Tag Archives: class trips washington dc

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.

Student Tours of the Pentagon and the 911 Pentagon Memorial in DC

Many student travel groups heading to New York City will visit the new 911 Memorial and Museum.  This phenomenal new National 9/11 Memorial is open to the public now and will be visited by many.

student travel washington dcDid you know there is also a National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Washington D.C.?  The memorial marks the site of the crash of American Airlines Flight 77. The large-scale outdoor memorial illustrates each person’s life with a line that begins with a birth year and ends on September 11, 2001. Prior to seeing the actual memorial, student groups will pass through the Memorial Gateway, where visitors will learn more about the Pentagon, and have time for reflection.

A Brief History of Pentagon’s Damage on 911
On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the Pentagon, after being hijacked by five terrorists. All on board Flight 77 died that day and so did nearly one hundred employees of the Pentagon, for a total of 184 people.  This section of the building was demolished and reconstructed. The building was created with safer construction features (such as walls and windows that can withstand blasts), and the new design deliberately excludes the escalator that used to connect the Pentagon to the Metro station.

911 Memorial Description
The exact position of the memorial is at the point of the plane’s impact that day, and there is even a black stone in the new foundation of the Pentagon, pulled from the demolition, that is inscribed with the date.  Each life lost is marked with the year the person was born, with a line extending out towards September 11, 2001.  Each memorial culminates in a bench made from marble and stainless steel and is inscribed with the person’s name. The National 911 Memorial at the Pentagon was dedicated in a public ceremony that included the families and loved ones of survivors in 2008, making it the first of the three national memorial sites (including New York City, World Trade Center and Shanksville, Pennsylvania) to be open to the public.

The 911 Memorial at the Pentagon is one aspect of the student trip to the Pentagon.  Provided there is enough advance planning, student tour groups headed to the Washington D.C. area can visit parts of the Pentagon that are accessible to the public and learn more about the military’s rich history and role in maintaining a democratic nation.

Is the Pentagon Accessible for Student Tour Groups?
In the post-911 era, procedures and rules when visiting a government building have changed. Despite heightened concerns about security, the Pentagon has done an excellent job of keeping the building open to student group tours. The tour guides at the Pentagon are staff members assigned the duty of conducting tours for a one-year period. Approximately 50 Pentagon employees are assigned the duty of taking students and other types of tour groups throughout this huge facility, and they are imminently qualified to do so.

Student Trips to Washington D.C. Consider Touring the Pentagon
In this age of technological and traditional warfare, the largest military installation in the U.S. is heavily guarded and has special rules for those who attend the 90-minute tours.  These tours offer a thorough overview of all branches of the military and a history of commemorative battles fought, so they are well worth it from an educational point of view.  For the ROTC student, and for the student thinking of enlisting in the military, a tour of the Pentagon will be fascinating.  These students will certainly learn more about the history and battles of their chosen branch of the military.

However, if all procedures are not honored by the entire student travel group, students will not be allowed to participate in the Pentagon tour. Just over 100,000 people toured the Pentagon last year, so it is certainly a privilege.  Tours can be booked 14-90 days in advance. Trip leaders and teachers need to let a qualified student travel company know of a student group’s intentions to take the Pentagon tour in the planning stages of trip to Washington D.C.

Student Travelers Must Follow Procedures for Pentagon Tour
Students cannot carry backpacks or camera bags, and pocketbooks will be subject to search.  Electronic devices of any kind are not permitted on tour – including cell phones and smartphones. No food or beverages or tobacco products are allowed on tour, nor are weapons or sharp objects that could be used as weapons permitted. All students on the Pentagon tour must have photo identification to be presented prior to beginning the tour.  Making sure each high school student has a proper identification, whether they hold a driver’s license or not, is a detail that needs to be confirmed before students board busses or planes for trips to Washington D.C.  It is important that Pentagon staff have an accurate record of persons entering and leaving the building.

The most challenging guidelines for today’s tech savvy high school student to observe will be the surrender of cell phones and other electronic devices. This informative tour will include nearly a mile and a half of walking. The immense size of the Pentagon and its history are sure to impress many students.

What Student Groups Can Learn from a Visit to the Pentagon
Because it houses leadership of the national defense, the Pentagon is a building that has airs of secrecy and mystery about it. Prior to an actual visit, it is likely many students’ opinions about the Pentagon may have been formed from watching television and movies.

Hollywood’s portrayals of Pentagon activities do not always reflect reality. Nor do fictional images of the Pentagon show the initiative, knowledge and skills behind the nearly 23,000 civilian and military employees who work at this complex everyday. Pentagon staff performs an array of duties that are integral to our nation’s defense.  By attending a Pentagon Tour, students will come away with more knowledge about warfare, and the way in which U.S. soldiers have distinguished themselves throughout history.  After a visit, student’s viewpoint of the Pentagon will be more accurate.

To schedule a student trip to Washington D.C. that includes a tour of the Pentagon, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

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.

National Museum of American History Perfect for Social Studies and History Students

The National Museum of American History is part of the Smithsonian and is a great place for student groups to learn more about American history.

For social studies and history students, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is a place for learning about any era of U.S. History. The ongoing exhibits are numerous and tackle larger topics such as:  The American Presidency:  A Glorious Burden, America on the Move, and American Heroes.  Some exhibits focus on a specific period in American History, such as Changing America: The Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.

The artifact walls are rotating exhibits that highlight great American achievements in the arts, science, social and political organizations and more.  The quintessential American experience is explored in this museum, filled with interactive exhibits that student travelers enjoy, engaging them more deeply in the study of history.

There are even online exhibitions, such as Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life, that coincide nicely with a study of the Civil War. These online exhibits can be used by teachers to prepare for student tours of Washington D.C. in advance and to augment classroom studies.

For teachers interested in taking a class trip to the National Museum of American History, there are many options to choose from. I will suggest visits to some of the ongoing exhibits. Teachers and trip leaders should also check the National Museum of American History’s website to see which Artifact Walls exhibitions will be on view.   The Artifact Walls series are rotating and cover many topics that may be of interest to student groups.

Students of social studies and history may be studying just one era of history. Most likely, their examination of American history will span long periods of time, such as the Colonial Era, Early American History, the Revolutionary War and Civil War.  Others may be examining the early 20th Century, World War I & World War II and Social and Political Revolutions of the 1960s and 70s.   Modern American history is also of interest to many students. Groups will find it all at this museum.

Some ongoing exhibits students will benefit from include:  The American Presidency:  A Glorious Burden. With artifacts and personal items from 43 presidents in the collection there are sure to be interesting things to learn. Teachers may elect to focus on one or several presidents who governed during the historical period being studied.

Another exhibit that may be of interest to students studying the expansion and development of the American frontier is Conestoga Wagon and Hand-Pumped Fire Engine. Wagons were a necessary component of the American pioneer’s lifestyle and livelihood, enabling them to carry people and goods long distances.  The hand-pumped fire engine was also a necessity. Many were designed for use in urban areas where fires could spread to whole neighborhoods.

Lighting a Revolution is another exhibit that may be of interest to student travelers. Edison’s light bulb changed the everyday life of Americans forever, helping to introduce the use of electric lighting instead of gas or candles and electric appliances and other inventions to the free market.

The Price of Freedom, Americans at War is an exhibit that will enhance studies of many wars from the Revolutionary War period to the present day.  The use of personal narratives to tell the stories of American history is a common educational tool used in these exhibits that has the effect of bringing history closer.

Souvenir Nation:  Relics, Keepsakes and Curios is an ongoing exhibit at the Smithsonian Castle, where students can also have a snack or drink at the café and use the free wifi available.  Trip leaders may want to schedule a morning or afternoon at the National Museum of American History to have time to take it all in.

Request a quote for a history or social studies student trips to Washington, D.C.

Educational Travel Consultants Expands Staff, Celebrates 30 Years in Business

(Hendersonville, NC)  Educational Travel Consultants (ETC) celebrates its 30th year in the student travel business. ETC was founded by Howard and Cheryl Clemens, now deceased. Their daughters, Tiffany and Kristen Clemens, are assuming management roles in the company this year, with their father, Howard Clemens, as CEO.  “I’m pleased Tiffany and Kristen are as committed to this company as I am,” remarked Howard Clemens.  “We’ve been organizing student trips to Washington D.C. and other locations since they were children, so they have plenty of experience.  Their mother was a real motivating force in getting them involved in running the company.”

Tiffany Clemens graduated from the University of Texas Brownsville with a Bachelors degree in International Business. She speaks Spanish and is working on a Certificate from New York University in Spanish to English translation. Tiffany Clemens has worked for ETC since 2002 and she is the General Manager.

Kristen Clemens has a background in education. Her previous positions were at the Love and Learning Pre-School and Telamond Migrant Headstart. At Telamond, she used her fluency in Spanish to work with a Hispanic student population.  Kristen Clemens is Educational Travel Coordinator for K-12 school trips.

ETC began by serving the Washington D.C., New York City and Orlando student travel markets in 1983, with informative educational tours for K-12 groups at affordable prices with no hidden charges or fees.

As the company evolved, student tours of Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Williamsburg and Gettysburg were added to the roster as well as other major U.S. cities and some Canadian and Mexican destinations.

ETC became popular with educators who coordinated trips with the company each year.  ETC founders and staff started to formulate specific tours geared towards areas of study such as history, science, performance and other types of class trips. Staff accommodated teachers by designing custom school trips to focus on special areas of study.  The professionalism ETC staff demonstrates has enabled the company to retain loyal teachers and student travelers for decades.

Over the past three decades, ETC established a solid name as a student tour company to be relied upon to keep prices for individual students low enough for the maximum number of students to attend their class trips.  Visit the website to learn more about Educational Travel Consultants or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Student Trip to Washington D.C. to Study History

For a year leading up to the student Washington D.C. trip, teacher Michelle Rochel prepares her students for the journey in her classroom. She currently teaches 5th and 6th grade Religion, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade Social Studies and Science. She is also the Middle School Coordinator and Dean of Students at Saint Anne Catholic School in Somerset, Wisconsin.  For the past ten years, Rochel has been taking her students to Washington D.C. where they can learn firsthand about American history.

Student Trip to Washington D.C. Enhances Classroom Studies
“I think this is something every child should experience,” said Rochel. “I am grateful for the opportunity to bring them to Washington D.C. and have them be witnesses to history,” she added.  The trip enhances their studies of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. presidents and the Holocaust, to name just a few aspects of American history covered.

To pay for travel expenses, students and parents engage in fundraising beginning sometimes two years prior to the Washington D.C. trip. “Right now, we are one-fourth of the way towards our fundraising goals,” commented Rochel.

Students View the Holocaust Museum Exhibits
One of the most memorable parts of the trip included a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  When the group visited the Holocaust Museum, “They were speechless,” recalled Rochel.  “In the classroom, we went in depth in our studies of Holocaust victims and survivors. At this museum they could see the human faces that went into these stories. It will be something they never forget.”  The powerful, graphic images of mass extermination of the Jewish people and others Hitler deemed outcasts are a great deal to process.  The interactive exhibits at the museum as well as personal stories gathered from survivors make the information accessible and the experience authentic.

Newseum Well-Loved by Students and Teacher
The student group also visited the Newseum — right in the heart of Washington D.C. This museum is equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia delivery of historical information.  All major media news sources are represented with interactive exhibits. Video, audio, photographic and written information is presented for easy assimilation. Excerpts from interesting and volatile periods in American history are featured.  Rochel said, “All of the kids were able to find something in the Newseum of interest, whether it was sports, world news, current events, or other topics that intrigued them.  There was something for everyone in the Newseum.  I am hoping to include this museum on our next Washington D.C. trip.”

Rochel’s students visited many other places in Washington D.C., including the Smithsonian American and Natural History Museums, the National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol Building, the White House Photo Shop, Mount Vernon, the Air and Space Museum and the National Zoo.  They also attended mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.   This ambitious itinerary was well worth it, especially because some of Rochel’s students have never been on an airplane, or to the East Coast.  “They return with a deeper appreciation and a better understanding of their own history,” said Rochel.

Request a Quote for a student trip to Washington D.C. Or, email an educational travel consultant for more information:  info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

An Educational Tour of Washington D.C. Designed for Junior ROTC or Social Studies Students

Washington D.C. has a great deal to offer for student tours of the city and surrounding area. In fact, there are so many different choices, that student travel trip coordinators might just become overwhelmed. Choosing a qualified and experienced student travel company can certainly help focus a trip and align it with curricular objectives.

Over the years I have developed many different types of trips that tie into a variety of curriculums such as art, history, government, performance tours, science, and more. I have designed a school trip for middle school students and JROTC students studying major U.S. conflicts of the 20th Century.  This educational tour helps students take a closer look at the Vietnam and Korean Wars as well as World War II.  Student travel groups visit sites in Washington D.C. which are directly related to these conflicts. I have organized these tours around the themes of sacrifice and conflict.

Depending upon time allowance, student groups may also plan to visit the main destinations for any educational tour of Washington D.C. The selection of sites might also include a visit to the White House, Capitol Building, Smithsonian Museum, and popular choices for dining, entertainment, and shopping.

Following are my suggestions for destinations for Social Studies and or JROTC students who are studying modern wars:

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam conflict was one of the most politicized events of the 20th Century.  Students studying it will want to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. The names of soldiers who died in this conflict are embedded in the wall for all to remember.  On any given day, student groups may see families and loved ones of fallen soldiers honoring their loss with flowers, vigils, personal memorabilia, and more.  Groups visiting the wall may want to opt for the ranger guided interpretive tour, where stories about individual soldiers and units are recounted, as well as a brief history of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial was opened to the public in 1995 and dedicated by President Bill Clinton and President Kim Young Sam.  Nearby the wall of pictures and names, there are 19 stainless steel statues of soldiers, representing all four branches of the military and from diverse backgrounds. The statues of infantryman and medical personnel appear to be walking in the same proximity as the wall and even emerge from the nearby woods.   The mural displays 2,400 photographs from the Korean War obtained from the National Archives.  Visiting the Korean War Veterans Memorial, students gain a more in depth perspective of this War and its impact on Korean and American life.

Holocaust Museum

The Holocaust Museum is a must see for anyone studying World War II.  It details the systematic, bureaucratic killing of Jews, Russians, Poles, Communists, homosexuals, disabled people and others who were targeted by the Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe.  Students will learn about the Holocaust by viewing historical film footage, artifacts, photographs, and listening to stories recorded by survivors and witnesses. Much of the material in this museum is difficult to contemplate. The events of the holocaust have been well-documented in history books, biographies, fiction and non-fiction. Various texts can be studied alongside a visit to the Museum.   Yet there is really no substitute for the up-close, visual viewpoint provided by the Holocaust Museum which gives a student an even broader perspective and context in which to study this atrocity.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is just outside of Washington D.C. in the Northern Virginia town of Arlington, and is well worth the visit. These burial grounds are the place where many prominent American explorers, judges and historical figures are buried, right alongside of the common soldier who fought for his or her country and died for freedom.  The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at Arlington and students may observe it being guarded closely by a professional soldier. With enough advance planning, student travel group coordinators may request that their visit to Arlington National Cemetery coincide with a formal wreath laying ceremony, a solemn and colorful tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Smithsonian Museum

The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. has many facets.  Student groups who are looking to gain a full understanding of American conflicts in the 20th Century will want to schedule some time at the National Museum of American History.  School trips visiting this Museum will find additional information, photographs, relics, films, and stories about the U.S. conflicts mentioned above. The National Museum of American History will expand upon knowledge gathered at all of the sites visited.  This Museum also offers some exceptional curricular materials that can be utilized in the classroom when prepping students to study these wars and make a visit to our nations capitol.

To request a quote simply fill out the online questionnaire or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

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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Washington D.C.: Popular Places to Dine, Entertain, and Shop With Student Travel Groups

Students traveling to Washington D.C. on tour are more likely to enjoy themselves when the educational experience is coupled with dining and entertainment experiences they find exciting. An educational travel company and the tour guide working in the Washington D.C. area can work together to add some age appropriate experiences to student travel that will be well remembered. The good news for parents, teachers, and administrators is that it is not necessary to depart from the educational objectives of the student trip to satisfy the student group’s yearning for something different.

Recently, I interviewed Ann Greenwald, a Tour Director and a licensed Washington D.C. guide who has been working in the profession for eight years. Greenwald has given knowledgeable and insightful guided tours to many student travel groups in and around Washington D.C. and has a real feel for the types of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences students enjoy. The selections discussed are popular and economic choices for student travel tour itineraries.

Student Travel Groups: Shopping in Washington D.C.

When students shop, they do so to purchase souvenirs, or small gifts for their families and friends. A shopping experience for a student on tour in Washington D.C. can be as simple as visiting the National Archives and picking up a replica of the Declaration of Independence in the gift shop. “At the Air and Space Center, students get a kick out of buying the freeze dried ice cream that astronauts eat,” says Ann Greenwald.

Student travel groups often gravitate toward the more economical choices for shopping – such as a souvenir store. Ann Greenwald says there are two very popular stores among student groups in downtown Washington D.C.: “Students love Souvenir City & Joes. Both stores offer reasonably priced t-shirts and sweatshirts. FBI and Secret Service hats are popular among student travel groups and can be purchased at either store. Any shopping experience tied into the educational experience can be rewarding and fun.”

Combine Dining and Entertainment in Washington D.C.: Student Favorites

There are several great restaurants in the Washington D.C. area that combine dining and entertainment and are well loved by student travel groups. “McGill’s Pizza in Annandale, Virginia is a student favorite,” said Greenwald. “McGill’s has an arcade with a game room, so students can win things when they purchase tickets,” she added.
The ESPN Zone, in downtown Washington D.C. is also popular among student travel groups. It’s conveniently located around the corner from Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. Greenwald says, “Student groups can have a meal, and if it’s included in their tour they receive a $10 card that may be used in the downstairs arcade.”
Another popular eatery for student groups on tour of Washington D.C. is the Hard Rock Café. “Student travel groups just think it’s cool to go into the Hard Rock Café,” says Greenwald. “There’s the memorabilia, pictures, and rock music playing all the time,” she continued, “and all of this adds to the appeal for student travelers.”
Consider combining food and entertainment on a student travel tour of Washington D.C. one evening to lighten the student group’s spirits and put them in a great mood for touring the next day.

Entertainment for Student Travel Groups
There are numerous choices for entertainment in Washington D.C. that will captivate student travel groups. Greenwald says that if it’s in the student travel budget, attending “Sheer Madness” at the Kennedy Center is an evening that student travelers enjoy immensely. The interactive murder mystery dinner theater format gets students involved with the theater production and outcome of the ‘whodunit’ plot.

Finally, an evening illuminated tour of the monuments in Washington D.C. can be a great way to draw student travelers into the experience of history. Greenwald commented, “ As the symbolism is explained at the various monuments, kids gain a better understanding of history. Instead of just staring at an inanimate object, I explain why the monument is there, and what the symbolism signifies. They come away with a greater understanding of U.S. history, and the permanent mark it has left on Washington D.C.” An evening walk around Washington D.C. in the spring or fall adds an outdoor dimension to touring that is appreciated by all. Students should plan accordingly by brining appropriate clothing for Washington D.C. weather during the time of year they visit.

These recommended choices for dining, entertainment and shopping for student travel are by no means a comprehensive list of the possibilities. The suggestions Greenwald makes for student groups on tour of Washington D.C. are simple and cost effective so they make great additions to a trip itinerary. For the student traveler, a tour of Washington D.C. is an intense four to five day learning experience which needs to be balanced with some good old fashioned fun. Request a Quote for a student travel tour of Washington D.C. that includes some great dining, shopping and entertainment choices.

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