Category Archives: Washington D.C.

Blog posts pertaining to Washington D.C. trips.

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!

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

 

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.

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.

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.

A Class Trip to Harpers Ferry, Historic Armory and Civil War Battlefield Near Washington D.C.

by Howard Clemens

For those interested in studying the Civil War, a visit to Harpers Ferry will easily explain its critical geographical position. The natural boundary between north and south is the Potomac River. The Potomac River joins the Shenandoah River here, at the headwaters of the Shenandoah River Valley. During the Civil War, rail and ship transportation were key to supply chains for both armies. Harpers Ferry had both forms of transportation and was a strategic location between north and south. The Confederates were wooing Maryland residents to take up the Confederate side during the war and Harpers Ferry was a good position for this sort of public relations campaign.

A Short History of Harpers Ferry Before Civil War
The U.S. Armory and Arsenal was opened at Harpers Ferry in 1797. This facility produced over 600,000 muskets, rifles and pistols from 1707-1861. Harpers Ferry was also the first place in the U.S. to mechanize the production of weapons.

John Brown’s Raid
John Brown was an abolitionist with radical ideas about freeing slaves. He set out on the evening of October 16, 1859 to raid the U.S. Armory and Arsenal with the objective of seizing 100,000 weapons. These he planned to distribute to slaves to fight a guerilla war against slavery in the Shenandoah Valley. About a day and a half later, with Brown’s men killed or wounded, he was captured by the U.S. Marines. For his crimes of sedition against the country, he was hanged on December 2, 1859. John Brown’s Fort stands today as a memory of the raid, and the place where he was captured. It would take less than two years from the time of John Brown’s raid, and the country would be in a state of civil warfare.

Harpers Ferry During the Civil War
Confederate and Union soldiers passed through Harpers Ferry, making it a vulnerable location. Less than one day from the time Virginia seceded, Federal soldiers burned the armory n April 18, 1861. Yet only 15,000 weapons were burned, and Confederates were able to take the weapon making machinery into the South. The Confederates held Harpers Ferry until the Battle of Antietam concluded in 1862 then the Union reoccupied it . All together the town changed hands eight times between 1861 & 1865 – which illustrates its significance.

Harpers Ferry Jeopardy – Easy to Download and Play
To make it fun for students to prepare for a trip to Washington D.C. and Harpers Ferry, the National Park Service has a game (designed in Powerpoint) called Harpers Ferry Jeopardy. Another useful classroom teaching tool, The War for Freedom is designed for the student to gain a better understanding of slavery and emancipation. The War for Freedom includes intro text, teacher pages, learning activities and additional resources. Students can learn about slavery from the viewpoint of a slave and trace his or her journey to emancipation. Also documented in this section are actual stories of African American soldiers who fought hard for their freedom on different battlefields of the Civil War.

Middle School Lessons Plans for Social Studies Students
The National Park Service has designed a lesson geared towards 5th-8th graders that focuses specifically on Harpers Ferry. The Battle for Harpers Ferry, 1862: Harpers Ferry is the Key! includes four lesson plans that take 30-40 minutes to cover in the classroom. Students gain a better understanding of the strategic importance of Harpers Ferry for the Union and learn more about the life of a Civil War soldier.

With so many great classroom tools to work with, teachers will find it easier to help students understand the importance of Harpers Ferry during the Civil War era. They will also be able to tie this lesson into another about the Battle for Antietam. A real visit to Harpers Ferry will enable students to understand the geographic position of Harpers Ferry today and to view some of the historic sites where armies were situated. Harpers Ferry has sites and trails in three different states: West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.

To plan a student tour of Harpers Ferry with a student travel company, Request a Quote or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Resources for Teachers:

The Battle for Harpers Ferry
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/classrooms/battle-of-hf-2.htm
War for Freedom
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/war-for-freedom.htm
Harpers Ferry Jeopardy
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/classrooms/curriculummaterials.htm

Antietam: A Civil War Battle to Defend the Capital and Gateway to the North

by Howard Clemens

Student groups studying the Civil War Battle of Antietam will find a visit to this historic place to be a beneficial learning experience. Named after a creek in Maryland near Sharpsburg, Antietam Creek once ran through farmland and forests. It was in this remote section of Maryland that General Robert E. Lee made his first incursion into the North and took a firm stand against the Union Army.

The fated day of the battle of Antietam was on September 17, 1862. This first battle in Maryland was traumatic, with 100,000 soldiers clashing. Over 23,000 soldiers were lost during the 12-hour battle of Antietam with casualties the heaviest on the Confederate side, around 15,000 soldiers. Although most people believe Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, in fact it was the Battle of Antietam.

Antietam was part of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s overall strategy of advancing his Army of Northern Virginia into the North. This would bring the Civil War to the Union territories. He hoped to inspire some to rethink their position on the Civil War altogether. In Maryland, the populace was divided as to allegiance to North or South. Lee sought to convince the slaveholders and propertied landowners of Maryland to join the Confederate cause.

Not far away, Washington D.C., the Union Capital city, needed to be defended. Lee’s first attempt to bring the battleground North was also seen as a mighty force being brought upon the nation’s capital. His invasion was answered with the full force of the Union Army.

General Robert E. Lee gathered his army on the western banks of Antietam Creek. Meanwhile, Stonewall Jackson’s troops held the left flank and General James Longstreet’s army held the center position for the Confederates. Human losses at Antietam were devastatingly large because the battle lasted over 12 hours. There were huge casualties on both sides. On September 18th, both armies carried the wounded away and buried their dead.

Lee and the Confederate Army took leave of Sharpsburg and Maryland altogether. They crossed the Potomac River back into Virginia, much to the relief of the Union soldiers and citizens of the North. This first decisive battle would leave its mark on Confederate and Union troops. It surely was a bold move by a General whose strategy was unique and took chances.

antietam-large1
The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

For the small town of Sharpsburg, Maryland this battle of the Civil War was a devastating blow. Properties were destroyed and crops were burned. Much was lost, including livestock and other food sources. Now the people of the North knew what it was like to live amongst battle torn countryside and ruins.

Students Travel to Battle Site to Learn More About Antietam
Prior to a planned class trip to Antietam National Battlefield, students will want to study this year in the Civil War that included other decisive battles. One such battle was for Harpers Ferry, which took place in tandem with Antietam. While Lee positioned troops on the northern front, Stonewall Jackson’s army took Harpers Ferry, a town that possessed a strategic railway station and a large munitions cache.

Another focus area of study may include an investigation into Lee’s strategy to bring the Confederate Army – and Civil War – North. By visiting Antietam, students can participate in the Parks as Classroom program and learn more about the background of the land, its people and the soldiers who fought there. At the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center students can review historical photographs, sketches and paintings of the battlefields during Revolutionary times and tour the battlefields today to learn more about pivotal skirmishes during the battle.

When considering a class trip Antietam, teachers and trip leaders may want to schedule a trip to Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia to to visit other key Revolutionary War Sites. Request a Quote or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Junior ROTC students: Major Battlefields Near Washington D.C. Student Tour

The Battle of Antietam was fought in Maryland during the Civil War.
The Battle of Antietam was fought in Maryland during the Civil War.

by Howard Clemens

For students who are studying to become soldiers and officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, reflecting on some of the largest (and bloodiest) land battles fought in our history can be insightful. Contemporary armies have far more technology on their side with faster transportation and communication, while their predecessors had much less. Despite obvious differences in eras studying the preparation and enfolding of significant Revolutionary and Civil War battles – and visiting these sites, can prove to be quite a lesson in strategy and execution in the theater of war.

Combat is a last resort for any country. Once initiated war has casualties. Troops and their families have to bear the brunt of war, with the threat of death, dismemberment and injury. With limited medical knowledge about infection and its cure, troops in the Revolutionary and Civil War had to suffer illnesses and infections that would be curable today. In addition, movement of deceased and injured bodies was a hardship, so the historical battlefields are often grave sites for those who have fallen.

This is all the more reason why ROTC students should visit these battlefield sites in person. Students will stay at a hotel in Northern Virginia so Washington D.C. is easily accessible. Bus service will be provided to each destination with maximum time estimates to be two to two and one half hours to reach the furthest battlefields.

Yorktown National Battlefield, Virginia (Revolutionary War)
Virginia is the site of many famous battlefields. Yorktown National Battlefield is the place where General George Cornwalis surrendered to General George Washington and French forces in the fall of 1781. This famous battlefield marked the end of the Revolutionary War. The victorious union of 13 states celebrated the culmination of a struggle to free themselves from British rule. Yorktown Battlefield is not only the jewel of all battlefields – it is vast. The tour is 16 miles and can be seen on a trolley. Earthworks have been preserved and areas where skirmishes were fought are marked and described. Learn how artillery and strategy as well as the placement of Yorktown on the York River helped to win the victory in the Revolutionary War.

Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland (Civil War)
Called the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the battle of Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862 . Over 23,000 soldiers who were killed, wounded or missing. In this battle, General Robert E. Lee shows his prowess by attacking the North in Western Maryland, in a 12-hour siege that devastated the city of Sharpsburg, Maryland. Because this battlefield is so close to Washington D.C., Lee was threatening the seat of power in the North. But Lee had other plans. He instructed Stonewall Jackson to secure Harper’s Ferry, the armory and supply line for Confederate soldiers in Virginia and further south. After securing Harper’s Ferry, Stonewall Jackson returned to Antietam to defend the battle line. The Confederate forces held their ground but buried their dead and retreated across the Potomac River, back to Virginia. President Lincoln responded by issuing a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the first step towards making slavery obsolete.

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia (Civil War)
There were two battles in Manassas, Virginia and both strengthened the positions of the Confederate army. Taking the battle to Virginia was seen as a way for the Union to end the war quickly. General Irvin McDowell set out to Richmond, the South’s capital, with 35,000 soldiers. He was stopped by approximately 22,000 Confederate soldiers, waiting for the advance. With the assistance of 10,000 troops stationed in Shenandoah Valley, the First Battle of Manassas began. Also called the Battle of Bull Run, so named for the river, this decisive battle is an example of military strategy and communication converging to bring about victory on the Confederate side. The second Battle of Manassas was another example of General Robert E. Lee’s exceptional battle strategies. After chasing the Union army away from Richmond and North, across the Rappahannock River, the Confederates engaged in another bloody battle near Manassas and held their position as the Union Army retreated to Washington D.C. to defend the capital. ROTC students will learn a great deal by considering the First and Second Battle(s) of Bull Run.

Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, Pennsylvania (Civil War)
Historic Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania is the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Here, President Lincoln delivered the “Gettysburg Address.” Gettysburg recently celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2013 to mark the battles of July 1863 that brought the Civil War to Northern territory. The National Park Service published several retrospective books on the “contributions of diverse ethnic groups to the Civil War” such as Asians and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Hispanics. To celebrate the 150th anniversary, there was a re-enactment of the Iron Brigade Charging McPherson’s Ridge –a decisive move for Union troops. The collections, relics of war and stories as well as photos and multimedia presentations and educational tours make the experience come alive for the young ROTC student.

ROTC instructors will consider this tour geared towards the future officer a solid learning experience. It will be especially helpful for the study of strategy. Even more notable will be the price of victory – through death, injury and loss of property for many. Students will come away from the Great Battlefields Tour with a greater body of knowledge about the United States early military history than before.
Learn more about creating a Great Battlefields Tour of Washington D.C. Email: info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Helpful Resources for Teachers
http://www.nps.gov/anti/learn/historyculture/upload/Battle%20history.pdf (Antietam)
http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/books.htm (Gettysburg)
http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/books.htm (Yorktown)

Capitol Renovation Project: Blended Learning For Class Trips to Washington D.C.

The Statue of Freedom stands high atop the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
The Statue of Freedom stands high atop the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

by Howard Clemens

Begun in 2013, the Washington D.C. Capitol Renovation project is now winding down. With the final coats of paint being added now is an excellent time to learn about the nation’s Capitol building – and see it anew. The signature dome needs periodic renovation because it is made of iron, and there are places where moisture has rusted the dome and its embellishments. This leakage affects overall structure. Since the status of the exterior threatens the interior of the Capitol, time was of the essence in spearheading this project.

The exterior of the capitol building was last renovated in the 1960s. A study revealed over one thousand cracks in need of repair, many on the east end of the building. To expeditiously reverse the aging building’s decay the Architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers, stepped in with a plan for a thorough overhaul of this historic building. He adapted a “lock and stitch” technique to patch the aging iron structure and envisioned a thoroughly repaired and sealed Capitol Dome from start to finish.

Piece by piece, the Architect of the Capitol and crew have been stirring up lost histories about the U.S. Capitol. The building itself was more like a forum at one time, with a large rotunda and place for representatives to meet formally to debate bills. In the 1860s, Thomas Walter, an architect, won a contest for plans to add two wings to the Capitol: one for senate offices and one for the house of representatives’ offices. His idea for the dome was not included in his contest submission. Instead, his vision of an ancient Roman and European inspired dome was part of a large drawing on his office wall. Being in the unique position of architect, Walter was able to convince government officials to sign onto his vision. The dome was completed in 1863.

Blended Learning About the Capitol
Students may not be on site at the Capitol, but can learn much about what goes on there by visiting the Architect of the Capitol website (www.aoc.gov) and viewing YouTube footage of this historical project. Here, individual details of the Capitol and its builders are featured.

A lengthier piece on the history of the Capitol to present day is available in a clip from Sixty Minutes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu3DicMrzKY). Viewing this news story will help students put the history of the Capitol into perspective.

Students may be all too familiar with the sight of the scaffolding covering the Capitol building on the news. Through class exercises students can be asked to closely examine the history of the U.S. Capitol. Informed by research, students will become familiar with the people and stories behind the Capitol building.

The Statue of Freedom
Considering the unique history of the Capitol’s expansion, it should come as no surprise the Statue of Freedom atop its peak is also mired in a remarkable history. Made by Thomas Crawford, an art student in France in 1863, the Bronze statue is a true symbol of the melting pot of humanity – converging in the United States. Crawford cast freedom as a woman who appears to be dressed in Native American garb and also has an eagle’s feathers and open beak draping her crown, with the nine stars of liberty around he forehead. In her left hand, the statue grasps “the laurel wreath of victory and the shield of the United States with 13 stripes.” The charm of her exquisite natural beauty and native garb combined with the symbolism of the eagle and stars and stripes make the crowning sculpture on the U.S. Capitol a symbol of a diverse nation with pride.

Students can further explore the history of the artist, Thomas Crawford, and detailed features of the statue of liberty at: http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/other-statues/statue-freedom.

Teachers will want to think about capping the in-classroom Web based learning and research by planning a real time class trip to Washington D.C. In D.C., student groups can see the inside of the Capitol Rotunda and tour the interior of the building to learn even more facts. Student groups will be able to observe the representative branch of government in action.

To learn more about scheduling a class trip to Washington D.C. Request a Quote.

Top Cities in the U.S. for Performance Tours: NYC, Washington D.C. & Orlando

High school bands, orchestras, ensembles, choirs and other student performance groups generally tour cities where they may perform in a public venue.   When arranging a band trip, I often recommend specific cities where musicians are encouraged to perform in some of the most visible public venues. Performance groups often travel to: New York City, Washington D.C., Orlando when traveling on the East Coast of the United States. Philadelphia and Atlanta are also popular choices for performing groups, however this piece will not offer an overview of these two cities.

I have selected the most current and popular performance venues in these cities. Adjudicated performance dates and parades for marching bands in these selected locations are also noted. Working with a student travel company with experience in performance is a must for a successful trip. Whatever need a performance group may have may be planned and adjusted by a professional. Band, orchestra and choir leaders can focus on preparing the group for performance through rehearsals, while the educational travel expert takes care of all of the necessary details for the trip.

New York City

Since many performing artists aspire to work on Broadway or in television or film, New York City is a premiere destination for student groups. Some of the most highly respected performance venues are located in New York City and available for booking public performances: the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations building and Lincoln Center are all popular choices for bands, orchestras and ensembles. Choir directors may also select The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. For performance groups that require adjudication (formal judging) the season for this type of festival runs from March 12-June 4.

Washington D.C.

Band trips headed to Washington D.C. will find a plethora of choices for performance venues. These include: The White House Ellipse, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Union Station, the U.S. Navy Memorial, the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall. For more information about adjudicated festivals in Washington D.C. contact a student travel company experienced in performance booking. For bandleaders interested in participating in parades in Washington D.C., consider the National Cherry Blossom Festival or the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Both occur in early spring – a great time to travel to Washington D.C.

Orlando

Orlando, Florida is an excellent destination for a student performance group. Universal Studios Florida provides the Star Performance Program for concert bands, marching bands, show choirs, dance teams and other performance groups. Student groups may perform at one of the five themed islands at Universal Islands of Adventure.

In Disney World, student bands, choirs, orchestras and ensembles as well as dance troupes have a variety of choices, too. Here they may play publicly at: Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT Center, the Disney-Hollywood Studios Theme Park and the Disney Village Marketplace.

For marching bands, Disney provides several different parades in their parks. Band trips can join the parade at Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot Center and Disney-Hollywood Studios Theme Park. Marching bands may also end up on stage after a parade for a ‘stand-up’ concert.

 For band leaders, choir leaders and music teachers, having the band perform to a new public audience is a large part of the reason for traveling. Students are introduced to new cities and travel experiences with fellow musicians. They rehearse more vigorously for these performances, and learn to set-up and break down a performance in an environment outside of school. In some cases, where time and budget allow for it, an educational travel company may even be able to schedule master classes with professional musicians in conjunction with the tour.

To schedule a band trip or performance tour, email info@eudcationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote.