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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 education@nulldelawareandlehigh.org.

Virtual Field Trips

Experience Freemansburg

A two-hour Zoom experience 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.

Coming soon: Virtual Immersion Days and Tales of the Towpath

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.