MHS history-based school programs provide age-appropriate, hands-on, and interactive components that encourage student engagement. Each learner returns to the classroom with a greater understanding of the history of Madison.
Aligned with the goals of the content standards in the CT Social Studies Framework, our programs will help students to:
- develop historical thinking skills, including chronological thinking and recognizing change 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 themes 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.
Additional content standards in the arts, language studies, and geography are also addressed.
The Madison Historical Society has specifically designed programs for second and fifth grades.
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 five 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 re-enactor 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
Children at Work and Play in Madison (Deacon John Grave House)
The 1685 Deacon John Grave House is a perfect setting for learning about colonial life. Students participate in activities related to a colonial child’s work. 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 Five Madison History Program
This program aligns with the goals of the content standards of the CT Grade Five Social Studies Framework, which states:
"In Grade 5, students engage in the study of events early in United States history from indigenous peoples here prior to colonization through the American Revolution. An emphasis is placed on analyzing and evaluating a variety of documents, sources, and perspectives. The study of early American history requires that students generate and research compelling questions such as:
• How do Americans define freedom and equality and how have American conceptions of freedom and equality changed over the course of U.S. history for members of various racial, ethnic, religious, and gender minority groups?
• Is America a land of political, economic, and social opportunity?
• What was the significance of Connecticut’s contribution to America’s story?
• Is the United States a “just” society and how has the concept of justice evolved over time?
• Is there an American national identity; what does it mean to be an American?
• What should be the current role of the United States in world affairs?"
Among the many alignments are:
HIST 5.1 Create and use a chronological sequence of related events to compare developments that happened at the same time.
HIST 5.2 Compare life in specific historical periods to life today.
HIST 5.3 Use information about a historical source, including the maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and purpose to judge the extent to which the source is useful for studying a particular topic.
HIST 5.4 Explain why individuals and groups during the same historical period differed in their perspectives.
HIST 5.5 Explain connections among historical contexts and people’s perspectives at the time.
HIST 5.6 Compare information provided by different historical sources about the past.
HIST 5.7 Generate questions about multiple historical sources and their relationships to particular historical events and developments.
HIST 5.8 Use information about a historical source, including the maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and purpose to judge the extent to which the source is useful for studying a particular topic.
HIST 5.9 Explain probable causes and effects of events and developments.
HIST 5.10 Use evidence to develop a claim about the past.
CIV 5.1 Explain how groups of people make rules to create responsibilities and protect freedoms.
CIV 5.2 Describe ways in which people benefit from and are challenged by working together, including through government, workplaces, voluntary organizations, and families.
CIV 5.3 Identify core civic virtues and democratic principles that guide government, society, and communities.
CIV 5.4 Explain how policies are developed to address public problems.
ECO 5.1 Identify positive and negative incentives that influence the decisions people make.
ECO 5.2 Identify examples of the variety of resources (human capital, physical capital, and natural resources) that are used to produce goods and services.
ECO 5.3 Explain why individuals and businesses specialize and trade.
GEO 5.1 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their environmental characteristics.
GEO 5.2 Explain how culture influences the way people modify and adapt to their environments.
GEO 5.3 Explain how human settlements and movements relate to the locations and use of various natural resources.
The Meeting House
First Congregational Church of Madison
Students congregate in the pews of the church as an eighteenth-century minister in costume briefly introduces the history of the church in the Colonial Period. He explains the role of the Connecticut Congregational Church and its patriot ministers in the Revolutionary Era and during the Civil War. Included is a demonstration of the historic organ, an experience with the “tickler” that kept congregants awake, and a ringing of the church bell.
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 popuation and how they should respond to the needs of refugees. Groups later come together to vote as a town.
Primary Source Documents
Charlotte L. Evarts Memorial Archives at Memorial Town Hall
Students are introduced to primary source information of the Revolutionary War era and/or the Civil War era. They learn how to handle and properly store historic documents.
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.
Madison as a Coastal Village
Congregational Church Community Rooms
Students are introduced to the concept of trade and bartering as it applied to daily life in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Madison.
Madison's Ironclad History
First Congregational Church Hall
Students learn about Cornelius Bushnell, one of Madison's most famous citizens, and his involvement in the completion of the transcontinental railroad and the funding and creation of the USS Monitor in the Civil War.
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, Astrid Bernard. To reach her, call 203.245.4567 or send an e-mail to contact@madison history.org
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.
Paula will send, by e-mail to your school, a confirmation, an invoice for all students attending, and any additional needed information.
Teacher/ Chaperone Information
School programs are held in October for the second grades and April for the fifth grades.
Should it rain, all activities will be held indoors at various locations on the green.
Access for children with disabilities can be arranged in advance.
Restrooms are available at Lee’s Academy and at Memorial Town Hall. Students need to be accompanied by an adult chaperone.
Whether you arrive for your program on foot or by bus, please plan to meet our guides at 9am at the steps of the First Congregational Church. Parents and chaperones who arrive by car also meet the classes at the church steps. Parents and chaperones are expected to be free of child care and able to participate with the classes.
After a brief greeting, student groups and teachers and chaperones are directed to their first activity and will follow a guide to that location.
Teachers will receive a printed schedule with the times noted for each activity; please note that students move quickly between locations as the programs are planned using all of the allotted time.
Teachers and chaperones are expected to participate in all activities in each location and to share in the class discussions whenever appropriate.
All cellphones must be silenced as they can become a distraction to our eighteenth and nineteenth activities.
Cellphone use should be limited to emergencies only.
Food and drink are not permitted during the activities.
A 30-minute lunch is scheduled during the fifth grade program. Picnicking for lunch is permissible, weather permitting, on the town green. Arrangements will be in place for an indoor lunch in case of rain. Each teacher MUST pack his or her class’s bagged lunches in a large, sturdy plastic bag, clearly marked with the teacher’s name. Chaperones will place each class’s bagged lunches in the church hall through the double doors, in the space immediately outside the community room. Chaperones will retrieve the lunch bags at an appointed time and bring them either to the town green or to varied nearby indoor location.
Teachers: Please inform the MHS in advance if any student cannot be photographed. Also, please alert the photographer and guides at each location.