Educational Visits

National Canal Museum - Educational Visits

Are you a teacher, a scout leader, or part of a homeschool cooperative?

The D&L and National Canal Museum offers in-person and virtual educational experiences for groups of 10 to 150.  Whether you are looking for a full-day field trip or a one-hour visit to the museum, we have options for you.  We are always willing to work with you to customize your group’s visit to your needs.  If you would like to discuss bringing your group to the museum or are interested in one of the field trip programs below, please contact Whitney Davison, Education Manager, at 610-923-3548 x245 or

Virtual Field Trips/Experiences

Our virtual programs are offered as a live Zoom session with a museum educator. We can accommodate up to three classrooms or 75 participants per session. These programs are geared towards grades 3-5.  However, if you see a program that you would like adapted to another grade level, please reach out to our Education Manager.  

Experience Freemansburg

A two-hour “field trip” that incorporates live interaction with

a D&L educator, pre-recorded videos from the Freemansburg Canal Education Center, and hands-on activities that can be done in the classroom or at home.  Kids will virtually visit Freemansburg’s locktender’s house, the canal lock, the mule barn, and the ruins of a grist mill.  Subjects covered as part of the experience include social studies (canal history and the lives of children, in particular), STEM (how grist mills and locks worked plus an optional math/measuring activity), and art (“draw a mule” and activity).  This virtual field trip complements the 4th grade Tales of the Towpath curriculum, but can be adapted for other grades and for schools not using the curriculum.  $150 per session


Kids on the Canal

What was life like for children in the mid-1800s? If your family lived and worked along the canal, what did you do all day? Join us for this 1-hour virtual presentation to learn how your days would have been spent. What chores would you have done? Would you have gone to school? What did you do for fun? What would you have worn and eaten on a regular day? Was your day different if you were a boy or a girl? We will play some games that children back then played as well as make a simple toy.  Let’s have some fun while we learn a little more about history.  $75 per session



So You Want to Be a Lock Tender…

This 1-hour virtual experience is one of a series that explores jobs available to people along the canals in the 1800s.  The position of lock tender was highly prized because it provided free housing.  Find out what the lock tender houses looked like, what the everyday job entailed, and how whole families were involved.  Dad may have been the one employed by the canal company, but mom and the kids still had a lot of responsibility.  Not only will you learn about life as a lock tender but you will come to understand how a canal lock worked as well as the strict schedule the canal community kept.  $75 per session or $200 for the 3-part canal jobs series 


So You Want to Be a Canal Boat Captain…

This 1-hour virtual experience is one of a series that explores jobs available to people along the canals in the 1800s.  Imagine if your days were spent slowly gliding down a canal, sitting in the sunshine and cool breeze, watching the mules plod ahead of you along the towpath. What a life, right? Well, it wasn’t all sunshine and cool breezes.  In this program, we will learn what life was like for a canal boat captain.  How did you become a captain? What were your responsibilities? Were you paid well? How were your days spent and what were some things you had to worry about?  Come onboard our virtual program and find out if canal boat captain life was for you.  $75 per session or $200 for the 3-part canal jobs series


So You Want to Be a Mule Tender…

This 1-hour virtual experience is one of a series that explores jobs available to people along the canals in the 1800s. There was a time when kids didn’t complain about school all of the time. Why? Because they were often too busy to go because they were working.  In this program, we will look at what life would have been like for a young mule tender.  Kids as young as 8 could begin to work with mules on the canal.  Come learn about mules, and what life was like if you woke up every morning at 3 am to get the mules ready for the day and did not fall back into bed until 11 pm.  How did you spend your day? What kind of money did you make? Were you with your family or did you work for someone else? Was there any time to go to school?  I guarantee you by the end of this program your students will be pretty happy they get to come to school every day.  $75 per session or $200 for the 3-part canal jobs series

Coming soon: Virtual Immersion Days

In-Person Field Trip Programs

Immersion Days at Hugh Moore Park

Typically held late April through early June, Immersion Days takes place in Hugh Moore Park (Easton, PA), home of the National Canal Museum, the mule-drawn Josiah White II canal boat, and 2.5 miles of the Lehigh Canal.  During the approximately four-hour field trip, Immersion Days introduces students to the science, technology, engineering and math behind the building and operation of the Lehigh and Delaware canals, the two foremost canals in eastern Pennsylvania in the 1800s. After beginning with a 35-minute ride on the Josiah White II, the students rotate around four lesson sites and nine interactive activities: 1) simple machines – pulleys, levers, inclined planes, gears – that were used in the construction and maintenance of the canals, 2) friction and buoyancy, the concepts behind the movement of carts and wagons on ground, and boats on canals, 3) the geology and technology surrounding iron making and blacksmithing, and 4) cultural aspects of canal life that involved children: the use of a conch shell as a tool of communication; the care and harnessing of mules; and the washing of clothes using 19th-century methods.  Immersion Days is appropriate for grades 3-5.

Freemansburg Canal Education Center

The Freemansburg Canal Education Center is a 2.5-acre site in Freemansburg, PA, where a collection of original and restored canal and canal-related structures offers a perfect venue for the interpretation of canals and canal life.  The site’s structures include an original locktender’s house (one of only two remaining on the Lehigh Canal); Lock 44, a 110-foot lift lock; a restored mule barn built in 1996 on the barn’s original foundation; and the remains of a large gristmill that dates to the late 18th century.  Each of the four structures is a lesson site, with a total of nine activities. The activities specifically mirror lessons derived from the Tales of the Towpath Curriculum and are more focused on the cultural/historical aspects of canal life than the STEM-related activities of Immersion Days.  The four lesson areas are: 1) family life, food production and preservation at the locktender’s house and garden, 2) mule harnessing and learning to draw a mule at the mule barn, 3) the operation of lift locks and taking measurements at Lock 44, and 4) learning about how grain was produced and experiencing an archaeological dig at the gristmill.  Held in October, the Freemansburg field trips have been attended annually by all of the elementary schools in the Bethlehem Area School District.



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