Visit the New National Musuem of American History in Washington D.C.

Plan an Educational Tour of the National Museum of American History in Washington DC

Student field trips and educational tours to famous, metropolitan cities like New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC are popular these days, but in the fall of 2008 a Washington DC educational student travel destination reopens that everyone will want to visit. On Friday, November 21, 2008 the National Museum of American History opens its doors after over two years and $85 million of architectural renovations. According to a July 30, 2008 press release from the National Museum of American History the center core of the building has been redesigned to improve architectural appeal and modernize the presentation of the museum’s extensive collections. The redesign includes construction of a skylit 5-story atrium, grand staircase and a new Star-Spangled Banner Gallery.

Visit the Museum of American History and Make Your Washington DC Student Travel Tour a Success

An Inspirational and Educational Field Trip: Visit the 200-Year-Old Star Spangled Banner
In the center of Washington DC’s American History Museum the Star-Spangled Banner Gallery was built to inspire visitors through the dramatic and powerful story of the American flag and the national anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner gallery is a state of the art facility made to protect, preserve and display the American flag. Housed behind a 45-foot tall, floor to ceiling glass wall in a special, climate controlled chamber the flag’s wool and cotton fibers are monitored and maintained. Low light levels and the projection of the first stanza of Francis Scott Key’s poem, “The Star Spangled Banner” on the wall above and behind the flag provide excellent visibility for museum visitors. According to the American History Museum’s web site, “The History Channel, a donor through financial contributions and in-kind gifts, will release a new one-hour special touching on the flag’s colorful history, including the specialized conservation treatment undertaken by the museum and the new high-tech flag chamber.” As a part of the ‘Save Our History’ series, the History Channel documentary airs this fall.

Celebrate American History: Take a Class Trip to See the White House Copy of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, given on November 19, 1863, is one of the most well-known and memorable speeches in American history. The manuscript, displayed at the National Museum of American History in Washington DC, is one of five drafts and the last known to have been written in Lincoln’s own hand in March of 1864. This copy of the Gettysburg Address is officially part of a collection kept at the White House in the private quarters of the Lincoln Bedroom. First Lady Laura Bush approved the loan of this copy to the Washington DC American History Museum until January 4, 2009.

Additional Museum Exhibitions Perfect for Student Tour Groups and Student Trips
On the second floor of the National Museum of American History the Nina and Ivan Selin Welcome Center serves as a landmark and houses historical objects like the Vassar College telescope from 1865. The telescope is situated on the west wing of the first floor to represent science and technology and was used by the first woman astronomer in America. The west wing also includes a hands-on science and invention center called the Lemelson Hall of Invention and Spark!Lab. One of the program highlights planned for the spring of 2009 is the 8,000 square foot ‘On the Water: Stories from Maritime America’ exhibition. In 2009 The Susan and Elihu Rose Gallery will begin to feature rotating exhibits so visitors can encounter varying historic characters every weekend as well as celebrate and learn about various federal holidays.

Make Your Educational Student Tour Unforgettable at Washington DC’s National Museum of American History

The American History Museum renovations also include the construction of the 275-seat Carmichael Auditorium, the Samuel J. and Ethel LaFrak Lobby, new elevators, new restrooms, retail operations, The Constitution Café and the 600-seat Stars and Stripes Café. Historians, families, student travel tours, educational travel services and individuals interested in exploring American history from colonial to modern times can view virtual exhibits and collections online at the National Museum of American History’s web site: americanhistory.si.edu. Museum schedules, special events and educational activities are also available online.

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Student Travel to Washington DC: Don’t Miss the new Mount Vernon Educational Center

by Howard Clemens

Learn About George Washington’s Life on an Educational Student Tour of Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens

One of the most popular historic locations in the United States, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, is located sixteen miles south of Washington, DC on the banks of the Potomac River. Each year Mount Vernon provides events, tours and exhibits for American history lovers. Educational student tour groups, student travel organizations, families and individuals can enjoy the Mansion House, slave quarters, the kitchen, stables, the greenhouse, hiking trails, the Farm, the Slave Memorial and Washington’s Tomb. In addition to tours and exhibits, Mount Vernon offers Adventures in Learning programs created specifically for high school trips, educational travel tours and history field trips. Also recently opened are The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the Ford Orientation Center, which chronicle the life and times of George Washington through multi media presentations, historical artifacts and storytelling.

The History of Mount Vernon: A Student Travel Destination for Over 140 Years

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens were the home of George and Martha Washington after they were married in 1759. They lived there until George Washington’s death in 1799. During his forty years there Washington grew the estate to 8,000 acres and expanded the Mansion House to twenty-one rooms. In 1858 the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association bought the estate from the Washington family and Mount Vernon was opened to the public in 1860. Since 1860 approximately 80 million people have toured the estate grounds and attended educational travel programs and events.

The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center: An Unforgettable Student Travel Tour Destination in Washington DC

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens is dedicated to helping schools, student tour groups, educational travel services, families and individuals discover the real George Washington. In order to achieve this goal Mount Vernon has recently opened The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. This educational hub features twenty-three galleries and theaters equipped with interactive technology built to teach the details of George Washington’s childhood, young adult life and experiences as a leader in American History. The Education Center is also home to Washington’s Presidential Library, classroom space and computers, which store over 20,000 letters written by George Washington himself.

A major highlight of the Donald W. Reynolds Museum are the three life size models of George Washington made by a forensic anthropologist and a team of special experts. The museum provides state of the art display for its incredible collection of furnishings, china, silver, clothing, jewelry, rare books, manuscripts, Revolutionary War artifacts and other personal effects of the Washington family. In order to maintain the pastoral setting and picturesque views on the estate sixty-five percent of the 66,700-square foot Ford Orientation Center and Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center complex are constructed under the four-acre pasture just inside the main gate. The architectural design preserves the historic look of Mount Vernon and creates a grazing pasture for traditional Hogg Island sheep, similar to those Washington raised 200 years ago.

Discover Educational History Tours That Are Fun for Students and Teachers Alike at The Ford Orientation Center

A statue of the Washington family greets groups and people visiting the Ford Orientation Center. Filled with exhibitions and featuring a film about the life, struggles and achievements of George Washington the Ford Orientation Center provides visitors the chance to learn about this dynamic, captivating hero of American history. Made possible through the longstanding support of Ford Motor Company, the Ford Orientation Center is meant to be a doorway into the nation’s past. “Ford Motor Company’s support of Mount Vernon started with Henry Ford,” states Mount Vernon’s executive director James C. Rees, “It continues with the Ford Orientation Center, a vital resource which will be the gateway for generations of young Americans to learn about George Washington.”

Educational Student Travel: Adventures in Learning Created for Your Curriculum

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens offers a wide range of student travel tours, educational field trips and learning experiences. Each program is designed to meet school curriculum standards and specifically focus on George Washington and 18th century living. Programs are seasonal and can be scheduled at educational student rates. The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the Ford Orientation Center have been designed in partnership with the History Channel, which produced eleven educational videos for the project. Plan to spend the entire day at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. To find out more visit the Mount Vernon web site www.MountVernon.org.

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Put “Bodies: The Exhibition” on a Student Tour Itinerary of New York City

New York City is the host city for “Bodies: The Exhibition,” the controversial art exhibit that has been touring the country for a few years now. This art exhibition reveals the body in different positions – from the inside out. The sinews, blood vessels, and spinal system are all revealed in their minute complexity and stunning beauty. So are a multitude of bodily organs, both healthy and unhealthy.

“Bodies: The Exhibition” is a wonderful educational experience, because it helps people to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Many have never experienced looking inside the body to see the delicate structures which are beneath the skin. By taking a closer look at different exhibits, students will come to understand why it is so important to keep the body operating at optimum performance. The body’s systems are all integrally related.

The controversy over “Bodies: The Exhibition” stems mostly from the origins of the actual bodies used to construct the art show. In order to use bodies in a traveling exhibit, permissions from the deceased’s family are standard. However, the bodies in this show were unidentified or unclaimed bodies from China. Knowing the origins of the subjects in the exhibition bothers some, though not all who attend. Many have speculated that to be immortalized in this exhibit might just be preferable to being buried or cremated and forgotten.

Egyptian predecessors used mummification processes that drained the bodily fluids, placed vital organs in jars, and preserved the body with natural salt-based substances. The bodies in this exhibition were preserved with liquid silicone rubber, a contemporary compound that adds fluidity to the corpse and ensures that the bodies will not decay. This is much like mummification, only better.

The 20 human cadavers are staged in a variety of poses to highlight the interior bodily processes that are stressed in different positions. These dramatic poses let the viewer see exactly how the body moves on the inside, when it is in motion.

For science students, and students of anatomy, “Bodies: The Exhibition” is highly recommended. But student travel groups still don’t want to miss “Bodies: The Exhibition” in New York City, just because a field trip focus is not science. The show and the educational materials that accompany it are designed to reach students across the curriculum, including art, archeology, health sciences and more. Attending the show is a great way to educate students of all ages including elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as those in college.

Teachers who want to prepare groups in advance of the trip to New York City to see “Bodies: The Exhibition” may request a Teacher’s Guide for use in the classroom.

Many visitors who have attended the exhibition from around the country have raved about “Bodies: The Exhibition.” Because bodies are dissected, embryos and fetuses from bodies are shown, and the human samples could actually be criminals from Chinese jails, the show still remains controversial. Some viewers have commented that a view of the internal organs and bodily processes is a bit much to stomach, but somehow they have not found it gory, just hard to look at for long.

“Bodies: The Exhibition” will be in New York City at the South Street Seaport Exhibition Centre at 11 Fulton Street through the end of 2008. Teachers in the greater New York City area are invited to come for a special preview of the exhibit on Thursday, September 25 from 4-9 p.m. or Friday September 26 from 4-10 p.m.

Visit “Bodies: The Exhibition” website online and watch “The Field Trip” to gauge previous student and adult reactions. In the meantime, put aside reservations about bringing a student travel group to the exhibit. “Bodies” is a valuable educational tool with the potential to have a huge impact on our perceptions of the body, and our selves.