Tag Archives: educational travel companies

Student Travel Groups Visiting NYC: Include a Tour of the Most Magnificent Cathedrals in the World

by Howard Clemens

student travel nyc
Saint John the Divine Cathedral in NYC is a great place for student tour groups to visit.

When most people hear the word ‘cathedral,’ they generally think, initially of cities like London, Paris, and Rome. But it’s also true that many wonders of religious architecture are located in North America. And New York City, in particular, is home to some of the most breathtaking cathedrals in the world. Which means that student travel groups headed to NYC looking to experience the full impact of architectural excess and Catholic iconography are in for a truly immersive treat.

Exploring all of the Big Apple’s cathedrals is a no small task. For Catholic school trip leaders, a full Cathedral Tour of NYC may be desirable. Other class trips may choose to incorporate a tour of one of New York’s cathedrals in a neighborhood they are visiting, or to expand upon the study of a historical period.

Consult with an educational travel company prior to building an itinerary that showcases some of the city’s most impressive cathedrals. So where is a trip leader of a student travel group to begin? This short list of cathedrals in NYC is a great place to start.

student trips nyc
Saint Patrick’s is a famous cathedral in NYC.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral: A NYC Landmark
With its spectacular Neo-Gothic architecture and interiors modeled on the ancient churches of Italy, the world famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a magnificent starting point for any student tour of NYC. The cathedral has over 65 stained glass windows, the most famous being its 26-foot rose window, a towering masterpiece made up of more than 10,000 pieces of glass in a dazzling variety of colors. Students can also see a statue of the Lady of Guadalupe at the Altar of the Sacred Heart, an awe-inspiring devotional site that’s lit by hundreds of candles. For student groups visiting other sites in Manhattan, St. Patrick’s location is perfect. It’s right in the middle of bustling midtown Manhattan, across the street from the Rockefeller Center and its ice-skating rink. A visit to Saint Patrick’s is worthwhile. After visiting the cathedral, student tour groups may want to cap off the day with a fun-filled whirl across the ice.

Saint John the Divine: The Fourth Largest Christian Church in the World
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, located in the Manhattan “college neighborhood” of Morningside Heights, has the notable distinction of being the fourth largest Christian church in the world. The church is known for its exquisite works of art, which include the Barberini tapestries, woven in the 17th century and inspired by the life of Christ. Saint John the Divine’s entrance is magnificent with its bronze doors, which were cast by Ferdinand Barbedienne of France, the same artist who cast the Statue of Liberty. The cathedral also has its very own cultivated Biblical gardens, which feature a wide variety of the plants and flowers that are mentioned in the Bible. Student travel groups may even take a guided rooftop walking tour, taking them up spiral staircases that wind up to the very top of the cathedral. Since Saint John the Divine is located in an academic neighborhood, groups can take the opportunity to spend part of the day touring famous nearby institutions such as: Union Theological Seminary, the Manhattan School of Music or Columbia University.

Riverside Church: History and Architectural Grandeur
Morningside Heights is also home to Riverside Church. As the tallest church in America (and the 24th tallest church in the world), Riverside covers two full city blocks and boasts a 392-foot bell tower. It is also known for its impressive stained glass apse dome, and for the labyrinthine “maze” inlaid on its floors. The church has a rich cultural and social history. Dignitaries such as Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela have spoken there. The Riverside Church has its own theater, which is has been host to many musical and dance performances.

New York City has many cathedrals in different neighborhoods, as well as churches with longstanding religious and political histories. These three itinerary selections were made because they are in Manhattan and all student groups visit this part of New York City. To further enhance the student travel experience, work directly with an educational travel company for even more ideas on cathedrals to visit in NYC.

Inquire about booking a cathedral tour that’s bound to be as spiritually enlightening as it is fun and educational: email Educational Travel Consultants at info@educationaltravelconsultants.com, or visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Foreign Student Trips to Washington, D.C.: Winding Shopping, Dining & Sightseeing Together

The National Harbor is a shopping, dining and entertainment area on the shores of the Potomac River in MD, that overlook the D.C. skyline.
The National Harbor is a shopping, dining and entertainment area on the shores of the Potomac River in MD, overlooking the D.C. skyline.

by Howard Clemens

Washington, D.C. is the center of American political and social life and has been a hub for international visitors since the beginning. For foreign students traveling to Washington D.C. for the first time, it is almost always a thrilling experience. However, seeing everything that the area has to offer can take weeks. So the question for trip leaders may be – where is a student tour group to start? And which are the most important points of interest?

Many students from other countries want to shop in the U.S. They can obtain goods that may not be available in their country. Trip leaders need to know that there are several points of interest in the Washington D.C. area where the visitor can combine sightseeing, shopping and dining.

National Harbor: A Grand View of Washington D.C.
With its many shops and restaurants, The National Harbor is situated on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. It is a great place to kick off any excursion. Students can board The Capitol Wheel, a towering 180-foot wheel with enclosed cars, that offers sweeping views of the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol building, and the whole glittering panorama of the city itself. Groups can also cruise the Potomac (or even sail right to the National Mall & Memorial Parks) on the Alexandria-National Harbor Water Taxi, which operates day and night.

When it’s time to shop, choose from 150 retailers, with an outlet mall that appeals to everyone. There are also 30 different restaurants to choose from at the National Harbor, ranging from McDonald’s to a high end dining experience overlooking the Potomac.

Downtown Washington D.C. also has more than its share of fun theme restaurants: the Madhatter, which has been a city institution for more than 30 years, takes its name, its décor, and its inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. Or, have the student group sample some Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. Here, patrons can sample maple-bacon, s’more, or passionfruit pastries. Astro Doughnuts is the kind of fun and quirky eatery that students are bound to love.

Shop, Dine & be Entertained in Georgetown
There’s also never any shortage of shopping, historical sights, and dining in D.C.’s legendary Georgetown neighborhood. Students can take the Gastronomic Georgetown Food Tour, an outing that will expose them to gourmet French and Italian cuisine, delectable desserts from D.C.’s best bakeries, and other capitol-region culinary delights.

Shop at the Smithsonian Museums or National Air and Space Museum
One-stop shopping (as in something-for-everyone) is also an apt way to describe D.C.’s Smithsonian Museums. Students can take in three centuries of American art at once, or explore “the final frontier” (as Star Trek calls it) at the National Air and Space Museum. At these prominent museums, the foreign visitor will find lots of interesting merchandise for purchase, from clothing to jewelry to interesting limited edition art and memorabilia. Students may also want to visit the magnificent Anderson House, a lavish 50-room mansion-museum located in the city’s historic Dupont Circle neighborhood. This is always a feast for the eyes, and a rare glimpse into what it’s like to live like American royalty.

When it comes to dining out, it doesn’t get any hipper than the Hard Rock Cafe, located near Washington D.C.’s bustling Chinatown district. Students can also visit the cafe’s “Rock ‘n Roll Embassy,” which is situated right next to the world-famous Ford’s Theater. Washington D.C. is also known for its lively dinner theater scene: at Medieval Madness at Renaissance Hall, students can enjoy a 4-course “knights of the round table” type feast while they take in a medieval-themed play, complete with sword fighting.

Finally, if foreign students are looking for really offbeat entertainment, they’ll find it at the Spy Museum, where they’ll learn how to decrypt secret audio conversations, escape from inescapable places, and engage in their own missions of espionage and intrigue. It is definitely an educational experience—and a great time that gives the term “interactive exhibit” a whole new meaning.

To sum it up, there’s no shortage of entertainment in the nation’s capitol, and for foreign students looking to get a taste of sightseeing, dining and entertainment all in one – there’s no place quite like Washington, D.C.

For more information about booking a tour your foreign students will never forget, email: info@educationaltravelconsultants.com, or visit the website at http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Student Trips to Washington D.C.: Social Studies and History Students Participate in Democratic Process

by Howard Clemens

A student tour of Washington D.C. often includes a visit the White House or Capitol Building. Putting a visit to these sensitive government buildings on the itinerary does take special planning.

For educators who want student groups to meet with representatives from their region or state, I recommend at least six months of advance planning or more.

Teach Students About Participatory Democracy
Social Studies and History teachers will take students through an exercise to illustrate exactly how a participatory democracy works. First, select a representative, either a Senator or Congressman from the group’s originating district. Be open to having the group meet with aides and/or staff if the representative is not available, to discuss important issues. Choose an experienced educational travel company to ensure a smooth visit and the optimal learning experience.

Learn More About How the U.S. Capitol & the Democratic System Really Works
What would students gain from meeting with their representative and/or their staff in the Capitol Building? A knowledge that within the democratic process, national and international as well as smaller, more personal issues can be discussed. Some smaller issues may even be resolved through participation in the democratic process. How would a teacher initiate such a meeting between students and representatives? A competent student tour consultant will be able to step a teacher through this process. The result of this exercise will be to engage students in the process of democracy and the relevance and importance of expressing their views.

Here are some things to consider, when organizing a student trip to Washington D.C. that includes a visit to a representative’s office in the Capitol Building.

1. A representative or senator must be selected to approach. The educational travel company will approach a staff member of the chosen representative and schedule a convenient time during the trip to visit the representative. The educational travel representative will conduct follow-up with the representative’s office in preparation for the visit.

2. Teachers will prepare the class before the trip so students will visit the representative with a clear objective, and be able to communicate this precisely in speech or writing.

3. If students have specific questions related to the topic at hand, they may ask the representative.

4. Be prepared to meet with an aide, should the representative be called into session, or is traveling on other official business.

5. Before or after initiating a conversation with the representative, take students on tour of the Capitol Building and watch Congress or the Senate floor in action. Have students observe the process of democratic discussions while representatives conduct the necessary business of this country.

6. After the trip is over and students return to the classroom, instruct them to write or give an oral presentation on their views of the democratic process. Ask them if they feel participatory democracy works.

Through this exercise, students will learn that democracy is not just about voting.

This real life lesson will teach students participatory democracy is what the founding fathers envisioned when they modeled the U.S. system on Grecian democracy from the classical period. At this time in Greek history, the Forum could be equated to the floor of the Capitol. The only difference was that Ancient Greece allowed anyone to step into the forum and voice an opinion to the public. Because of a large population – this sort of discussion is not entirely possible in the contemporary era. Instead Americans have representatives who argue on their behalf.

Having a ‘Forum’ or Capitol building is one way of bringing people together. This means the individual and groups must participate in governmental decision-making that affects them directly. Visiting a representative before he or she casts a deciding vote on a bill, budget item, military action or other concern is the way to influence political outcomes.

To learn more about planning a student trip to Washington D.C. which includes a visit to the Capitol and a pre-arranged meeting with a Congressional or Senatorial representative visit: http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

A Focus on Student Art Tours of New York City and Washington D.C.

By Howard Clemens

Artists have been challenging us to see our world in new ways for centuries. Art teachers may want to consider bringing classes on tour of museums in New York City and Washington DC that house the most comprehensive collections of art in the United States. When organizing student tours of these cities it is important to consider these museums. It is no exaggeration to say that lives can be changed for the better by visiting such collections of art. For many students, this may be their only visit to a museum in a large U.S. city. Other students may decide to live in a large city and experience the cultural life firsthand.

The Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art are the three highlighted museums for New York City. The Phillips Collection, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden are recommended stops on the itinerary for Washington DC.

On Fifth Avenue in New York City the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is one of the most recognizable and iconic buildings. The Guggenheim Museum was designed by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. When planning your class trip to New York City, please look at the museum’s online events calendar. Not only are there daily tours of “Art in the Round” but also there are films, and often in-depth discussions on pieces in the collection and even on the building itself. While the Guggenheim houses the private collections of art there are always new acquisitions on view. Check the timing of a student trip and coordinate attendance of special shows at the Guggenheim with a student travel company representative.

Not far from the Guggenheim is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, boasting one of the largest, most eclectic collections of art in the world. This world-class structure houses paintings, arms and armor, furnishings, sculpture and design from every imaginable worldwide location. This is an enormous museum, so please be sure to see their website to plan your visit with specific concentrations on the permanent collection as well as to view current and upcoming traveling exhibitions.

The Museum of Modern Art, known the world over as MoMA, has the most important collection of some of the most astonishing talent the world has ever seen. The permanent collection contains some of the most sought after art by Matisse, Van Gogh, Balla, Rothko, Warhol and others. One of the most popular exhibitions which is on view until January, 2016 is called, “This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good.” The future of design and the technology that is creating the road to that future are highlighted in this strange and beautiful exhibition.

In the heart of Washington D.C., student travel groups may visit the National Gallery of Art and the famous Phillips Collection, as well as the National Portrait Gallery and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The National Gallery of Art features painting, sculptures, prints, drawings and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the present day. The Photographic collection dates from 1839. On a pleasant day, student tour groups can wander through the Sculpture Garden. Here students can see art from around the world and the work of artists who either studied or taught at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and went on to distinguish themselves. A Media Arts section is also part of the museum, representing contemporary artists that work in digital media.

Art lovers from around the world travel to the Phillips Collection each year to see the Mark Rothko Room, and other famous paintings like Renoir’s classic “Boating Party.” Georgia O’Keefe, Man Ray and other artists are part of the permanent collection. Paul Klee fans know about the large number of his paintings at the Phillips, and visit often. The museum’s website has comprehensive educational resources for much of the catalog. For instance Jacob Lawrence’s “The Migration Series” is featured on the website. This series of sixty paintings depicts the migration of African Americans from the South to the North in the early twentieth century.

The National Portrait Gallery houses a complete collection of original portraits of the presidents of the United States. Besides presidents, the gallery holds paintings of other great American leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Pop culture Hollywood icons Marilyn Monroe and Woody Allen share space with musical giants like George and Ira Gershwin. A visit to the National Portrait Gallery is as much about art as it is history. There are special exhibits detailing trends in America as well as struggles. See portraits of activists for labor rights, civil rights, and Native American activist Leonard Crow Dog, among many other famous Americans.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has a staff dedicated to a deep understanding of art and artist. The museum mission includes the statement, “Good art should elicit a response of ‘Huh? Wow!’ as opposed to ‘Wow! Huh?’” Paintings by Francis Bacon and Joan Mitchell are part of this historic collection. The Sculpture Garden houses some of the most innovative and famous sculptors from around the world, including Brancusi, Rodin, Miro and others. Student tour groups are encouraged to visit the Hirshhorn and learn more with ARTLAB+ and special comprehensive class tours of the collections.

These museums house some of the great treasures of the United States, and visiting them with art classes is part of seeing art as a unique educational tool and framework for not only historical record, but also as a means to forge a better future for humanity and the planet. Artists are the best collaborators a teacher can have. Consider art the classroom itself. Take student groups on tour of these museums to expand their knowledge of art throughout the ages.

For more information about student art tours of New York City, Washington D.C. and other U.S. destinations, visit http://www.educatioanltravelconsultants.com.

Visiting the New 911 Memorial and Museum In New York City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Educational Travel Consultants Awarded Three-Year Contract for College Tours in New York

(Hendersonville, NC)  Educational Travel Consultants, a student travel company based in Hendersonville, North Carolina, was awarded a contract by Federation Employment and Guidance Services (FEGS) in New York City. The three-year contract funds students from underserved neighborhoods to take college tours in the State of New York. Administrators of the workforce development program have been instrumental in steering students towards obtaining college degrees and certificates from technical and trade schools. FEGS participants also compete for employment opportunities throughout New York.

Educational Travel Consultants (ETC) was selected out of a group of student travel companies that submitted proposals for college tours. ETC had demonstrated experience at college tours in the past. Howard Clemens, CEO of ETC, said, “We are proud to be working with FEGS.  Six different college tours have taken place since the three-year contract was awarded last year. Financially disadvantaged students have the opportunity to take two and three day trips to visit colleges, giving them a glimpse into their possible futures.” Clemens says, “ETC was awarded the contract by FEGS because of the quality of the student tour experience and economical pricing.”

Sandi Rosenthal is Senior Director of Workforce Development at Education and Youth Services in New York City. Rosenthal reflected upon a recent college tour from April 16-17, 2014 with South Shore and Bronx Community High School students.  “Students toured Sullivan Community College, Delhi College, Herkimer College and the State University of New York (SUNY) Morrisville State,” said Rosenthal.  In addition to the tour, the student group stayed overnight in Utica, New York and enjoyed some dining and entertainment activities.

Educational Travel Consultants has been conducting student tours in the U.S. for over 30 years.  The company is based in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and has taken student groups to Washington D.C., New York City and Orlando, Florida, as well as other popular student travel destinations.  Theme tours of major cities include art tours, performance tours, music festivals, science and history tours. ETC has taken students from the U.S. and abroad on tour of U.S. colleges and other destinations.  ETC’s professional staff works with teachers to create tours that reflect curricular objectives and are affordable for all students.  Visit:  http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Contact: Howard Clemens, 828-693-0412
info@educationaltravelconsultants.com

Highlights of the Smithsonian Museum for Student Travel Groups Visiting D.C.

Student travel groups headed to Washington D.C. have many different options for their itinerary.  In addition to the Capitol and the White House, student group leaders may also want to schedule time at the Smithsonian Museum.

Some of the Smithsonian Museums most popular with student travel groups are the National Zoo, the National Museum of  Natural History and the National Portrait Gallery.  Admission to the Smithsonian Museums is free. If there is enough advance planning, student travel groups can even take part in hands on educational programs.

The National Zoo in Washington D.C. is a popular point of interest for student travel groups - who want to see the Panda exhibit.

National Zoo
Like all of the National Museums, the National Zoo is free.  Students will see animals from A to Z, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.  In the Great Ape House students will see a tribe of western lowland gorillas, their youngest family member is Kibibi who was born in 2009.  Gibbons, monkeys, and lemurs are also in the ape house where the golden lion tamarins are always a popular spectacle.  Besides the zoo’s collection, it is also the home of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) where animals are studied for conservation, evolutionary genetics, and other sciences, making it an invaluable tool for many to access.  The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is part of the SCBI, dedicated to studying the migration of many species of birds for the sake of protecting their flight paths and habitats.  One of the other most popular exhibits is the pandas. With the birth of the newborn Bao Bao, the pandas are more popular than ever with all visitors.

The National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History holds the distinction of being the largest museum in the world.  Student tour groups can see the live butterfly pavilion with swallowtail and monarch butterflies waking from their chrysalises.  T-Rex, triceratops and other dinosaur bones fill the gallery preserving the ancient fossil records.  The Hope Diamond, the world’s largest blue diamond is on display.  A 24-foot giant squid is also on permanent display.  This museum is one of the largest science classrooms in the world, and their education department is dedicated to inspiring us all to understand the natural world and to be better stewards of our fragile ecosystems on our planet.  The Insect Zoo is also a must-see as part of your visit, complete with a volunteer tarantula feeding.  As entomologist Thomas Eisner says, “Insects won’t inherit the Earth—they own it now.”  Students may touch, hold and ask questions about the many-legged creatures crawling around the Insect Zoo.  There are an estimated 126 million items in the museum, both in laboratory archives and exhibition halls.  This collection rivals any the world has ever seen with specimens of minerals, plants, fish, insects, birds, mammals and reptiles; it’s one of the most exciting educational tours you can take.

The National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is the only place outside the White House to have a complete collection of portraits of U.S. presidents. The education department uses art and history to introduce visitors to the galleries.  In the Gallery, students may see performances from musicians, actors and other artists who bring the collection to life.  There are also documentary films about the lives of significant Americans and their achievements that made them great.

Besides U.S. presidents, another permanent exhibition is called “American Origins, 1600—1900.”  There are 17 galleries devoted to a chronological journey of the first contact with Native Americans to the very beginning of the 20th century.  Three of the galleries in this exhibit are devoted to the Civil War, presenting a careful lens on the years of that bloodiest American war.  The museum’s curators work hard to collect and display portraits of diverse and respected men and women who have left an indelible mark on U.S. history and our rich and ever growing culture.  Other highlight portraits include Martin Luther King Jr., George Gershwin, Rosa Parks, Julia Child, Babe Ruth, Marry Cassatt, Marilyn Monroe and many others.  The National Portrait Gallery is a must for any serious school group tour in the Washington D.C. metro area.

There are other Smithsonian Museums that are popular with student tour groups, such as the National Air and Space Museum. When it comes to planning a visit to Washington D.C. there are so many choices. Teachers and group leaders tend to focus the itinerary on curricular objectives.   Learn more about a putting together a student tour of Washington D.C., request a qu0te online by filling out a brief inquiry.

Library of Congress: an Essential Part of Student Trips to Washington D.C.

by Howard Clemens

A student trip to Washington D.C. would be incomplete without a tour of the greatest library on Earth. The Library of Congress in Washington DC first opened its doors in 1800. Ever since then the library has been working hard to serve the Congress and the American people, not only as an invaluable library for the Congress, but to further the creativity of the nation. Besides providing a congressional research service, the library also hosts the American Folklife Center, the American Memory project, the Center for the Book, as well as the Poet Laureate.

When the British attempted to destroy the library in 1814 by burning the capitol and pillaging the thousands of bookshelves, retired president Thomas Jefferson offered his own personal library as replacement. Jefferson was said to have the finest library in the United States at the time, and in 1815 congress accepted his nearly 6,500 books. History, philosophy, literature, and fine arts books made up the Jefferson collection. The Jefferson Building was built after ratifying all published materials should have two copies sent to the library.

Main Reading Room, Library of Congress, Jefferson Building, Washington D.C.

Exhibitions at the Library of Congress

Exhibitions currently running include The Civil War in America. There are 200 unique items on display, including many on display for the first time. Teachers can encourage students to read and comment on an ongoing blog of Civil War Voices available on the Library of Congress website. Also newly on display is Abel Buell’s map of the United States. There were only seven copies made in 1784 of the newly independent nation, having broken away from England. There is a copy of the original map on display at the library, not to be missed! There is also a copy of the first draft of the Gettysburg Address on display, something everyone will want to see and talk about!

History of U.S. Science, Technology and Business in Library of Congress

There is a remarkable collection of prints, photos and recordings on American science, technology and business, from extremely rare paintings of birds by John James Audubon to Sigmund Freud’s letters. There is also an exhibit on the 100th birthday of the Harley Davidson motorcycle, and the inventions of the telephone and dreams of flight becoming a reality. The establishment of Yosemite National Park and other land conservation initiatives are also part of the collection, including details on the evolution of the conservation movement from 1850 to 1920.

Besides the amazing array of American scientific and historical maps, letters, photos and objects on display, there is also a very large collection documenting the performing arts including theater, music and dance at the library. Photographs, music scores and recordings are housed at the library, including American Yiddish sheet music currently on exhibition from the Irene Heskes collection. Much of this collection originates from the Lower East Side and Bowery of New York City from 1880 to the mid twentieth century.

Student Travel To DC: Viewing America in Retrospect

Another popular exhibit is “100 Years Ago Today,” where newspapers from 100 years ago are displayed from the very date of the student group’s visit. For instance student groups can view papers like The Washington Herald, The Amarillo Daily News, and The Tombstone Epitaph. It is fascinating to see what was going on exactly a century ago when visiting the Library of Congress. A century of newspapers from every corner of the United States are on display, such as The Salt Lake Tribune and the Tulsa Daily World.

From the history of advertising to American literature and culture – many subjects can be explored at the Library of Congress, an essential stop on any student tour of Washington DC. Other topics for social studies and history students include: wars, religions, immigration documents and the great American Expansion. The history of Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and the history of Native Americans can be found, read, studied, and explored at Library of Congress, too. From little towns to big cities, the United States has done one of the best jobs the world has ever seen in documenting a nation’s history and culture.

Learn more about student travel to Washington D.C. visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Statue of Liberty Reopening, Updates on Observation Tower for 911 Memorial

By Howard Clemens

Good news for student travel groups planning trips to New York City: the Statue of Liberty will be reopening this July—right in time for 2013’s July 4th celebration, says the National Park Service. This event, eagerly awaited since last fall, represents an important time in the history of both New York City and the nation at large.

The statue has been closed since Hurricane Sandy made landfall (a day after the statue’s 126th birthday) in late October of 2012. This means that student travel groups traveling to NYC this autumn will be able to experience an historic and exciting reopening.

Reservations for Statue’s Crown to Open in September 2013

The Statue of Liberty has been one of the world’s premiere student travel destinations for generations. Though nearby Ellis Island is not yet scheduled to reopen, the Statue, which welcomed 3.7 million visitors in 2011, is expected to become one of this fall’s most popular destinations. Student travel groups will once again be able to visit the famous observation area inside the Statue’s crown. Ask your student travel company to make reservations now for a visit to the Statue of Liberty in the fall of 2013.  More information, including updates on the Ellis Island reopening, can be found by visiting the National Park Service’s website. Reservations will be facilitated by the Statue’s official ferry provider, Statue Cruises.

Student Trips to NYC can include a visit to the Statue of Liberty with Other Historic Sites

Student travel groups who will be visiting during the statue’s historic reopening will benefit from combining their trip with visits to other important NYC sites. The Empire State Building, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Times Square, and Governor’s Island are only a few of the limitless options available to groups. Coney Island is also a famous landmark that’s an easy subway ride from Manhattan. Student travel group leaders may choose to visit any of New York’s many famous and thriving neighborhoods, like Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, and the art district of SoHo. Student groups can visit Central Park and Madison Square Garden, or tour the United Nations. The NYC “Sky Ride”, which departs from the second floor of the Empire State Building, is a simulated way for students to experience the city from the air via a “specially designed platform which moves in sync to an 18 foot high-definition screen,” according to the attraction’s website.

Preview of 911 Memorial Observation Deck promises historic opportunity to-come for students

This month, select guests and media were given a preview of the observation deck for the 911 Memorial. According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, the observation deck tours will be “packaged like a theme park ride,” and visitors to the deck will watch a narrated video before “the actual panoramic view is revealed.” The deck is slated to be completed in 2014 and is expected to be “The Yankee Stadium of observation decks.” So student travel groups will have an exciting and historic visit to look forward to once the panorama opens to the public, most likely in 2015. The 911 Museum itself will also be opening in 2014, which will provide student travel groups with an even more valuable experience.

The Statue of Liberty is one of NYC’s most famous landmarks, and students will be able to be a part of its legacy by visiting it when it is once again unveiled. This year will provide great and unprecedented opportunities for groups to see this symbol of freedom in a brand new light.

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War of 1812 Bicentennial Events Offer Diverse Interactive Experiences for Student Travel Groups

By Howard Clemens

Many celebrations for the War of 1812 Bicentennial are planned for this year, providing a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for student travel groups to participate in festivities, lectures, and interactive events that honor this pivotal event in American and British history.  Events are planned throughout the year, all over the United States, so there are many options for student travel groups to choose from.

Some student tour groups may want to travel to Baltimore and Washington D.C., where many events are planned to celebrate pivotal battles.  Other groups may travel to New Orleans. Some student trips may focus on a trip to Fort Niagara, not far from Niagara Falls, and couple this with a tour of New York City – taking the opportunity to see historical sites there.

Here is a sampling of some of the War of 1812 activities that will appeal to educational travel groups. For the most up-to-date information, consult appropriate websites, because events will be announced throughout this year and into 2015.

War of 1812 Events to Offer Historical Reenactments, On-site Tours, and More

New Orleans Commemorates the War of 1812
The world famous City of New Orleans hosts one of the most epic bicentennial celebrations of all: one that spans four years. Beginning in 2012 and ending in 2015, the celebration features a dazzling array of visiting ships, air shows, and other festivities, including touring ships that will be making their way to ports from New Orleans to Virginia to Baltimore to Boston.

Battle of Baltimore and Composition of the Star Spangled Banner Celebrated in September

Further up the coast, the Fort McHenry Star-Spangled Banner Celebration will occur September 13-15, 2013. This celebration pays homage to Defender’s Day, also known as Baltimore’s oldest holiday. The festivities, which take place in Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., commemorate Francis Scott Key’s writing of the “Star Spangled Banner” as well as the Battle of Baltimore and the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Festivities will include historical reenactments and cannon demonstrations, as well as parades and a lineup of educational and historical presentations.

Boston, Massachusetts Commemorates the War of 1812

The USS Constitution Museum in Boston will also be holding many special events throughout the year. Though the majority of major events and dignitary speakers are slated for the summer, there are still plenty of commemorative programs going on through the spring and fall.  Students can also visit the Old Ironsides War of 1812 Discovery Center, which is open throughout the year and features games and interactive exhibits.

Many Notable Bicentennial Events to Take Place in Proximity to Niagara Falls

Many of the War of 1812 battles occurred around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, so several bicentennial festivities will be taking place in that area.  On December 19, 2013, the Anniversary of the Capture of Fort Niagara, billed as a “once in a lifetime bicentennial event” will be observed at Fort Niagara in Youngstown, NY, a magnificent location not far from Niagara Falls. Fort Niagara, a National Historic Landmark, has more than 100,000 visitors a year, including many student travel groups. The Fort has an extensive collection of 18th and 19th Century military materials, as well as many living history reenactments, educational programs, and archaeological and historical exhibits. Fort Niagara’s ready proximity to Niagara Falls makes it easy for student groups to take a day trip there, too.  Many student tour leaders choose to combine a trip to Niagara Falls with a visit to New York City.

September 1-10 ushers in the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, one of the War of 1812’s largest naval battles, which established the United States’ control over Lake Erie and led to the winning of the Battle of the Thames.  This historic celebration will take place in Put-on-Bay, Ohio, and feature a “Tall Ships festival” with historical reenactments, fireworks, cannon firings, and other festivities. Students will have the option of taking a day tour of many of the ships, and guided tours are available. Speakers will include representatives from British, Canadian, and Native American Indian groups, as well as other dignitaries, to be announced. Visit the Battle of Lake Eerie Bicentennial website for more information.

The War of 1812 is a major milestone in history, and students lucky enough to travel to any of these destinations during its bicentennial will be rewarded by participating in its many commemorative educational events and festivities. While some events and the attendance of dignitaries are not yet announced, more information can be found by visiting the Official War of 1812 Bicentennial Website or the National Park Service’s website.