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School Tours

The education of youngsters is a cornerstone of the mission of the Madison Historical Society. Our children’s programs are updated annually to ensure that we offer community-oriented learning opportunities for learners of all ages.

Our goal is to design creative, interactive programs that encourage children to discover history together. Through programs aligned with the Connecticut Social Studies Framework standards, we aim to ensure that students and teachers enjoy meaningful educational experiences.

With school curricula in mind, we have created programs for that focus on the history of Madison's people, places, and events. We thank our neighbors at the Deacon John Grave House, the Charlotte L. Evarts Memorial Archives, and the First Congregational Church for their collaboration in our collective efforts.

Program offerings may include a colonial town hall that focuses on voting rights, a colonial trading exercise that teaches students about the barter system, and a short play on our nation's first president, entitled "Where Will Washington Sleep?" The coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of teaching, pushing faculty and students onto virtual learning platforms and canceling school outings. In response, the MHS has created virtual programming to supplement the core curriculum.


MHS history-based school programs provide age-appropriate, hands-on, and interactive components that encourage student engagement. Each young learner returns to the classroom with a greater understanding of the history of Madison.

Our programs seek to help students:

  • Develop historical thinking skills, including chronological thinking and recognizing changes over time.
  • Use historical thinking skills to develop an understanding of major historical periods, issues, and trends in local and Connecticut history.
  • Apply their understanding of historical periods, issues, and trends to examine such historical these as ideals, beliefs, and institutions; conflict and conflict resolution, human movement and interaction; and science and technology in order to understand how the world came to be the way it is.
  • Recognize the continuing importance of historical thinking and historical knowledge in their own lives and in the world in which we live.


Content standards in the arts, language studies, and geography are also addressed.

In all of our education programs for young learners, we are committed to inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. To the best of our ability, we provide accommodations for all learners with temporary health conditions or permanent disabilities that require accommodations. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between school faculty, staff, and the MHS.

What Teachers Say About Their Experience

These field trips are so well designed and coordinated--and it's clear that great care and thought has been put into aligning the activities with the social studies content standards. I love how my students' faces lit up as they participated in activities that revealed interesting facts about the history of their own town.

- Christa Laragy, 2nd grade teacher, Jeffrey School

How to Schedule a Visit

Advance reservations are required. Please book at the beginning of the school year. To book your trip or to ask any questions, please contact the MHS office manager at 203.245.4567 or send an e-mail to

Full payment is due on or before the day of the tour. We accept cash and checks made payable to the Madison Historical Society. The cost is $4 per child. Adults are free.

The MHS will send a confirmation email with an invoice and any additional necessary information.

Programs & Curriculum Alignments

Grade Two Madison History Program

This program aligns with the goals of the content standards of the CT Grade Two Social Studies Framework, which states:

"Second-grade students will engage in the study of how people both past and present have made a difference in their community, country, and world as well as exploring how and what we decide to remember about the past. This interdisciplinary study incorporates history, civics, economics, and geography and requires that students generate and research compelling questions such as:

  • How can people make a difference in society?
  • How do both individuals and groups of people make a difference in our town, state, country, and world?
  • How and what do we decide to remember about the past?
  • How do things in the past connect to what happens today?"

Classes rotate through stations near or on the Madison green. Each stop at the learning stations lasts for approximately 30 minutes. The program begins at 9:30 and ends at noon.


Meet Mrs. Madison (James Madison Statue on the Madison Green)
A costumed reenactor portraying former First Lady Dolley Madison talks to students about James Madison’s life as president of the United States. Included in her talk is the history of how the town of Madison, Connecticut, came to be named in her husband's honor. Mrs. Madison also tells the story of how the White House was burned during James Madison's administration, and she leads the students in a hands-on game of “bucket brigade” to demonstrate how fires were extinguished (or not!) during the nineteenth century. CIV. 2.7; GEO 2.6

Where Will George Washington Sleep? (First Congregational Church)
Where Will Washington Sleep? is a short play that takes place in a home in Madison when two goodwives learn that George Washington is traveling through town and needs a place to sleep for the night. Students learn about varied aspects of colonial cultural and social life. HIST. 2.4, 2.5; CIV. 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

Colonial Schoolroom (First Congregational Church)
Students participate in activities related to a colonial child's school day. HIST. 2.4, 2.5; ECO. 2.3

Fun & Games at the Grave House (Deacon John Grave House)
Students participate in activities related to a colonial child’s play. GEO 2.6; HIST. 2.4, 2.5

Grade Four Madison History Program

This program aligns with the goals of the content standards of the CT Grade Four Social Studies Framework, which states: "In Grade Four, students engage in the study of United States geography as it relates to the regional cultural, economic, and political development of the United States. The study of geography requires that students generate and research compelling questions such as:

  • How does where we live affect how we live?
  • How and why do places change over time?
  • What characteristics make groups of people unique?
  • What role does climate play in people’s lives?
  • Is there an American national identity; what does it mean to be an American?
  • Why do people move from one region to another?"


Town Meeting
Meeting Room, Upper Level Memorial Town Hall
Students re-enact a town meeting debating the town’s request to house and educate refugees from Long Island in 1776. Costumed “selectmen” guide the students as they break into small groups to discuss how to solve the problems of the growing population and how they should respond to the needs of refugees. Groups later come together to vote as a town.

Colonial Life
Deacon John Grave House
A tour of the seventeenth-century Deacon John Grave House introduces students to life in the colonial period. Costumed interpreters lead the students through varied topics in rooms downstairs and upstairs.

Colonial Artifacts
First Congregational Church Hall
Students identify the purposes of varied colonial artifacts. They will examine household tools and implements to determine their use.

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