Student Trip to Baltimore to Celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812

Many students of American history read about the War of 1812 as part of their studies of Nineteenth Century history.  This naval war impacted the burgeoning United States and the port cities along the East Coast, as well as cities inland, along major waterways.

This year, Baltimore, Maryland is the focus of the national launch of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 with the Star-Spangled Sailabration from June 13-19, 2012.  This kickoff celebration begins in Baltimore Harbor where visitors can see a spectacular display of U.S., British and Canadian naval vessels and tall ships from around the world. Audiences will also see an air show featuring the Blue Angels.

Teachers and trip leaders are encouraged to combine a visit to Washington D.C. with a visit to Baltimore to experience the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.   Even if the student group is not available to travel from June 13-19, they may still experience part of the Bicentennial celebration. Baltimore and other cities throughout the U.S and Canada affected by the War of 1812 will continue to stage events dedicated to the remembrance of the War of 1812 through 2014.

Following is a brief outline of the six major sites in Baltimore and Washington D.C. that reinforce studies of the War of 1812. In addition to Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington D.C. other states participating in this event are:  Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Student travel groups destined for any of these locations can also tie their trip into War of 1812 sites in these locations.

Baltimore, Maryland, War of 1812 Sites of Interest

Fort McHenry
Many Americans and representatives felt an attack on Baltimore was imminent after a declaration of war against the British. So, Fort McHenry was prepared with fortifications and soldiers to defend the city against the British. This site is well-preserved and maintained by the National Park Service.  Fort McHenry is known as the star fort, because it was constructed in the shape of a five-pointed star.  The fort was attacked by British cannon fire and survived the battle.

The Star Spangled Banner Flag House
Students will want to tour the house where Mary Pickersgill sewed the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the battle of 1814, when the Fort was under assault by the British.  Pickersgill lived here with her daughter Caroline and her mother, Rebecca Young, who started the flag-making business during the Revolutionary War period in Philadelphia.  Student groups can tour the home that is decorated with 19th century furniture and fixtures.  Frequent living history presentations are also staged here, so students may encounter Mary Pickersgill, Rebecca Young or Grace Wisher, the African-American apprentice who lived and worked there.  These living history actresses will narrate their story in the first person to help make the process of creating the flag come alive.

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
Students can see a special exhibition for the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 here:  “Farmers, Patriots and Traitors:  Southern Maryland and the War of 1812.”  At the time of the War of 1812, the U.S. had no organized naval fleet. So, in June of 1814, Commodore Joshua Barney pulled together a fleet of eighteen gun boats, barges and sloops to take on the British Navy. This unofficial fleet of ships engaged in battle with the British Navy twice in June of 1814. The battles took place at the intersection of the Patuxent River and St. Leonard Creek, near the shores of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum.  They are known as the largest naval engagement in the history of Maryland, and helped turned the tides of the War of 1812 in favor of the U.S.

Washington, D.C. War of 1812 Sites of Interest

Smithsonian Museum
Students can see the actual flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem in the The Star- Spangled Banner exhibition at the National Museum of American History.  The flag is 200 years old and measures 30 x 34 feet. It is housed in an environmentally controlled chamber to preserve it and visitors can interact with the artifact through a tactile image.

White House
Student groups may visit the White House as part of their scheduled tour.   James Madison was President of the United States when he asked Congress to declare war on June 1, 1812. Teachers can prepare classes for this study by taking an in-depth look at Madison’s presidency, and his reasons for going to war, prior to the trip.

In addition to these War of 1812 sites, student groups can learn more about other historical  periods by visiting the Baltimore and/or Washington D.C. area. Popular destinations include the U.S. Capitol Building, the monuments tour, Mount Vernon and more. Check the events schedule on The Official war of 1812 Bicentennial Website to see if a student trip schedule will coincide with other public events.

To request a quote for a class trip to Baltimore and Washington D.C. visit

Mid-West College Tour Part 1

By 10th or 11th grade, students preparing for college need to be thinking about what school they will attend.  But it’s difficult to get a good read on a college by looking at a website or a brochure.  For this reason, I have designed college tours divided into geographic sections of the United States. Taking this type of tour allows college prep students to experience the university in person. The student group sees the campus and has the opportunity to speak to students, faculty and staff.

This type of interaction is valuable. It effectively inspires students to make a decision about their college of choice.

Following, I will offer an example of a Mid West College Tour (part 1) where students have the opportunity to visit some of the most distinguished universities in this area of the United States.  This is by no means a comprehensive list of Mid West colleges. I encourage teachers taking students on this type of tour to add or delete colleges they really wish to visit.  In fact, there are so many great schools in the Mid West, there will be a part 2 to this article.

University of Cincinnati

Serving over 40,000 students and delivering 308 programs of study, University of Cincinnati is a well-respected urban university.  Forbes magazine ranked it among the most beautiful campuses in the United States.  The campus is a showcase for contemporary architecture.  Known for its accredited Musical Theater Program and its Architecture, Construction & Building Trades Program, UC has a great deal to offer the imaginative student.  UC has a 15/1 student-faculty teaching ratio and over 250 Graduate Programs to choose from.

Xavier University

Also located in Cincinnati, Ohio, Xavier University enrolls approximately 6,700 students each year.  There is a College of Arts and Sciences, Social Sciences, Health & Education, and the Williams College of Business, so students studying in these areas will be most interested in Xavier.  The Musketeers Men’s basketball team, women’s soccer and basketball teams, and other athletic and co-curricular activities make Xavier an exciting campus.

Ohio State University

With an enrollment of nearly 65,000 students, 1,700 acres of land and 457 buildings, Ohio State University has a huge impact on Columbus, Ohio.  Cited among the top 20 national public universities by U.S. News and World Report in 2010, Ohio State University is a top-rated school.  Academic programs range from Medicine to Engineering, Architecture, Arts and Sciences and more. The campus is a mixture of Gothic revival architecture and contemporary building designs, with a 60-acre arboretum and abundant gardens and plazas.

Indiana University

Indiana University (IU) has eight campuses across the state. The main campus is in Bloomington and is scheduled as a stop for this tour.  Indiana University was founded in 1820 and has a rich heritage. The campus retains its historical beginnings in its layout and architecture with Indiana limestone buildings dating to the late 19th Century. Bloomington is a town of about 70,000 people. The inhabitants of Bloomington and the campus community refer to it as “B-town” because of its lively music scene, coffeehouses, farmers markets, international cuisine, and festivals.  IU is known academically for its business, arts, law, technology and journalism programs to name just a few highlights.  With over 32,000 students and a diverse student body, Indiana University is a premiere institution.

Purdue University

Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, Purdue is an outstanding University. The main campus is located in West Lafayette Indiana, and is the scheduled destination for this tour. There are also Purdue locations in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Westville and Hammond.  Ranked #1 in Biological and Agricultural Programs, and in the top 10 for Undergraduate Business and Engineering students, Purdue has distinguished programs to offer the student of Science, Technology Engineering and Math.  Purdue is also well known in many areas of research in these fields.  With over 30,000 undergraduate students enrolled and a competitive selection process, Purdue University is certainly a school worth serious consideration.

University of Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a school that has educated numerous Pulitzer Prize and Nobel winners.  Undergraduate enrollment is over 31,000 students, and there are 17 different colleges and Instructional units to choose from. University of Illinois was established in 1867 and retains a 19th Century flavor in some of its architecture.   Known for the liberal arts and sciences, University of Illinois has a distinguished list of alumnus – scientists and writers recognized for excellence in their field.  The campus tour includes visits to a number of buildings that date to the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Take student groups on a college tour of selected schools in the Mid West to help them gain a realistic perspective of college life.  In addition to visiting schools, entertainment and dining are part of the itinerary. Students can spend time exploring towns such as Bloomington, West Lafayette and Cincinnati to get a feel for lifestyles, cuisine, geography, climate and more.

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