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Lessons of History and Freedom: Student Trip to Washington, DC is Enlightening and Eye-Opening for Students

By Howard Clemens

Recently, teacher Brynley Martin, who has taught eighth grade English Literature and history at Oak Hill Jr. High School for twelve years, took her students on a tour of Washington, DC. It’s a trip her classes make every year, and one that new students look forward to and former ones always remember fondly.  When students travel to Washington D.C., they get to immerse themselves in their fields of study in ways that go far beyond requisite classroom discussion and research.

This particular student tour covers a wide range, from cornerstones like the National Archives (in which the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence are housed) to the many exhibits in the Smithsonian, like the American History and Air and Space Museums. This student travel group also visited Mount Vernon, the plantation of George Washington and landmark of the Revolutionary War.  It was important to Martin that the students also take a close look at the Holocaust Museum—an experience many students have described as profound and life-changing.

I recently interviewed Brynley Martin about her most recent class trip from Converse, Indiana to Washington D.C.

Q: What is your official title at Oak Hill Jr. High School?

A: I am an eighth grade English and Literature teacher.

Q: How often do you take your students on tour in Washington D.C.?

A: This will be my seventh year. The tours have been great, and every one of them is different.  Every student group is composed of students who are seeing and assimilating these sites for the first time.

Q: Have you toured other cities in the US?

A: No, just Washington D.C. so far.

Q: Washington is a city that’s critical for an understanding of U.S. History. How does the tour of DC tie into the class you teach? What specific parts of American history are covered?

A:  We dedicate nine weeks in literature class to the study of the Holocaust. We visit The Holocaust Museum to supplement our studies and to understand the real stories of people who suffered and died in it.  This puts a greater emphasis on what we’ve learned. We also study the origins of the U.S., from the Revolutionary up to the Civil War.

Q: The Newseum is a museum dedicated to news and media in American culture. This ties directly into written and spoken language in English, and the ways it’s used to communicate information. Can you comment on student’s reactions to visiting it?

A: On previous trips, we hadn’t had time to really check things out. But the students loved it. There’s so much stuff to see there, something for everyone.

Q: Your class visited the National Archives. What specifically did you want your students to see there?

A: Specifically, the Declaration of Independence, which is sometimes not the easiest thing to see because the lines are so long. It was great for them to be able to see it in detail during this last trip.

Q: How was your trip to the Holocaust Museum?

A: We always request the full tour there. It is very important to our trip, and the kids are moved by it. They get to learn about the Holocaust through more than just books, which always affects them in profound and significant ways.

Q: Describe any post-trip writing or speaking students were required to perform to assimilate their experiences.

A: All students bring a disposable camera on the trip. They use their photos to create a comprehensive and individual project about their own experience. They present this project to the rest of the class, through the lens of their own point of view.

Q: How long have you been doing these tours? What has been your experience with the tour guides and other staff?

A: I think we’ve been traveling for six years now. The tour guides have been awesome! They are very knowledgeable about Washington D.C. and have always worked well with us to solve any problems that might come up. It’s been a great experience, overall.

Diversity of Impressions and Increased Appreciation of History: Something for Every Student Trip

Every student will take something personal away with them from the trip, while also gaining a greater understanding of history and the way language is used to make and change it. Exposing students to places like the Holocaust Museum is instrumental in promoting an understanding of the ethical responsibilities of history. Up close and personal exposure to exhibits housed in the National Archives and the Smithsonian can provide a fresh and vital perspective for learning. All these make for a uniquely visceral experience that serve to broaden and enhance classroom studies in essential and innovative ways. Martin feels that these trips to Washington D.C. positively impact her students, and broaden their appreciation and knowledge of their studies, so she will continue to take groups on tour.

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Student Travel Groups Heading to Washington D.C.: What’s New?

For teachers seeking to provide their students with an invigorating, immersive, and comprehensive exposure to art, culture, history, and just about anything else, Washington D.C. is the place to be.  A student trip to Washington D.C. is one of the gold standards of educational travel. Student travel groups have a range of famous landmarks at their fingertips, from Ford’s Theater to Arlington National Cemetery to the Library of Congress to the quaint hustle and bustle of Georgetown. There is something for everyone in this great city, and its liveliness makes for a one-of-a-kind experience that makes learning fun, exciting, and revelatory.

For students studying history, the city is nothing short of an invaluable resource.  Seeing everything could take weeks. For student tour groups on limited schedules, a focused itinerary for a three or four day tour works best.

The list of sites to see is growing now that Washington D.C. has added some new war memorials, a site dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a branch of the Smithsonian that focuses on African American History. Students who visit these places will gain a broader understanding of American history.

The World War II Memorial, on 17th Street between Constitution and Independence Avenues, is surrounded by the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and combines beautiful architecture with many moving testaments to those who participated in one of the 20th century’s greatest epochs. At the crossroads of these three great attractions, students will get an acute and unforgettable sense of the nation’s past. Featuring the famous “Rainbow Pool” and an its mingling fountains, the memorial is open from 9 am until 11:45 pm, and the National Park Service provides guided tours every hour, on the hour, from 10 am -11pm. Teachers can search the computerized World War II registry for information, and use the material to prepare students for this trip with advance lessons in the classroom.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, at 1964 Independence Avenue on the National Mall is a special address because the street number refers to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The MLK Memorial is a highly unique structure designed, like all of Washington’s memorials, to draw the spectator into a uniquely “hands-on” historical experience. Students can stroll the grounds, which are flanked by an abundance of cherry blossom trees and crepe myrtles, and read stone-etched inscriptions from the “I Have a Dream” speech.  The statue of Dr King itself, as massive and awe-inspiring as the Lincoln Memorial, is almost Egyptian/Sphinxlike in scope.  Visiting this new memorial to an American dedicated to the advancement of civil rights is a must for any group studying African American history and its historical and contemporary impact on the world we live in.

On the same topic, the Smithsonian Museum of African Natural History just had its groundbreaking ceremony in February of 2012, and is scheduled to officially open in 2013. The Museum of African Natural History has exhibits that are presently housed on the second floor of the National Museum of American History. From their current exhibition, “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty” to their upcoming show, ”The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963” (slated to debut in December 2012), the Museum provides a comprehensive and essential overview of African American life down through the generations, from music to sports to arts and politics. Many have been anticipating the opening of this new Smithsonian Museum where African American culture and tradition is highlighted.

Like New York City, Washington D.C. is a city that can be regarded as one of “the crossroads of the world.” There is no end to the varieties of experiences here, whether a student group is touring its many ethnic neighborhoods, dining at a variety of wonderful restaurants, touring the museums, memorials or the Capital and White House, or just steeping themselves in its atmosphere and energy in general. Teachers and student groups have loved the U.S. Capital city for all of its history, government, culture, dining and entertainment and it’s splendid architecture and memorials.

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Student Trips: Take the Virginia Presidents’ Tour or Add a Day to Washington D.C. Itinerary

Did you know some of the most prominent presidents, all founding fathers, lived in Virginia? Virginia was the seat of the colonial government and the place where the final battle of the American Revolutionary War took place at Yorktown. It’s no wonder that educated men and landholders who founded the nation lived and prospered during their time in Virginia.

Consider taking a student travel group on a themed tour of the plantations and estates of Virginia presidents. The Virginia presidents’ tour is an exciting way to present Early American presidents to students in social studies or history classes. Engage them in an active learning experience at some of the sites, such as Mount Vernon, where costumed interpreters/actors present history in short narratives.

On this educational tour, students may visit the dwellings of the following presidents, who lived in Virginia: George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon; Thomas Jefferson’s estate where he resided until his death: Monticello near Charlottesville; James Madison’s estate home, in Montpelier between Richmond and Charlottesville; and James Monroe’s former home at Ash Lawn-Highland, known simply as Highland during his time, is adjacent to Monticello in Charlottesville.

Mount Vernon: Estate of George Washington
Mount Vernon is just 16 miles from Washington D.C. George Washington’s plantation sits on the banks of the Potomac River. Student travel groups may tour the main mansion and the outbuildings on the property. A four-acre working farm is part of the tour and includes living history presentations. Student trips interested in the “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets Tour” can learn about the filming of the movie at Mount Vernon and ways in which the basement was actually utilized during Washington’s time. If time allows, visit the The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the Ford Orientation Center to view some of the interactive exhibits.

Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Home
Student tour groups who travel to Monticello will come to understand one of the greatest figures in American history. Tour groups will see the mansion, designed (and redesigned) by Thomas Jefferson along with gardens and dependencies. Monticello is indeed a special place, where Jefferson’s legacy and his home and its contents are preserved and remembered. It is here that Thomas Jefferson’s epitaph reads “All my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello.” Jefferson wanted to be remembered as author of the Constitution, father of the University of Virginia, and author of the statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. Visit http://www.classroom.monticello.org for online educational materials to prepare for the student trip.

James Madison’s Mansion in Charlottesville
James Madison also resided near Charlottesville, at his mansion named Montpelier. Montepelier was recently restored. The plantation is 2,650 acres of gardens, grounds, walking trails and woods. Montepelier was built by James Madison, Sr. in 1764 and modified twice by James Madison Jr. to accommodate the numerous guests of state that would visit after he was elected President. In addition to James and Dolly Madison and their children, slaves and freedmen lived and worked at Montpelier until emancipation. Students will learn about the rich history of Montpelier, and view the growing collection of artifacts.

Learn About James Monroe’s Mansion in Charlottesville
Ash Lawn-Highland was James Monroe’s estate in Charlottesville and it is currently a museum as well as a 535-acre working farm, and a performing arts center. The Monroe estate is adjacent to Monticello. Jefferson was a lifelong friend of James Monroe. The Monroe family, which included his wife, Elizabeth, his son James Spence Monroe, and his daughter, Eliza lived at Highland estate for 24 years. James Monroe fought under George Washington at the Battle of Trenton and spent the cold winter at Valley Forge. He later distinguished himself as a diplomat to France, Britain, and Spain, and as the Secretary of State and Secretary of War for James Madison’s administration, during the War of 1812. Monroe was instrumental in negotiating a final treaty for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and is known for the Monroe Doctrine. Student groups who visit Ash Lawn-Highland will see that it is still being partially used as a residence. Monroe bequeathed his estate to his alma mater, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg whose alumni use it as a retreat even today.

A tour of Washington D.C. can be greatly enhanced with an itinerary that includes the homes of Virginia presidents. These intimate spaces illustrate what it might have been like to live in Early America during a time when democracy was at its formative stages. To request a quote on a student tour of Washington D.C. that includes a visit to the presidential homes in Virginia email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a quote.

Add a Tour of Virginia Battlefields to a Washington D.C. Student Trip

Student trips headed to Washington D.C. to tour may want to consider adding a visit to some Civil War battlefields in nearby Virginia to their itinerary. Many of the critical battles of the Civil War were fought in Virginia, with the ultimate goal being the capture of Richmond by Union forces, since it was the Confederate Capitol.

The furthest of the battlefields I suggest is Petersburg — a three-hour bus ride away. Appomattox, Shenandoah, Fredericksburg and Richmond are approximately two hours or less from Washington D.C.

A student trip can also be built solely around the Civil War. Or, it may include a more comprehensive look at history, beginning with the settlement of Jamestown and Williamsburg as Colonial capitals, and the early days of the Revolutionary War.

Shenandoah: New Market Battlefield and State Historical Park
The site of one of the Confederate victories, New Market Battlefield was the place where early in the war, young cadets from Virginia Military Institute fought and won a victory for the South. Student trips may visit a 19th Century farm, tour the Hall of Valor Civil War Museum, and learn about the actual cadets who made a difference that day.

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Civil War Battlefields
These sites are within a forty-five minute drive from Williamsburg, so student trip organizers may want to consider a visit to Colonial Williamsburg and/or Jamestown and Yorktown while visiting the area. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and the Manassas National Battlefield Park are important components to any study of the Civil War. Manassas is the Virginia town where The Battle of Bull Run was fought. One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Fredericksburg, was fought there and was considered a great victory for General Robert E. Lee. Chatham Manor is located at Fredericksburg and was at one time a hospital and Union headquarters. Three other battles fought between 1862-64 include: Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Wilderness, and Battle of Spotsylvania.

Petersburg: the Siege Ending the Civil War
The historic battle where General Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant’s armies faced off for the final battle of the Civil War was the Siege of Petersburg, a strategic supply point for the Confederate Army. During this battle, which lasted nearly a year, Confederate troops dug in while the Union army seized railroad supply lines surrounding Petersburg with the ultimate goal of taking Richmond. Grant’s army was successful at routing Lee and his army from Petersburg, and this decisive battle helped to end the Civil War in 1865. Teachers may easily prepare a curriculum for the student trip by consulting the website at http://www.nps.gov/pete/forteachers/index.htm.

Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier
Pamplin was the place near Richmond where the decisive Breakthrough Battle occurred April 2, 1865. After the Confederate Army suffered a loss at Pamplin, Richmond was evacuated. Pamplin encompasses 422 acres. Student groups will be engaged in interactive living history programs, and have access to four different museums at this location. Student groups may visit four antebellum homes and shopping facilities.

Richmond: Confederate Capital
As the site of the White House of the Confederacy and the present day Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond is a must see on a Civil War tour of Virginia. Richmond is significant because the siege of Richmond signified the war’s end. There were also numerous battles fought there from the beginning of the Civil War in 1862, mostly in the farm and plantation land surrounding the city. Richmond National Battlefield Park spans 1900 acres and is divided into 13 units. Numerous battles were fought throughout the war in the Richmond area. Richmond’s inhabitants saw a steady stream of wounded and were subject to rationing on a regular basis. Learn about the lives of United States Coloured Troops (USCT) who fought for the Union at the Battle of New Market and were one of the first regiments to reach Richmond. Tour the battlefield by bus and stop at some of the earthworks to view them up close. Teachers may prepare an advance lesson plan by visiting: http://www.nps.gov/rich/forteachers/curriculum-based-programs.htm.

Appomattox Courthouse: Where the Civil War Ended

Grant and Lee at Appomattox Courthouse signed the final treaty sanctioning the end of the Civil War. On April 9, 1865 Lee requested a private meeting with Grant. They convened at the McLean residence in Appomattox Courthouse, where they conversed like gentlemen for 25 minutes before Lee mentioned a surrender of his troops. Grant put his terms in writing and Lee reviewed them there. Lee requested his men be allowed to keep their horses, since in the Confederate Army the men owned them. He also mentioned his troops were hungry. As an act of good will, Grant dispatched 25,000 rations that day. The war between the states ended quite calmly in this historic town in Virginia. A visit to Appomattox Courthouse is an excellent educational experience for any group. Learning materials for curriculum development are available at http://www.nps.gov/apco/forteachers/curriculummaterials.htm.

It is obvious that Virginia is a pivotal state in the study of the Civil War. Consider a statewide tour focused on the subject of the Civil War completely, or develop a combination tour with a visit to Washington D.C. or Williamsburg for even greater coverage of American history. Whatever the itinerary or learning objective for a student group, a visit to historic Civil War sites in Virginia can be integrated into just about any type of educational tour.

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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Add On Day Trips for Student Travel to Washington D.C.

Student travel groups headed to the Washington D.C. area may want to consider adding on day or overnight trips to nearby areas relevant to colonial or revolutionary history. There are many rich educational experiences in the Washington D.C. area, and even more destinations just a 2-4 hour driving distance outside of Washington D.C.
In my experience as an educational travel consultant, groups benefit greatly from visiting additional cities. From an educational perspective, it gives students a much wider scope of the historic period they are studying. For many groups, a study of the Civil War is relevant to their tour, and a northern and southern perspective is needed for a complete overview of the Civil War period.
Suggestions for additional cities that can easily be added to a student travel trip to Washington D.C. are included here. If the student group flies into Washington D.C., a motor coach can be utilized to travel to additional destinations such as Williamsburg, Gettysburg, and Philadelphia and Lancaster.

Williamsburg
Approximately three hours south of Washington D.C. is the town of Williamsburg Virginia. Williamsburg was the 18th Century colonial capital, and the place where the Governor resided. Colonial Williamsburg has been called the living history capital of the east, and for good reason. A student travel group can tour the town and watch history come alive as costumed interpreters tell stories derived from historical records, and give more detailed information about buildings and colonial lifestyles. Students embrace living history because it’s a fun way to learn. If student groups can stay in the Williamsburg area overnight, an additional trip to Historic Jamestown, site of the first permanent English settlement, and Yorktown National Battlefield, significant in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, is plausible.

Gettysburg
The Gettysburg National Military Park is located about two hours northwest of Washington D.C. and makes for a nice additional city to add on to a student travel tour.

The Educational Travel Consultants student tour of the Gettysburg battlefields includes a tour guide with expert knowledge of the Gettysburg area and the Civil War era. Student travel groups should be prepared to tour for two to three hours. A visit the National Park Visitor Center benefits student groups by giving them a better understanding of the Gettysburg National Battlefield history through exhibits and films.

Philadelphia and Lancaster
Student travel groups who explore the educational venues in Washington D.C. will expand their knowledge of history when they take a short trip to Philadelphia and/or Lancaster Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia walking tour is a great way for student travel groups to familiarize themselves with colonial history and the history of the U.S. government. A tour of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were both composed. Students can also see the Liberty Bell, Visit Betsy Ross’s house and walk in Elfreth’s Alley, one of the oldest residential streets in Philadelphia, which dates back to 1702.
In nearby Lancaster Pennsylvania, students can experience the Amish way of life, tour a working farm, and dine at an authentic Amish restaurant.
With all of the additional choices for educational travel outside of Washington D.C., there are lots of creative ways to construct an interesting trip that will give a group a great overview of history and be fun and interesting at the same time.

Here’s a link to the article on ArticleSphere.com.

Washington D.C. and Williamsburg Virginia: A Time to Tour

There’s never been a better time to sign up for a combination tour of Washington D.C., Williamsburg and Jamestown.

Washington D.C. is a great learning experience for student tour groups because students get to observe our government in action. Student travel groups can also stop at historical points of interest such as Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, and the Pentagon, for even more insight into U.S. history.

Just a mere 2 hours south of the Washington D.C. metro area, Williamsburg Virginia awaits. A visit to Williamsburg and Jamestown helps students to envision the settlement of the colonies hundreds of years earlier.

This year, Jamestown celebrates its 400th Anniversary of the English settlement, in 1607. Jamestown’s 400th anniversary is characterized by numerous keynote events, and is being celebrated throughout the Southeastern Virginia area even outside of Williamsburg and Jamestown.

But the most exciting development for student tour groups in 2007 is the enhancement of exhibits at Jamestown Settlement and at Colonial Williamsburg.

In preparation for the anniversary celebration, Jamestown Settlement underwent renovations and large additions were made to the new visiting center. This new state-of-the-art visitor center has interactive exhibits for the active student learner. Students may visit a replica of an Indian village, and board the three ships that took the English to Virginia: the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery. Inside the museum, real documents and artifacts surrounding the settlement of Virginia are on display.

Colonial Williamsburg has always excelled at presenting living history programs that appeal to the student traveler. Depictions of the heyday of Virginia’s second capital, Williamsburg, include narratives developed from historical documents that include the perspectives of women, slaves, Native Americans, criminals, and more.

Find out how your travel group may schedule a tour of Washington D.C., Williamsburg and Jamestown. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com and an educational travel professional will get right back to you.

Washington D.C. and Williamsburg Jamestown Yorktown Tour: How to Make it All Work

If an educational travel group is bound for Washington D.C. and the educators wish to expand that group’s exploration of our nation’s history, a visit to Virginia is in order. Just 2 ½ hours south of Washington D.C. by bus, Early American history awaits in Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown Settlement.

In 2007, Historic Jamestown celebrates its 400th Anniversary of the settlement of the English Colonies. This year kicks off many living history programs that explain the early colonial era from diverse perspectives. Even after 2007 is complete, many of these educational programs and exhibits will stay in place so the student traveler may learn from them, even if they do not make their visit during the 400th anniversary year.

The challenge for any educational travel company is how to make all of these destinations work for one student travel tour. For a four to five day tour, it takes advance planning and coordination to include educational tour highlights of Washington D.C. and Williamsburg & Jamestown in one tour — with many participants.

Here are some of the highlights I include in my company’s student travel tour of Washington D.C., Williamsburg & Jamestown:

Washington D.C.
Student travel groups enjoy a guided tour of the complete Washington D.C. area that includes sites such as The Capitol, The White House, the Lincoln Memorial, Supreme Court, National Archives and more. Students may also visit sites in Northern Virginia such as Mount Vernon and the Arlington Cemetery. As with all of our student travel groups, accommodations are in three diamond interior corridor suburban hotel, with 24-hour security provided.

Williamsburg Virginia
After two days of touring the Washington D.C. area, students embark on a short 2 ½ hour journey to Williamsburg Virginia to experience the colonial era with living history on the educational program. The Colonial Williamsburg complete sightseeing tour will include a visit to 18th Century historical buildings such as the Capitol and the Courthouse, the Public Hospital of 1773, Raleigh Tavern, and the Peyton Randolph House.

Jamestown Settlement Virginia
Jamestown Settlement is a recreation of the first English settlement in Virginia, Jamestown Island. Student travel groups will see replicas of the ships that made the journey from England: the Discovery, the Godspeed and Susan Constant. They will enter a living history exhibit of an Indian Village, and see a recreation of James Fort, where the colonists first lived. This interactive approach to history, called living history or even active learning by some educators, is a great way to engage students in learning about the colonial era.

The educational student tour of Washington D.C. and Williamsburg/Jamestown is balanced by fun and educational experiences. Students benefit from a guided tour of Washington D.C. and historic Williamsburg and living history educational programs at Jamestown Settlement. With this approach to educational travel, students are given a great learning experience as well as a trip to remember for a lifetime.

Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.: Educators Can Create Student Travel Trips in Sync with Curriculum Goals

The Smithsonian Museum is vast and cannot be taken in just one day. Student travel tour organizers need to think carefully when planning a trip to the Smithsonian Museum. There are so many options to choose from and educators may benefit from tying the trips to the Museum in with curricular goals.

Nevertheless, there are some Smithsonian Museums that seem to be requested more by educational travel groups. I have highlighted them in a recent article, outlining the educational benefits of different museums. educationaltravelconsultants.com/blog/?p=20.

This article gives a basic overview of selected Smithsonian Museums and also offers suggestions on academic fields of interest, which may tie into visits to specific museums.

To help educators plan their student travel tour of Washington D.C. better, I will point you in the right direction on the World Wide Web, to find great educational resources for the trip.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Visit http://www.nasm.si.edu/education/classroom.cfm for online educational activities that tie in nicely with a visit to the National Air and Space Museum. Classes that are equipped with computers can take educational field trips before they make their visit to Washington D.C. A review of online activities could prove useful in the classroom, and teaching resources will integrate the visit to Washington D.C. into classroom activities.

The National Museum of the American Indian
Native American Code talkers were critical in the U.S. Armed forces during World War I and World War II, because native languages were used as code, and formed a basis for communication. Have students visit the website http://americanindian.si.edu/education/codetalkers/ that makes the history of Native American code talkers come alive.

The National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History has excellent educational resources to help plan student travel tours more effectively. Visit http://www.mnh.si.edu/education/. Students can learn about the Future Female Scientists Program and some of the hands on educational programs at the museum, such as the Discovery Room and the Insect Zoo.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery has a wide range of programs for student groups of various age levels. Some of these educational programs are geared towards special age groups (such as 4th-12th Grade) or are organized thematically, such as American Writers, Great American Women, and Portrait Stories. Visit http://www.npg.si.edu/educate2/educate20.htm
For complete information about all of the educational programs available at the National Portrait Gallery.

Don’t Miss Northern Virginia Historical Points on a Student Tour of Washington D.C.

A well rounded student travel tour of Washington D.C. should also include a day or a half-day dedicated to visiting sites just across the Potomac River in Northern Virginia. For example, the Pentagon, Mount Vernon, and Arlington National Cemetery are some of the sites student tour groups wish to visit. To take in all three would be quite a feat, though it is entirely possible if the right amount of advance planning is involved. But educational student tours of the Washington D.C. area should at least include one, if not two of these historic sites.

Pentagon Tours: Book Early
There are many reasons to plan your trip early. The most pressing reason is that some sites, such as the Pentagon, are under heavy security. Therefore, student groups must be registered for a visit prior to arrival at the Pentagon, to undergo the necessary review for a visit. If student groups are not registered early, then chances that that student travel group will see the Pentagon tour are not good. We are in the early stages of planning these types of student tours for 2008. It is not possible to effectively plan a Pentagon tour for a student tour group for 2007.

Arlington National Cemetery a Popular Student Travel Destination

Arlington National Cemetery is also a great place for students to gain a wide overview of domestic and foreign wars the U.S. has been involved in, and understand the soldiers’ contribution. Tram tours and attendance at Wreath Laying Ceremonies are good possibilities for student travel groups that plan early. The coordination of such tours for a large group is easier with advance planning. A visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is always in order upon a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, and frequently requested.

Visit Mount Vernon for Living History and Active Learning
A student tour of Mount Vernon can also be lots of fun for the group. It offers some respite from the bustling city life of Washington D.C. For a moment in time, students can imagine themselves back in time on an Eighteenth Century farm and gristmill. Or, they can visit the new Ford Orientation Center, or participate in a wide variety of living history programs and tours. A visit to Mount Vernon is well worth the effort of leaving Washington D.C. for the day (or a half-day). Mount Vernon is just 16 miles from Washington D.C.

We do our best to make everyone happy on our educational travel trips, especially the students.