Washington Monument Reopens After Nearly Three Years of Closure

Washington Monument reopened in May 2014.  The NPS is offering extended hours (until 10 p.m.) for visitors who want to take the elevator to the observation deck.
The Washington Monument reopened in May 2014. The NPS is offering extended hours (until 10 p.m.) for visitors who want to take the elevator to the observation deck.

 

The Washington Monument in Washington D.C. has always been a favorite for student travel groups heading to the D.C. area.  The obelisk has graced the nation’s capital since the 19th Century – until it was struck by an earthquake on August 22, 2011.  Although people were inside and falling debris and stone did affect some visitors, thankfully no staff or tourists were seriously injured or died while visiting the Monument that day.

The Earthquake of August 2011 Damaged Washington Monument
The Washington Monument sustained a great deal of damage from the earthquake. The quake was nearly a 6 on the Richter Scale, with an epicenter 90 miles southwest of D.C., in Virginia. Damages included “cracks, spalls and displacements of stones and joints throughout the building,” according the National Park Service website.  The Washington Monument had to be closed to visitors in the interest of public safety.

Repair to the Washington Monument has taken nearly three years of labor to aright this structure and make it suitable for visitation.  Stones with fissures had to be repaired one by one, and laborers logged over one thousand days of work on the structure.

The Washington Monument re-opened May 12, 2014 with a public ceremony, just in time for the late spring and summer travel season.  Trip leaders taking student tours to Washington D.C. may now add a visit to the Washington Monument to their itinerary.

Short History of the Washington Monument
Built to honor the memory of George Washington, first president, this monument was constructed in two phases: 1848-1854 and 1876-1884. The architect was Robert Mills – and his vision was to place the enormous monument (which would be the tallest in the world at that time) in the center of the green with nothing overshadowing it.  Though he originally planned on a 600-foot structure, the actual height was 555 feet, 5.125 inches. It remained the tallest building until the Eiffel Tower overshadowed it.

Lt. Col. Casey supervised the latter stages of construction and he revised the height of the structure so the foundational base was strong enough to support it. It is created from the stones of three different quarries:  two in Baltimore and one in Massachusetts.  Different color stones are noticeable on the Monument. The Army Corps of Engineers completed construction on December 6, 1884 and the Monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885, during James J. Polk’s presidency.

Student Travelers Can Tour the Washington Monument Again
New exhibits have opened at the Washington Monument, with more opportunities for learning than ever before.   For guided student group tours, teachers and trip leaders are best advised to book tickets well in advance with the assistance of a qualified student travel company.  On tour, a ranger will discuss some historical facts for groups as they take the elevator up. Then they will spend some time on the observation deck for a few minutes and descend to the 490’ foot level to view the exhibits.  Students re-board the elevator at the 490’ level and while the elevator takes them back down, the ranger will once again point out details about the Monument’s construction and history.

For any student of American history, a visit to Washington D.C. and the Washington Monument is a must.  Students learn more about George Washington and one of the most awe-inspiring monuments constructed in the world.  Visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com to find out more about student trips to Washington D.C.

Visiting the New 911 Memorial and Museum In New York City

Building a memorial to commemorate 3,000 lives lost on 911 was no small enterprise, but architects Michael Ara, Daniel Libeskind, and Peter Walker have constructed a fitting tribute.  May 21, 2014 is the first day the 911 Memorial is open to the public. Student travel groups heading to New York City can now walk freely among the memorials and grounds where the World Trade Towers once stood.

student travel nyc
The 911 Memorial will be open to the public May 21, 2014.

The memorial has twin reflecting pools, each an acre in size, centered by the largest manmade waterfalls in all of North America.  The names of all the victims of the 2001 and 1993 World Trade Center attacks are inscribed into bronze along the lip of the memorial pools.  This large undertaking is meant as a reminder of the largest loss of life from a foreign invasion in United States history.  More than 400 trees were chosen and planted to convey a sense of physical regrowth and spiritual renewal at the site.

All three award-winning architects are well known for their work on skyscrapers in Hong Kong, and parks and museums in Australia and the United States.  Their most haunting achievement is the placements of names for the 911 Memorial, which are bronze stenciling hovering over the water.  This is designed so paper can be pressed against a name for visitors as well as family and friends of the victims to make their own memorial rubbings.  At night,  light shines up through each name, a powerful reminder of those who were lost.

In May 2014, there was a six-day dedication period before the 911 Memorial was opened to the public. During this period it was only accessible to family and friends of the victims of 911 as well as the many rescue and recovery workers.  New York’s interviewed 911 Memorial Museum president Joe Daniels, who said, “It will be a tremendous privilege to walk the completed 911 Memorial Museum for the first time with those who are a part of this defining period of our nation’s history.”

When planning a student trip to New York City, trip leaders may want to consider booking a guided tour of the memorial.  Memorial tours are walking tours provided by 911 survivors, recovery workers, lower Manhattan business owners and residents.  Sometimes, 911 Memorial tours are even given by the victims’ family members.  The personal stories mix with world news in a way that is a completely unique experience when students experience a guided tour of the memorial site.

When visiting the 911 Memorial and Museum website you can view EarthCam webcams of the site.  This is the perfect way to engage students ahead of time.  In the museum you will have the opportunity to explore the topic with interactive digital displays of the 911 timeline.  There is a separate page on the Memorial website specifically for teachers to prepare lesson plans, including foundational lessons, as well as a breakdown for different age groups.  You can see these at this link: https://www.911memorial.org/lesson-plans.  There are also teaching guides at this site, as well as tips on talking to children about 911 and webcasts for classroom visits and lessons.

While visiting the 911 Memorial, President Obama remarked, “That’s beautiful.”  The New York Times said former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani would be the best person to take part in the opening ceremonies. So Giuliani was asked to introduce speakers that would include families of victims as well as many others who contributed to the project – such as the ground zero ironworker who built a Star of David from part of the wreckage.

Few class trips will have students’ minds more captivated and interested than a visit to the 911 Memorial and Museum.  It is strongly suggested that student tours to the museum (and 911 Memorial) are booked well in advance to reserve space and to schedule a walking tour.  Tours will cover the exact grounds where history was made and have forever changed aspects of daily living in the United States and globally.

Students Take College Tours in New York to Learn About Career Certificates and Degrees

New York State has many choices for students who want to obtain a college degree. For students whose primary residence is New York, attending a state college or university can be more economical than private institutions and still offer premier learning opportunities.  Out-of-state and foreign students will also find the tuition and living expenses to be reasonable, especially for New York State community colleges.

Becoming acclimated to academic life is easier for some than others. Many students who plan to attend college have the utmost confidence, while others are uncertain they can adhere to the requirements and regimes of academic life.  For some families and individuals, community colleges are a good idea for those who may be unsure of their career path, yet they are academically disciplined and have the desire to attend college.

This college tour is designed for students interested in touring community colleges and four-year colleges in New York. These colleges are all part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system.  All offer affordable tuition for in-state and out-of-state students. There is something unique about Herkimer and Sullivan, both community colleges. Students at these community colleges are encouraged to live in residence halls and apartments on campus – whereas most community colleges are commuter schools.   Students who attend community colleges obtain associates degrees in traditional academic subjects and certificates to work in the technology and health care sectors as well as other professions.

Taking a group of students on a college tour of state colleges in New York is a wonderful way to familiarize even the shy or hesitant student with life on a college campus.  Encourage students to pursue a college education in their junior or senior years of high school by taking a group of college bound students on campus tour.  This is a sample itinerary of what a state college tour of New York looks like. There may be other colleges that trip leaders want to add to this student tour itinerary – which is flexible – so long as chosen schools are in the same (or nearby) region.

Sullivan Community College (SUNY)
Located in the Catskill Mountains, several hours north of New York City, Sullivan Community College is a part of the State University of New York (SUNY). This is an excellent choice for a community college, because there is a mixture of traditional academic disciplines and programs designed specifically to prepare students for professional occupations upon graduation. Sullivan’s campus is set on 405 acres and with contemporary buildings, and even includes on campus housing – priced very reasonably.  There are approximately 1,750 students at Sullivan Community College. Areas of study include preparation for nursing, culinary arts, computer graphics/graphic design, communication/media arts, green building maintenance and management, fire protection technology and emergency management. Other degree areas include: accounting, business administration, computer information systems, liberal arts and sciences and criminal justice. If students are motivated and performing in these disciplines, the foundational years will help prepare them to enter another SUNY school, or another college of choice, to pursue a four year college degree or even a graduate degree.

Delhi College
Also known as SUNY Delhi, Delhi College is located in the foothills of the Catskills Mountains.  With a 625-acre campus and over 50 degree programs to choose from as well as specialized certificates, SUNY Delhi gives students a wide variety of choices. Students can pursue Associate Degrees and Bachelor Degrees here. SUNY Delhi is only 3.5 hours from New York City and two hours from Albany, the state capital. There are over 3,100 students enrolled at this school and nearly 65% live on campus. Delhi College’s campus is scenic, with a student center and outdoor track, soccer and tennis courts, and a Mini Dome that serves as the sports and year round recreation complex.

Herkimer College (SUNY)
This community college has notable excellence in academics because it was selected by CNN Money as one of the top 100 community colleges in the U.S. and cited for its high graduation and transfer statistics. The Herkimer College campus is situated on a hilltop overlooking the Mowhawk River, in central New York State.    The campus features athletic fields and residences and a nature trail and cross country skiing and running trails, making it ideal for the student athlete or fitness conscious student. There are approximately 3,200 students at Herkimer, another state funded community college in the SUNY system. Students study for more than 40 different degrees and certificate programs. The Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields are emphasized here, and students can also study traditional fields such as Communication Arts, Health Care & Services, Education, Business, Art, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Criminal Justice and Law.

Morrisville State College (SUNY)
Morrisville State College is located in central New York, not far from Syracuse and south of Utica. The college has two locations: one in Morrisville and another in Norwich, New York.  Students who want to pursue either a two-year (Associates Degrees) and/or a four-year (Bachelors Degrees) course of study may do so at this college.  There is plenty of programs to choose from that may not be found elsewhere:  Agricultural Business Development, Automotive Technology, and Entrepreneurship and Business Management as well as Equine Science and Horticulture Business Management. Like other colleges on this tour, Morrisville State provides student housing and dining programs and tuition and living expenses are very affordable.  Campus life includes athletics, student sponsored clubs and events and a dedication to experiential learning – or learning while doing. The school has an impressive list of labs (such as a public restaurant for those studying Entrepreneurship and Business Management, an Equine Therapy facility for individuals studying Equine Science, and Nelson Farm for those studying Horticulture).

New York State has some innovative and unique approaches to higher education that prepare students for degrees and give them valuable hands-on learning opportunities in a variety of professions.  The SUNY college system is an excellent example of the way in which academia can partner with corporations and organizations to prepare students for any number of occupations.  This makes the students’ transition from college to the professional world much easier because programs are specifically designed to train the workforce of the future.  For many students, a two year program that trains them for a profession will give them an excellent start in the workforce, while others will continue on to pursue four-year and advanced degrees.  This college tour gives students a glimpse into their possible future and is a great way of preparing them to make some career choices.

Request a Quote for a group college tour of New York.