Field Trip & Outreach Program Descriptions

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Field Trip & Outreach Program Descriptions

Program Offerings 2017-2018 School Year

View a PDF version here.


The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is proud to offer various field trips and outreach programs for all grade levels. We customize the activities and reading level by grades and student ability. Please read the brief descriptions below and fill out our Field Trip Request Form or Outreach Trip Request Form for the program that best fits your needs.

* All inquires need to be filled out at least four weeks prior to the visit to ensure availability.

Field Trips

All field trips last two hours in which students will interact directly with primary source material on a particular subject of the teacher’s choice.

When: Monday: Anytime

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 9am, 9:30am, or 10am (start time)

Where: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107


Sample Programs:

  1. Colonial Times: This program will focus on William Penn and the early years of the colonies. Documents can include articles from the Pennsylvania Gazette, letters by William Penn, Treaties with the Native Americans, and some of our earliest maps. (Grades: 3rd – 12th)
  1. Abolitionists: This program focuses on various abolitionists from William Still to the Grimke Sisters. Students will have the opportunity to read fugitive slave interviews, view political cartoons, and see a children’s book created by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society to teach students in the 1850’s about the fugitive slave act. (Grades 4th -12th)
  1. Civil War/Reconstruction: This program engages students in all aspects of the Civil War and its aftermath with political cartoons, diaries, and maps. Students will analyze multiple perspectives and see how average Philadelphians were affected by war. (Grades 6th – 12th)
  1. Yellow Fever: With the letters of Dr. Benjamin Rush as the focus point, this program allows students to read the actual letters written to Dr. Rush during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. Students will play the role of the Doctor as they analyze the letters of fever patients. In addition, they will also see primary sources by Richard Allen, as well as view poetry on the epidemic by Philip Freneau. (Grades 3rd – 8th)
  1. Philadelphia in National History: This program is set to the teacher’s discretion. It is meant to provide an overview of Philadelphia history and can focus on topics such as Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the Centennial, diaries from local war veterans, and economics. This is meant for high school students to analyze sources and look at history over time. (Grades 9th – 12th)
  1. 20th Century:This program uses propaganda, scrapbooks, and personal letters/diaries to show students what life was like during WWI, WWII, and Vietnam. The sources include scrapbook of Anthony Drexel Biddle, Ambassador to Poland during WWII, and a scrapbook of WWI Red Cross Army nurse, Edith Madeira. (Grades 6th – 12th)




These programs are designed to either act as a prequel to a field trip or to supplement a lesson on a particular topic. While these programs are free, any school outside of the greater Philadelphia region is expected to pay for additional travel expenses.

When: Tuesday-Friday

Time: 1-2 hours

Sample Programs:

  1. Political Cartoons: Looking for a way for students to really engage with a primary source? Political cartoons offer a wide variety of historical topics and an easy way to teach point of view for any grade level. Topics include WWI, the Progressive Era, and the Civil War. They can be mixed and matched based on teacher needs. (Grades 4th-12th)
  1. William Penn/Philadelphia Then and Now: Understanding how things change overtime is an important concept for students to grasp. This outreach program uses historic maps, beginning with the original map of 1683, to show how Philadelphia haw grown and changed over time, including a hands-on activity in which students can map the city themselves. (Grades 1st-8th)
  1. What is an Archive?: This program was created to teach students how to use/access an archive. It will help students see how we are different from a regular library and introduce them to some of our sources. This is usually used as a prequel to a field trip. (All Grade Levels)
  1. NHD Overview: If you wish to implement National History Day into your classroom, we can visit to help your students get started on a topic. We offer a variety of topic ideas and help students in the process of how to research using primary sources. Students are also welcome to visit us for free, on their own, after-school for one-on-one mentoring. (Grades 6th – 12th)
  1. Childhood in the 19th Century: This program allows students to read the detailed orphan case files of children living in Philadelphia in the late 19th Century. These case files offer insight into the lives of foster children and the complications they often faced in finding a space place to live. (Grades 6th -12th)
  1. Abolition: Focusing on William Still, this program allows students to create a timeline of events dealing with abolition in Philadelphia. Students will also have the opportunity to read interviews from William Still’s Journal. (Grades 4th – 12th)

*These are just a few examples of topics we are offering this school year. If you wish to have an outreach as a field trip or vice versa, please contact us.