School Programs

Historic Beverly offers educational programs for students from grades 3 to 12.

Historic Beverly is proud to offer several  school programs that offer exciting and engaging educational opportunities for students. All programs can  be adapted for older or younger students and can be brought into the classroom or done at the Cabot House. Our programs incorporate the updated Massachusetts Curriculum Framework standards and we are happy to work with teachers to create custom programs or add unique elements to classroom presentations.

Fees: In class programs are available for $125/class. If three or more in class programs are booked for the same day the cost is $100/class.

Tours are available at all three of our historic properties (seasonally at the Balch House); in some cases, classes may need to divide into multiple groups. Tours between September 1 – May 15 are $75 for up to 25 students. Tours between May 15 – June 30 are $125 for up to 25 students. Additional students are $5/student.  Note that 1 teacher/chaperone for every 10 students is required; there is no charge for teachers/chaperones.

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To Sign or Not to Sign

Students consider the arguments made by members of the Second Continental Congress regarding whether or not to sign the Declaration of Independence. Students will read and analyze the Declaration of Independence and then use critical thinking to answer questions that encourage them to explore the process of writing the document, the objections to the document and to determine if they would have signed.

MA Frameworks connections: 5.T2.4; 5.T2.6; 5.T2.7; 5.RI. 1-10; 5.W.1-2; 5.SL.1-3

Patriotism or Treason?

Designed to help students understand the motivations behind being a patriot, a loyalist or remaining neutral, this program will also help students to think about arguments made by each side. Using excerpts from the Essex Gazette in the years leading up to the Revolution, students will decide if the articles were written by loyalists or patriots. Students will be asked to decide if they would have been a Patriot or Loyalist, and will then write a letter to the Essex Gazette explaining and supporting their decision.

MA Frameworks Connections: 5.T2.6; 5.RI. 1-10; 5.W.1-3; 5.SL.1-3

To Vote or Not to Vote?

Designed to help students understand the motivations behind the suffragist and anti-suffragist movements, this program will ask students to analyze documents produced by both sides. Students will be asked to decide if they would have been a suffragist or an anti-suffragist, and explain their decision.

MA Frameworks Connections: 5.T3.5; 5.T5.6; 5.T5.8;5.T5.9; 5.RI.1-10; 5.SL.1-2; 5.W.1-3

Sampling History

This exercise will focus on helping students learn to interpret data, and foster a discussion as to “who is a historian?” Students look at a document and answer critical thinking questions based on samplers from the Historic Beverly collection.

MA Frameworks Connections: 5.T5.6; 5.T5.8; 5.T5.9; 5.RI. 1-10

Oh, Freedom!

Our museum educator will come to the classroom, or lead a virtual program, to discuss slavery in Beverly. Students will then use primary source documents to understand this issue. Students will learn about Juno Larcom and her lawsuit against her owner for her freedom, examine bills of sale and freedom documents, and explore additional primary and secondary sources. Students will analyze the documents and then construct historical narratives to tell the story of these people based on the primary sources.

MA Frameworks Connections: 5.T1.7; 5.T5.1; 5.T5.3; 5.T5.6; 5.RI.1-10; 5.W.1-3

Which Came First? Amendment Sequencing

Using documents from Historic Beverly’s collection, students will be asked to examine the sequence between the passage of the 14th and 19th amendments. This exercise will allow them to understand the significance of these amendments as well as how laws have expanded civil rights and protections for all. When put in proper sequence, the documents will show the process by which the passage of the 14th Amendment shaped the fight for the passage of the 15th and 19th Amendments and their ultimate success.

MA Frameworks Connections: T2.5; 8.T4.1-5,10,12; 8.T5.1-6; 8.T6.4

The Growth of the Republic

The Massachusetts maritime trade in the 18th and 19th centuries was a worldwide enterprise. Beverly, Salem and other coastal communities sent vessels laden with salt cod, lumber, rum and other products to the West Indian, European, Asian, and African ports, returning with goods for the domestic market. Students will use copies of primary documents like bill-of-good, letters and newspapers and a trading game to understand this fascinating period. They will also learn about the role that some Massachusetts merchants had in the African slave trade.

MA Frameworks Connections: 5.T4.3;5.T4.4; 5.T1.6; 5.RI.1-10

Digging Up the Past

Our museum educator will visit your classroom to talk about early European settlement on the North Shore, focusing on the history of the 17th century Balch House and an archaeological dig done at the site. Archaeological terms and procedures are explained. Small groups of students are given a “pit” in order to perform their own “dig”. They will be encouraged to use the scientific method while they extract actual historic artifacts. These artifacts will be examined, identified from resource material and dated. The students then present their findings to the class.

MA Frameworks Connections: 3.T1.1; 3.T1.2; 3.T2.1; 3.T2.2; 3.T5.1; 3.T5.1; 3.T5.3

Historic House Tours

Students of all ages can get a feel for life in the past by visiting one of our historic houses. Fee: $75 per house per class (up to 25). Please allow 45 minutes per house; note that groups of more than 15 will need to be divided at Balch and Hale, which will increase the time.

At the Balch House, built about 1680, students will learn about life in the colonial period, including home life, education, farming and trade.

Hale Farm was once the home of Beverly’s first minister, John Hale. He built this house in 1694, not long after the witchcraft crises of 1692. Hale was involved in the trials and it was here that he wrote his book “A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft.” This was also an early summer home during the “Gold Coast” years, when the wealthy folks of the cities summered here.

Cabot House was built by wealthy merchant John Cabot in 1781. At the Cabot House (home to Historic Beverly) students will see objects illustrating maritime trade, Beverly’s role in the American Revolution and the early days of the Republic.