About History Discovery
The Fairfield Museum offers a fee waiver program for students in Fairfield County, funded through public and private sources. At least 50% of your class must receive free/reduced lunch. All programs include lesson plans, suggested pre and/or post activities and a listing of Curriculum Connections. The resources are available here >>
• Schools must have at least 50% of its students receiving free / reduced lunch.
• Teachers must sign and return the Application and Agreement at least 4 weeks before the requested program.
Apply online here >>
Download the application packet here >>
• For program choice, please indicate School Visit or Field Trip with the # of the program listed below.
• Teachers must complete and return an evaluation after the program is complete.
• Tour dates and times are subject to availability.
• Programs offered are on a first come/first served basis.
• Teachers must complete an evaluation form within one week of the program date. Complete the evaluation online here >>
Submission of the application does not confirm your group’s tour reservation. You will be contacted by the Museum with additional details and to confirm your reservation.
One grade may choose from one 0f the following programs:
1) A School Visit Program (Grades 2-4 or Grades 5-7)
Program Time = One Class Period. Class Size = Up to 4 classes/4 class periods in one day.
2) A Colonial Life / American Revolution Experience:
Field Trip to the Fairfield Museum (Grades 5-7)
Program Time = 3 ½ hours, including a lunch break (schools/students must bring their own lunch). Class Size = 60-80 students
School Visit Programs
1) Change Over Time [Grades 2 – 4]
View original objects that demonstrate how changes in technology have made an impact on our culture and society. Investigate how a simple box camera from the early 1900s influenced communication and how we document our lives including people, places and historical events. Discover patterns of change with the advent of portable devices and how this may influence the future.
CT Social Studies Frameworks: INQ K–2.10 – 17 | HIST 2.1 – 4, 2.6 – 2.11 | CIV 2.2, 2.4, 2.7 | ECO 2.3
CT Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.1-10, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.1-2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.7-10, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.1-3
2) Museum Collection [Grades 2 – 4]
What can objects tell us? View original and reproduction artifacts up close and discover the stories that give objects different meaning. See how collections can transport us to a different time by piecing together a story utilizing a painting, a letter, photographs and objects. These pieces can tell fascinating stories as well as prompt additional questions about how people lived in the past.
2nd Grade: INQ 2.7, 2.11, 2.14; HIST 2.2-4, 2.6, 2.7, 2.9, 2.11; CIV 2.2, 2.4, 2.6; GEO 2.2-5
3rd Grade: INQ 3.6-8, 3.11; HIST 3.2-7, 3.9-11; ECO 3.2-3; GEO 3.4-5
3) Primary Source Workshop: Slavery in Connecticut [Grades 5 – 7]
What was slavery like in Connecticut? Find out about the lives of slaves with historical clues including a petition for freedom by two slaves in 1779, slave sale receipts and other primary source documents. Learn about and debate the slavery issue in the 18th century and discover how America’s founding documents contradicted the realities of slavery.
5th Grade: INQ 5.6-10, 5.12-13; HIST 5.2-10; CIV 5.1, 5.3, 5.4; ECO 5.2-3; GEO 5.1-3
8th Grade: INQ 8.6-11, 8.13, 8.15-16; HIST 8.1-2, 8.4-10; CIV 8.1-4; ECO 8.1; GEO 8.4
4) Primary Source Workshop:
17th Century Witchcraft Trials in CT [Grades 5 – 7]
This workshop explores the causes and consequences of witchcraft beliefs, beginning with a brief introduction of its European history. In New England, religious beliefs and folk tradition instilled deep fears of magic, evil and supernatural powers. Author and illustrator Jakob Crane created powerful depictions of these events as a large-format graphic novel, reimagining these stories through a narrative of pen and ink drawings. The artwork was featured in the exhibition “Accused: Fairfield’s Witchcraft Trials” and demonstrates an artist’s interpretation of these fascinating stories based on primary sources and documented events.
Students are divided into groups to analyze the artwork and narrative from Fairfield’s witchcraft trials in 1651 through 1692. What types of evidence were used to prove “witchcraft?” How did these trials affect the opinions of neighbors, those accused, the accusers, and the judges? Students make judgments on the evidence to form conclusions about 17th century New England history with discussions on “witch hunts” that still happen today.
5th Grade: INQ 5.6-10, 5.12-13; HIST 5.2, 5.5, 5.8-10; CIV 5.1-4; ECO 5.1; GEO 5.2
8th Grade: INQ 8.7, 8.9, 8.11, 8.13-16; HIST 8.1-6, 8.8-10; CIV 8.3-4; ECO 8.1; GEO 8.3
An Educator Guide is available for download on the Educator Resources page.
Field Trip to the Fairfield Museum: Colonial Life & American Revolution [Grades 5 – 7]
1) Meet the Militia – Living History
An educator in period uniform reveals the challenges of a soldier’s life during the American Revolution.
Learn about the essential items a soldier had to carry, what a wool uniform might feel like,
and how a musket was fired.
From the powder horn and musket to the haversack and flint, hear engaging stories of how soldiers
faced hardships in battle and survived.
HIST 5.2, 5.4, 5.7, 5.10, CIV 5.2, GEO 5.2
2) Revolution in Connecticut: Gallery & Walking Tour
Explore the role of Fairfield and Connecticut in the Revolution and the events that forced townspeople to take sides. Primary source letters, paintings and objects help to tell harrowing personal stories of the people affected by the war, including the Silliman family, whose lives were affected by a kidnapping by the Loyalists. Meet the wealthy Burr family who hosted visits from John Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Aaron Burr. Walk in the steps of the British soldiers who invaded the town in 1779 and set up headquarters along Beach Road. Learn about these events and how the townspeople fought back.
HIST 5.2-10, CIV 5.1-4, ECO 5.2-3, GEO 5.2-3
3) Old Burying Ground Challenge
This orienteering scavenger hunt uncovers fascinating details about the lives of the colonial settlers, soldiers and sailors. Students learn how to use a compass and work in teams throughout the cemetery, answering questions that reinforce critical thinking, geography and math skills. Students discover patterns about life and death in colonial times and how gravestone imagery reflects changing beliefs.
HIST 5.2-3, 5.5, 5.7-8, 5.10; CIV 5.2; ECO 5.3; GEO 5.1-3
4) Tavern Drama: Taking Sides in a Connecticut Town
This tavern operated by Samuel and Hannah Penfield was built immediately after the Burning of Fairfield by the British in 1779. In the tap room, students can become a local and sit at a tavern table, empty out the mailbag or read a newspaper from 200 years ago. Upstairs, take on the life of a traveler staying overnight. Following a brief tour, students re-enact excerpts from primary and secondary sources to reveal perspectives from Patriots and Loyalists, acting out the events that occurred when the British invaded in 1779.
HIST 5.2, 5.4-5, 5.8, 5.10; CIV 5.2, 5.4; ECO 5.2-3, GEO 5.2-3