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Educational Visits

National Canal Museum - Educational Visits

Are you a teacher, scout leader or

part of a homeschool cooperative? 

The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and National Canal Museum offers in-person and virtual educational experiences for groups of up 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.  Do you want your experience customized to your learning objectives? We can do that! Choose from any of the options below or reach out to our Education Manager to customize your day.  

Please contact Whitney Davison, Education Manager, at 610-923-3548 x245, 610-984-4753 or education@nulldelawareandlehigh.org

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Virtual Programming

In-Person Field Trip Programs

Girl Scout Programs

Virtual Programming  

Our virtual programming is offered through the Zoom platform. Most programs last 1 hour, and are hosted by a live educator who uses a slide show embedded with videos and photographs for visuals throughout the presentation.

Many programs come with a teacher guide that will be emailed to the participating organizations prior to the presentation. Within the teacher guide there will be information on the upcoming presentation, handouts the students will need during the presentation, and pre and post activities for teachers to do with their students.

Some programs offer more hands on and interactive activities than others. All pre and post activities are merely suggestions and not required in order for the students to take part in the virtual program.  Many of these programs are a nice companion piece to our curriculum Tales of the Towpath. However, you do not have to take part in that curriculum to enjoy these programs. 

Elementary School Programming 

Experience Freemansburg 

This 90 minute “virtual field trip” 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. This virtual program is a great way to take part in a field trip that is only available to our local school district, Bethlehem.  Kids will virtually visit our satellite education site which includes the historic Freemansburg locktender’s house, and the canal lock, the mule barn, and the ruins of a grist mill.  This program weaves history topics and STEAM topics together creating a cross curricular program.  The topics covered in this program are, canal history and the daily lives of those who operated the system, the engineering feat that was the lock system, water power and how a water wheel operated the grist mill, art is added in as we learn how to draw a mule.  This virtual field trip complements the Tales of the Towpath curriculum, but can be a stand-alone lesson on local canal history.  $100 per session 

Immersion Day Virtual Experience 

In this 90-minute cross curricular program we bring the concepts taught at our Immersion Day field trip to you, right in your classroom.  This program focuses on science and social studies.  Your students will come to better understand local geology, simple machines and the concept of buoyancy, as well as learning about the lives of people who lived and worked along the canal in the 1800s.  This program is highly interactive. Your students will not simply be sitting passively watching the screen, they will be working through a series of lessons listening, thinking, and conceptualizing the concepts we discuss using a packet that we will email to you for copying and distribution.  At the end of this program, your students will have completed a series of activities that you can grade or display in your room.  This program complements the Tales of the Towpath curriculum, or can be a stand-alone lesson about local history and how the geology around us effects the industries that shape our past, present and future. $100 per session 

Kids on the Canal 

What was life like for children living and working on the canal system in the 1800s? Find out in this 1-hour program.  During this program, your students will learn what life was like for children whose parents worked on the canal as well as for children who held jobs along the canal. We will also discuss what school was like for children in the 1800s and how they spent their free time. Ever wonder if your life is better or worse than kids who lived over 100 years ago? Come find out!  This program involves some hands-on crafts that will require you to supply some of your own materials.  $75 per session 

 

 

Waterways, their uses and the unintended effects 

This 1-hour program is appropriate for upper level elementary and can also be appropriate for middle school students.  This program is a little different than the other programs. It looks at canals, how they work and why we used them.  It then looks at other ways that we have used water over time to help us. It specifically focuses on the use of the water wheel and the modern water dam. The program then focuses on the environmental effects of controlling waterways.  The shad fish and their story on the Lehigh River is the case study we use to look at how habitats and animal species can inadvertently be affected by progress and what we can do to try to fix these problems without losing the advancements we have made. $75 per session 

 

 

So You Want to be a … 

 

These 3 programs are all 1 hour in length.  They all involve hands on activities to keep students engaged with the lesson. Each program delves deeper into the 3 main jobs that made up the canal industry. They complement each other and can be presented as a three pack, however, they can also stand alone. $75 per session or $200 for all 3 sessions 

Canal Boat Captain 

During this program your students will learn what the daily life of a canal captain was like.  They will learn how the boat and canal operated, the parts of the boat, and what tasks the captain was responsible for.  Throughout the program they will get to watch historic videos of canal captains in operation.  We will make a canal boat out of paper during this program.

  

Locktender 

During this program your students will come to understand the busy life and full days of the locktender.  What job allowed you to work from home, include your family in your daily work and give you a home for free? That of the locktender. During this program, students will learn how locks worked, and also come to understand how locktender families worked together to give themselves the best life possible.  This program uses a combination of live teaching and videos of educators on site at locations to help students picture what life was like along the canal in the 1800s.   

Mule Tender 

This program is presented slightly differently than the other programs and is a great program for younger students.  Presented in the form of a story, learn what life was like for a young child who was the mule tender for his family’s canal boat.  As we listen to the story and look at historical pictures used to illustrate the tale, we will pause to watch educational videos highlighting events that take place along the way.  At the end of the story, we will make our own mule bookmark or magnet, this will require you to supply some crafting materials for your class.  As we make the craft, we will have a quick question-and-answer session to see who remembers the facts they learned while listening to the story.  

 

Middle/ High School Programming 

Canals! The Why, How and Who of the American Canal System 

This 1-hour program goes over the basic questions about canals and their place in our history.  First, we investigate why we have canals in Eastern PA. (The answer to that is coal!) We will discuss the importance of coal and its role in the beginning of our Industrial Revolution.  We will learn how canals are constructed, the jobs canals created and the industries that used canals to move their goods.  Over the course of the one-hour program, students will come to understand the importance of the canal system and its place in the American Industrial Revolution.  This program is a great way to introduce or summarize canals to students as they learn about the American Industrial Revolution. $75 per session 

 

The Industries of the Delaware and Lehigh Canals 

During this 1-hour program we will come to understand why canals existed along the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, the importance coal played in our nation’s energy history, as well as local history, and the industry that was the canal system. Canals are an important part of our transportation history that is often overlooked.  This program helps bridge the gap between transportation using wagons and transportation by train.  At the end of the program students will be left to answer the question, “Was the canal system worth all of the effort necessary to build it considering it only lasted 100 years? Why or why not.” If you are looking for a fast comprehensive way to teach this topic and move on in your curriculum this program is for you.  $75 per session 

 

Waterways to Railways  

This 1-hour program looks at the transition in transporting goods that occurred at the turn of the 20th century.  We will look at why canals existed, what they were used for, how they worked and what life was like for those that operated it. We will then introduce the railroad.  We do not look at the railroad in depth, however, we do discuss why it was a better option for transporting heavy goods over long distances in short amounts of time.  During this program we will do some compare and contrast activities looking at the two industries. I will then pose the question to the students, “Why did the canal system lose out to the rail system in the end?” After the program is over your students will have the necessary information to move forward and write a response or have a discussion about this.  This program is a great way to cover a topic that is often overlooked in the history books, but was an important step in the history or transportation and industry, $75 per session  

 

In-Person Field Trip Programs

The Museum Experience 

Bring your class to the National Canal Museum to learn about an important, but often forgotten about time in our transportation and industrial history. While here you will learn about the history of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co. and the Lehigh and Delaware Canal systems. Come to understand the people that lived and worked on the canals in the 1800s.  Learn about canal history and culture as well as the different science principles, technological advances and engineering feats that helped create and operate the canal system that once moved tons of coal from Jim Thorpe to Easton and beyond.  

The core of this field trip is a 90-minute visit to our museum. While in the museum your class will be split into groups and rotate through a series of stations learning about the history, culture, science and engineering of canal systems.  At the end of the 90-minute session we have a variety of add on activities that you can pick and choose to add onto your classes’ educational experience.  The topics of these activities revolve around life on the canal, learning how to harness a mule, wash laundry, blow a conch shell, learn about friction and buoyancy, play colonial games, ride the canal boat, visit the lock tender house, go on a nature hike.  Some of these activities are seasonal. Please contact our educational manager for pricing and more explanation about building your experience.  

We can accommodate groups up to about 60. Any groups larger than that will need to visit over multiple time slots or days.  Depending on the time of year we can accommodate larger groups by using the grounds outside and different add on activities. We will do our best to work with you to customize your experience. 

Pricing starts at $8 a student for the base museum visit. This experience is great for teachers teaching about simple machines, engineering, elementary physics, transportation history, industrial history, colonial history, and local history. We can gear our lessons to the elementary student all the way to the high school student.   

On site we also have a great playground, beautiful, walkable tow path, picnic tables under our portico, a welcome center that sells drinks, snacks, and ice cream, bike rentals, kayak, canoe and paddle boat rentals. All of which are available to you to use while you are visiting.   

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.

 

Girl Scout Programs

Locktender Life Immersion Program

This program will fulfill all requirements for the Junior Badge: Playing the Past

Troop Levels: Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes

Time: 3 hours, by appointment only, available April – October

Price: $20 a girl, minimum payment $100; must have 2 adult chaperones stay with the group

Number of scouts: Minimum 3; Maximum 20

 

 

Visit the lock tender house at the National Canal Museum at Hugh Moore Park and experience what it was like to be a lock tender in the 1800s.  While you are with us you will assume the identity of a real girl who lived and worked along the Delaware and Lehigh Canals. In order to bring the experience alive you will wear a costume befitting an 1800s girl and try your hand at the tasks they would have spent their days doing. Over the course of our 3 hours you will open and close a lock, harness a mule, sew a homemade toy, do some laundry, play colonial games, and tour the home you would have lived in.  While you are with us we will also take a nature walk along the canal and river and learn about the history of Hugh Moore Park and the Lehigh Canal. 

Before or after our program, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the park and playground at Hugh Moore Park.  You can also add a visit to the museum or a ride on our canal boat.  Either of these options are available for an additional $5 per person (special program discount). Choose to do both activities? Get the amazing discount of a child group ticket price for all members, adults included, even if your group does not meet the 15 person requirement.   

This program is a wonderful, fun filled, immersive way to learn about local history. By taking part in this program young girls will learn what life was like for a specific population of girls that came before them.  Enjoy a day together in nature and complete the requirements for a badge.  We can offer a canal fun patch for sale in our gift shop or you can provide your own. 

 

STEAM Into History

Troop Levels: Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes

Time: 2 hours, by appointment only

Price: $10 a girl, minimum payment $60, must have 2 adult chaperones stay with the group

Number of scouts: Minimum 2; Maximum 80, groups larger than 30 must have 1 adult for every 10 scouts

 

STEAM Into History at the National Canal Museum at Hugh Moore Park in Easton.  Come learn about the different science principles, technological advances and engineering feats that helped create and operate the canal system that once moved tons of coal from Jim Thorpe to Easton and beyond. Spend the first half of your visit in our museum and learn about the engineering required to create and operate the canal; simple machines, aqueducts, water power, friction, buoyancy and more. During the second half of the program you will put these principles to work and build your own model wooden boat to take home. This program is very hands on and participant dependent so make sure to pack your curiosity and come ready to take an active part in your learning experience. We can offer a canal fun patch for sale in our gift shop or you can provide your own. 

Before or after our program, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the park and playground at Hugh Moore Park.  You can also add a ride on our canal boat or a walking tour of the locktender house for an additional $5 per person, add both for $8 a person (special program discount). Rides and locktender house visits are subject to seasonal availability. 

 

Adventure Trek: Historical Hike At Hugh Moore Park

Troop Levels: Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes

Time: 2 hours, by appointment only

Price: $10 a girl, minimum payment $50, must have 2 adult chaperones stay with the group

Number of scouts: Minimum 2; Maximum 30

 

 

 

Join an educator from the D & L and go on a 1 mile trek along a wooded path and the canal towpath.  As you walk you will learn about the history of Hugh Moore Park and the Lehigh Canal.  You will come to understand how the canal worked, why we had it and how we used it. You will also come to understand what life was like for those that worked the canal. As we walk we will stop periodically to do activities that help explain the concepts we are teaching.  These activities are short, interactive, and incorporate the whole mind and body. We can offer a canal fun patch for sale in our gift shop or you can provide your own. 

At the end of the hike you can choose to continue your hike down the towpath on your own, enjoy the playground, have a picnic lunch, do some geocaching, or rent our paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, or bikes. You may also choose to add some of our other offerings onto your day.  

Additional paid activities to add on to your day:

  • Canal boat ride – $5 a person (special program discount)
  • Unguided Museum Visit – $7 a child, $8 an adult, 1 free adult with troop
  • Locktender house tour: $20 per tour

 

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