School Programs

Our school programs allow students to experience the past in a historic house setting that complements the students’ classroom learning by encouraging curiosity and critical thinking. Our tours, conducted by trained museum interpreters, align with the New York State Education Teaching Standards.

The Townsends in the Revolution
Grades 4-5
2 hours

Costumed, experienced docents lead students through the historic house and gardens. They learn the exciting role the Townsend family played during the American Revolution, especially that of Robert Townsend, a spy for General Washington known as “Culper Jr.” Consider family life, gender roles, childhood, transportation, and leisure activities as they existed in Colonial America. Students are given the opportunity to explore the museum inside and out and ask questions. Learn the Culper Code, the system used by the Spy Ring in invisible ink! Become a spy for George Washington by learning the techniques of spy craft, reporting on troop and vessel movements in Long Island Sound! Students examine hands-on colonial and reproduction artifacts and learn how they worked in every day life.

$8 per student, teachers and four chaperones are free. Because of the generosity of our supporters, we are able to offer discounted or free trips to schools who would not otherwise be able to visit, typically those that qualify as Title I recipients, or whose policies disallow asking families to pay for field trip fees. These scholarship opportunities are limited, and offered on a first come, first served basis, so please contact us as soon as possible to see if your school qualifies for financial assistance.

Standing Where They Stood: Learning About Slavery in Oyster Bay
Grades 5-12 or Adult Groups

Time: 2 hours

Educating teachers and their students about the extent of slavery on Long Island and the New York area is so important, and the unique history recently uncovered at Raynham Hall Museum offers an innovative and engaging backdrop to learn about this little-understood topic.

In this interactive two-hour program, called “Standing Where They Stood: Learning About Slavery in Oyster Bay”, participants are each given a unique “identity card” with details of a real individual who was enslaved, helping them to connect with a specific person. Statistics as to the extent of slavery in New York reveals hard data to accompany the stories of individuals and their personal experiences.

Highlights include the stories of Tom Gall, the first slave legally freed on Long Island; Jupiter Hammon, the first published black author in America; an enslaved woman named Liss who escaped with the British, new information about Robert Townsend (Washington’s spy during the Revolution) and his involvement in an early abolitionist society, as well as British Colonel John Simcoe’s moral opposition to slavery, and his connection to a group of African-Americans called “The Black Brigade”, led by an escaped slave named Colonel Tye.

Participants learn about laws in New York to end slavery called “gradual abolition”, and examine historical runaway slave ads and notices of slaves offered for sale in New York newspapers. The program concludes with an interactive display which identifies Oyster Bay people who were enslaved, with footprints beside each name. As participants explore and find their “identity card” name, they stand in their footprints, share facts about their individual’s story, and are encouraged to write a reflection about their experience.

$8 per student, teachers and four chaperones are free. Because of the generosity of our supporters, we are able to offer discounted or free trips to schools who would not otherwise be able to visit, typically those that qualify as Title I recipients, or whose policies disallow asking families to pay for field trip fees. These scholarship opportunities are limited, and offered on a first come, first served basis, so please contact us as soon as possible to see if your school qualifies for financial assistance.