Field Trip & Outreach Program Descriptions

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Field Trip & Outreach Program Descriptions

Program Offerings 2015-2016 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 utilize a stations approach to document-based learning where students will interact directly with primary source material on pre-selected subjects.

When:   Monday 9am, 11am, or 2pm or Tuesday and Thursday 9:30am or 10am

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

Time: 2 hours


  1. Abolitionists: This program focuses on various Philadelphia abolitionists from William Still to the Grimke Sisters utilizing documents including newspapers and letters relating to abolition. Students will have the opportunity to read articles, 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: This program engages students in all aspects of the Civil War with heated debates over slavery, reading diaries from Gettysburg, and studying various visuals from battlefields to cartoons. Students will analyze this conflicting time in our nation’s history and see how average Philadelphians were affected by the 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 use a graphic organizer to analyze the letters of real fever patients and then compare and contrast what they learn to how we think about medicine today. In addition, they will also see primary sources by Richard Allen and Absalom Jones to show how the African American community overcame adversity to help those in need 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 in the context on larger national issues, such as Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the Centennial, war, and economics. This is meant for high school students to analyze sources and look at history contextually. (Grades 9th – 12th)




These programs are designed to either act as a prequel to a field trip or to supplement a lesson on a particular topic. Please note we are willing to travel, although it is recommended that travel is compensated for schools outside Philadelphia.

When: Tuesday-Friday

Time: 1-2 hours


  1. Political Cartoons: Looking for a way for students to really engage with a primary source? Political cartoons relate a wide variety of historical topics and offer an easy way to teach point-of-view for any grade level. Topics include WWI, the Progressive Era, and the Civil War. Topics can be mixed and matched based on teacher needs. (Grades 4th – 12th)
  1. Philadelphia Then and Now: Understanding how things change overtime is an important concept for students to grasp. This outreach program uses historic maps to show how Philadelphia has grown and changed over time, including a hands-on activity where students map the city themselves. (Grades 3rd – 6th)
  1. What is an Archive?: This program is made to help students understand who we are and what we do to prepare them for a visit or for general knowledge. It will help students see how HSP is different from a regular library and introduce them to some of our sources. (Grades 3rd - 12th)
  1. NHD overview: If you wish to implement National History Day in your classroom, we can visit to help your students get started on a topic. We offer a variety of topic ideas and help students understand the process of how to research using primary sources. Students are also welcome to visit us for free to conduct their own project research. (Grades 6th-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.

    HEAD for the Future is an education initiative by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in partnership with Wells Fargo.