representatives or visit our website to book a Brooklyn Street Art tour with Education Travel Consultants.

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Student Travel Ideas: Celebrated American Writers from Philadelphia

by Howard Clemens

For student travel groups headed to Philadelphia, an historic tour is not complete without visiting the historic homes of famous American writers who lived there and penned their work there. A trip to a writer’s home provides a window into his domestic life, and the homes are well-preserved or restored. Teachers interested in creating a blended learning experience can have their students can read the works of these Celebrated authors as preparation for the trip.

Edgar Allen Poe, Ben Franklin and James Michener all lived in Philadelphia at some point in their writing careers. Poe was originally from Richmond, Virginia. He relocated his wife and mother to Philadelphia to assume editorial positions at literary magazines. Ben Franklin grew up in Boston. He took ship to Philadelphia to escape the tutelage of his father. Franklin would found his own printing press and purchase a newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. He wrote many articles for this publication under various pseudonyms. He is well known for The Autobiography of Ben Franklin, which is his mythologized version of his trip to Philadelphia as a young man. Franklin is also known for Poor Richard’s Almanack, where his memorable phrases about life were recorded. James Michener is a celebrated American writer who penned non-fiction, historical novels about the U.S. He is best known for Centennial, Chesapeake and Alaska.

The Poe House, Philadelphia PA
Student tours of Philadelphia should include a look at the Poe House, at 7th and Spring Garden Streets. The only weekday this National Historic Site is open is Friday, so plan itineraries accordingly. Take advantage of a Ranger led tour of Poe’s home. Choose from “Poe’s Life, Literature and Legacy” or “Poe in Philadelphia.” The six years Poe spent living in Philadelphia were some of his most productive. He wrote the short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” in Philadelphia and was employed as an editor and a critic. Poe’s influence reached European writers. His literary achievements include writing the first detective story and pioneering science fiction, by looking towards the future based on new technologies. Student trips can explore Poe’s reading room and the parlor, where his desk was located, as well as his bedroom and the basement. There is a replica of an air balloon students can launch – and more interactive exhibits.

Ben Franklin: The quintessential Philadelphian
Not only was Benjamin Franklin an inquisitive writer, a printer, a legislator and diplomat – but he was also a scientific genius. Franklin experimented with electricity and other new phenomenon that characterized the Early American era in which he lived. In high school history class, students are taught Ben Franklin was one of the founding signors of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Yet there is so much more beneath the surface of this fascinating figure. Franklin ran away from an overbearing father in Boston, and elevated himself to a prominent life in Philadelphia. He escalated his visibility using a printing press and a pen that rivals Mark Twain’s sarcasm. Franklin wrote under numerous pseudonyms in his day. The Benjamin Franklin Museum located in Franklin Court, with entrances on 3rd and 4th Street. A visit here is the best way a student travel group can become acquainted with his life and work as a statesman, printer and scientist. Though Franklin’s old residence is no longer standing, an outline of the old building remains. This is also known as the ‘ghost house’ in Franklin court.

James Michener: The Cultured Philadelphian
Born in New York City, Michener’s family moved to Doylestown, Pennsylvania when he was a child. He left at the age of 20 and hitchhiked cross country. Michener returned to study at Swarthmore College, where he graduated with highest honors. Michener is known for his historical fiction about the United States, tracing the land’s beginnings as far back as scientific evidence and the imagination can conceive. Some of his best known works include: Chesapeake, Alaska and Centennial. Michener’s writing career was etched in stone when he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, Tales of the South Pacific (1947). This was later turned into a wildly popular Broadway Musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein and abbreviated to South Pacific. Student tours will want to see the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Michener funded the museum for his beloved Doylestown, where he maintained a foothold and a residence.

Student trips to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offer many opportunities for English, History and Social Studies students. Places such as the Edgar Allen Poe house (and basement), the ghost of Benjamin Franklin’s home (and Museum) and the James A. Michener Art Museum are only a sampling of many famous writers and thinkers who lived and worked in the Philadelphia area. Students may continue to engage in studies of these notable figures that changed the American Cultural landscape forever.

For more information on scheduling a student tour of Philadelphia that includes a visit to some or all of these sites, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Opens in D.C.

by Howard Clemens

Point of Pines Slave Cabin Prior to the Dismantling Process
Point of Pines Slave Cabin Prior to the Dismantling Process

A brand new Smithsonian Museum will be a desirable attraction for student travel groups. It is situated prominently on the Mall in Washington D.C. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will open on September 24, 2016 to much fanfare, and includes a welcoming speech by President Barack Obama. An outdoor music festival will accompany the opening on September 23, 24 & 25. The new museum has a contemporary and memorable architecture, created by David Adjaye, an internationally known architect from Ghana, Africa.

Student travel companies will want to schedule student trips headed for Washington D.C. a timed group entry to the museum well ahead of time. After the official opening, it is sure to become a popular item on the itinerary for student group travel. The NMAAHC provides special tours and education programs for school groups of various ages.

Period slave photograph
Period slave photograph

There are plenty of reasons to add the National Museum of African American History and Culture to a student travel itinerary. First, the museum’s collection crosses curriculums, appealing to the art, history and social studies student. Second, the Museum draws an accurate picture of the long and tormented history of the African-American, highlighting the most famous figures. From enslavement to freedom to the civil rights movement and the reclamation movement, the unique challenges of the African-American are covered. Many famous leading African Americans are celebrated, giving students an opportunity to learn more about the specifics of the fight for freedom.

The architect, David Adjaye, conceived of the bronze webbed design. The outer form that he evokes is a common motif seen on top of ceremonial and sacred places in West and Central Africa. When light strikes the building, it filters through the webbed design to the interior spaces, giving the visitor a unique display. Adjaye made sure that the windows inside the Museum would offer a view of the major monuments on the Mall, including the Washington Monument.

student trips washington dc
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture Architectural Photrography

While researching the history of the building, Adjaye found the very center of the NMAAHC gallery used to be a slave market. So he designed a large circular window overlooking the floor where slave owners viewed the men and women below. Several galleries are housed in the basement levels, giving student travelers a glimpse deep into African Americans beginnings – in a cryptic and darkened environment. As the student groups ascend to different floors, history marches onward to the present.

This Museum has been in the works since 2003. Lonnie G. Bunch, III was the original founding director. Bunch had amassed a significant collection of African-American artifacts and wanted a place to display them and educate Americans about a painful part of U.S. history. Some of his signature artifacts are photographed and available online. Teachers may want to introduce students to the NMAAHC by viewing some of these.

The galleries are separated according to themes and topics of interest to all Americans. A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond offers a window into the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Cultural Expressions, Musical Crossroads, Taking the Stage and Visual Arts and the American Experience highlight famous African American artists and performers and will be of interest to the art, music and theater arts student. Sports: Leveling the Playing Field showcases the best African-American athletes and the history of a long struggle to compete with white Americans. Slavery and Freedom, Power of Place and Making a Way Out of No Way are collections that speak to the struggle to unite African heritage and American identity while experiencing the harshness of survival.

For many student travelers an actual visit to the NMAAHC will be an eye opening experience that offers the African-American perspective on many important topics. Clearly a great deal of intelligence, thoughtfulness and expert planning went into the execution of the newest, and 19th of the Smithsonian Museums. Trip leaders and teachers interested in taking a class trip to Washington D.C. and want to include a timed entry pass for their group may contact info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote.

Student Trips to NYC: Try a a Behind-the-Scenes Workshop About Broadway Acting, Singing and Staging

by Howard Clemens

Theater arts, dance and music students are fascinated with Broadway Theater in New York City. Many take class trips to New York City to experience the theater district, take in a Broadway Musical or two, and eat in New York City restaurants and delicatessens. How many student groups on a NYC tour have also considered a Broadway Workshop? These workshops are designed to enhance acting skills and help students develop a greater understanding of one of the highest and most demanding levels achieved in the acting profession – Broadway acting.

Not too long ago, High School Musical was all the rage for students with acting aspirations. Once it was Wicked and The Lion King, drawing large audiences. Now it is Hamilton that is hot – and tickets hard to obtain. Behind the scenes Broadway Workshops keep up with what is trending on Broadway in some fun and extraordinary ways. The workshops are applicable to theater arts and inspire students to probe deeper into Broadway Musicals. At the same time these learning experiences show the hard and constant daily effort that goes into making sure all parts of the Broadway show work in concert.

Many trip leaders opt for the Broadway Rehearsal or Choir Workshop. The score from the musical the student group will attend is used, making the experience of seeing a Broadway musical more familiar. Students learn about choreography, staging and music from a cast member and a musical director. Choir Workshops focus on learning the vocal score of the musical.

There are other workshops to engage the young actor or actress, including a useful one for every aspiring actor – The Audition Workshop. Then there’s the Improv Workshop, Stage Combat and the Make Up Workshop for students who want to jump right into the action.

For teachers who want student groups to meet real Broadway Actors, Meet the Artist Q & A will be an excellent workshop to do so. Students meet the Broadway actor or actress in a rehearsal studio. Here the group can ask questions about life on Broadway in a private session with the artist, at a show which they may attend later. This is a great way for students to gain insights about life in New York City and the day-to-day demands and scheduling of a Broadway actor or actress.

For the student who already knows how hectic it can be backstage, the Broadway Quick Change workshop may be a great way to learn some tips from the experts. Student tour groups will see how the professionals change costumes quickly and effortlessly. A real Broadway actor will demonstrate a quick change and students will be invited to try it. Students will learn the importance of this skill for the acting profession – where space is often tight and several actors must change in a short period.

As mentioned earlier, Hamilton is now the hit Broadway Musical most theater art students will be familiar with already. The star of the show is loosely based on the historical Alexander Hamilton, a Cuban orphan who came to New York City penniless and emerged as a top writer and revolutionary of his day. The story is told in hip-hop style so students can relate if this is their preference in music. Trip leaders can either select a Hamilton Meet the Artist workshop, where students meet a real actor in his or her rehearsal studio, or the Hamilton Dance workshop, where students are introduced to the choreography behind Hamilton.

As a whole, participating in one or several Broadway Workshops is an active learning experience students will remember for some time. For more information on booking class trip to New York City that includes a Broadway Musical and participating in a workshop, Request a quote.

Students Trips to D.C. Include a Visit to Holocaust Museum: Conversations with Holocaust Survivors

by Howard Clemens

Student tours of Washington D.C. often include a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A visit to the Museum can be an eye opening experience for students of this generation, who did not live through the war, and were not raised by parents that fought or participated in World War II.

Many of the popular Hollywood films about the holocaust focus on the experience of the Jewish population in Germany. However, the Jewish population throughout Europe was deeply affected by anti-Semitism and genocide. As the war progressed, the Nazis came to invade many different European countries and round up Jewish people for extermination at the camps in Germany.

The First Person Podcast Series by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is a wonderful resource for teachers who want to introduce students to the individual stories of holocaust survivors. It is also a great way to prepare them for a class trip to Washington D.C. that includes a stop to at the Museum on the itinerary.

Visit the U.S.Holocaust Memorial Museum and select the menu ‘Survivors and Victims.’ Page down and peruse the selections of audio podcasts available for online listening.

Genocide of the Jewish Population in Europe in the 1940s
These first person accounts of war and its consequences to families and whole populations will be an awakening for many students. Students may be familiar with the major battles of World War II and the politics of the war. However, these are personal accounts of intimidation, fear and hiding. Jewish people had to disguise their true identities and survive in a small amount of space – or go from house to house. Separation of husbands and wives and mothers and children was all too common.

These stories will leave students spellbound – and should be digested slowly. Post-listening exercises are recommended so students can fully integrate. A visit to the Museum will also assist in learning more.

The Nazi Resistance in Europe
There are also important details about those who courageously resisted Nazi control and aided those who were fleeing. Many of these allies were non-Jewish and taking a huge chance by hiding those who were. Listening to these Survivor Stories adds a whole new dimension to students’ knowledge and learning about the holocaust of World War II.

Each story has its own unique description of the challenge of a Jewish adult or child leaving war torn Europe. With the German army crossing through many war torn territories, this is quite a challenge and took a great deal of courage for the many who aided those who sought refuge elsewhere.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Nazi’s Stalled
One highlight of the First Person Podcast Series includes the story of Estelle Laughlin: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Poland, some of the fiercest resistance to a Nazi takeover came from an ill- supplied but prepared group of urban fighters. The resistance movement in the Warsaw Ghettos helped families to build secret bunkers before the Germans arrived. While war raged in the streets of
Warsaw families hid in bunkers to survive. This actually saved quite a few families, who were spirited away during lulls in this urban war. Laughlin’s story of resistance and escape is compelling, mostly because she was just a child.

Romania: Hiding from a Pogrom in Iasi
Heim Solomon’s story explains what the word ‘Pogrom’ means. After the Germans invaded the Soviet Union on June 21, 1941, the Romanian Jewish population came under the authority of the Germans. The Nazis pressed upon the authorities of Romania to eliminate the Jewish population. The Jewish men of the town were summoned to the City Hall to be reissued new identification. From this room they were escorted into a stone outdoor enclosure. Here German soldiers would either split their heads or shoot them in the temple of he head. Later a garbage truck would clean up the trash. In the July 29th massacre, 4,000 would perish within the perimeter of the stonewall.

This particularly vicious form of genocide was terrifying to the Jewish population. Two of Heim’s brothers scaled the stone wall that night, and hid for 6 days without food or water. They hid themselves in a space above wood piled to the ceiling. Many more were lined up and sent by train and because it was so hot, one half of those who traveled died from lack of water. Solomon’s family was scattered during the roundup and after the Pogrom calmed down, in 4-5 days, they reorganized from their hiding. His scathing account of the inhumane treatment of the Nazi’s is not easy to listen to, however it gives a perspective not often recorded in history books.

Teachers may have to face hard subjects with students and will find creative ways to help them understand materials.

Resistance to fascism, survival in a hostile environment, and the ability to live in secrecy are just a few of the characteristics many survivors share. Students will learn about the struggles and turmoil of separating from family–immediate and extended. Most of all students will learn about the bravery of survivors and those who helped them.

For more information about a student trip to Washington D.C. that includes a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. Request a Quote.

Take a Student Tour Group to Philadelphia to Study Black History

black history tour philadelphia
Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia was gathering place for abolitionists.

A student trip to Philadelphia is an excellent opportunity to study African American History. The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) is the best starting point for the tour. The AAMP is the most definitive collection of African American art, culture and history and best describes the ever changing social fabric of African Americans that define the region. The native cultures of Africa are also honored here.

When founded, Philadelphia was a mixture of free slaves and indentured servants and the rules between each group were not clearly defined. At one time it was possible for a slave to be freed by his or her master, or to purchase freedom. Thus Philadelphia evolved as an abolitionist city and a place where some African Americans moved freely

The African American Museum in Philadelphia is located at 7th and Arch Streets, in the heart of Downtown Philadelphia. After a morning trip to the Museum, student travel groups can have lunch in nearby Chinatown or at the Reading Terminal Market.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia

The African American Museum in Philadelphia houses far more than art. In fact it traces the lives and work of a wide diaspora of African Americans across the United States and their heritage in the Philadelphia region and in native Africa. There is usually a rotating exhibit in one gallery. A significant show from the Permanent collection is always on display in another gallery: Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876. The exhibition is interactive, with a narrated timeline that spans 100 years. Trailblazers from the African American Community are highlighted with video projections telling the story of their lives. These video narratives make history larger than life for students. There are other educational programs at the Museum as well. For teachers preparing students for the trip, expect exercises will be eye opening and told from a unique historical perspective. Visit: http://www.aampmuseum.org/education.html to learn more about Traveling Trunks, Iconic Images Mural Tour and the Passport to Culture Summer Youth Enrichment Program.

Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation relocated from an estate in Merion, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia several years ago. In order to satisfy Barnes’ will, which stated the art must be kept in the original mansion, those who designed the building’s interiors recreated them exactly as they were in the 1920s. The collection was displayed precisely in the same places inside the new building. The Barnes Foundation is next to the Rodin Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Albert C. Barnes is known for his collection of post-impressionist and early modern paintings. He also has an extensive African American collection of arts and practical items used in African cultures. Barnes felt the African Art to be a highly developed form. So, he collected figural sculptures, ceremonial masks, and domestic objects as well as those used in rituals and celebrations. The collection is worthwhile seeing on this tour. Many of these pieces of the African diaspora are now well documented by African American Art Scholar Christa Clarke, PhD.

President’s House Commemorative Site

A perhaps unknown facet about the President’s House in Philadelphia, which honors George and Martha Washington, is about the enslaved members of the household.

Altogether Washington brought 9 enslaved Africans to his three story mansion in Philadelphia, where he and Martha lived from 1790-97. President Washington was known to treat his slaves in his household well. Eventually he freed them in his will and donated money to the creation of the African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas. Students of Black History will find this remarkable and important historical site to visit.

Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church

One of the first historically black and abolitionist churches in the new country was the Mother Bethel. A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia located at 6th and Lombard Streets. The first church was convened in 1794. In 1805, the building was expanded and the church leaders and congregation would become a leading force in fighting against slavery by helping those who escaped and were on the run. Beginning at its infancy, and as the decades wore on, the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church would be a leading force in abolishing slavery all together. Bishop Richard Allen constructed the first church and expanded the second while leading a congregation of black Christians and allies in a fierce anti-slavery movement. All students of black history will want to visit the Richard Allen Museum, which is part of the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church.

As any teacher can easily see, Philadelphia is a city rich in African American history, culture, politics and the arts. There are many more places to visit in Philadelphia, which celebrate black history, besides those noted here. Trip leaders and teachers may feel free to explore and suggest other places in Philadelphia that would enrich a black history tour.

For more information on taking a student group on tour of Philadelphia with black history as the focus, Request a Quote.

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Presenting a Fun, Online Classroom for Prepping Student Travelers

by Howard Clemens

There are many art museums across the United States with notable collections. Yet only a portion of these museums specialize in American Art. It is true that many museums collect American art, but few focus solely on it. A student tour of Washington D.C. is greatly enriched with a visit to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. A visit to this comprehensive museum will expose students to American Art and artists.

Class preparation for a trip like this is important. Many teachers will want to incorporate blended learning exercises to pique student interest in the class trip to D.C. Prior to a visit, teachers will want to explore the rich, in-depth classroom activities available online. Visit http://americanart.si.edu/education/activities/online/index.cfm to review them all.

AmericanArtMuseumTeachers will love the prepared exercises. Students will learn about American art from different perspectives. There are classroom exercises that focus on different eras in American Art, evolving identities for various ethnic groups, and fun, mystery solving exercises that help students retain what they learn.

An example of an inspiring and interesting exercise is Meet me at Midnight. This imaginary adventure involves a folk art sculpture coming to life at night and mixing up the art in the museum. Students are tasked with setting things aright.

There are a plethora of ways to learn about art. One of the ways to do this is to immerse students in the stories of artists. Many of the artists featured in American Kaleidoscope emerge from working class backgrounds or specific ethnic groups and achieve greater recognition for their works through social movements, such as Chicano Rights, Black Rights or even Women’s Rights.

Selecting Del Corazón! is a way to immerse students in the experience of the Latino artist. This classroom exercise features bi-lingual interviews of artists. Plus, the interactive zoomify feature allows students to take a closer look at work by this important group of Americans.

In Cleopatra: Lost and Found, students will learn more about the intersection of art and history. The focus in this exercise is gaining a unique understanding of historical, literary and biblical figures celebrated in the art of sculpture.

For many art students, participating in classroom activities online will be stimulating and fun –but these exercises still do not compare to a real time visit to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Downtown Washington D.C. Teachers will want to combine the online learning with a real visit to see the exhibitions.

class trips d.c.
Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum was renovated from 2000-2005. The Renwick Gallery is a centerpiece of the work completed and it is a stunning example of architecture. This was actually the first building in the U.S. specifically built to be an art museum. An important part of the gallery that is not to be missed is the Renwick Gallery. Located right across the street from the White House – this building houses American craft arts. The current exhibition is called Wonder. This exhibition of large-scale installations includes well-known cotemporary American artists.

Smithsonian American Art Museum continues to be a leader in art education across the United States. Since 2006, the Museum curatorial staff has launched 14 major traveling exhibitions of more than 1,000 pieces of art from its permanent collection. The Museum’s renovations left more time for curatorial staff to take a deeper look at the collection and send parts of it on tour.

There are plenty of reasons to take student groups on a trip to Washington D.C. For more information on a Student Art Tour of Washington D.C. or a general student tour of Washington D.C. that incorporates a visit to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Request a Quote.