The Charleston Museum
Visual Art, STEM/Engineering, Social Studies
The Charleston Museum has been offering outreach programming to local students for over 100 years. With our large and varied collections we can offer exciting experiences for all ages covering a wide range of topics. From mummies to mammals to people that made history we work with you to develop programs that bring to life the classroom curriculum.
Colonial and Revolutionary Charleston
• Learn what life was like in Colonial Charleston. Read the accounts of people and families who moved to the New World and discover what their journey and new lives were like in a strange land. Create a tableau scene using costumes and props to tell the story of new colonists. Play a game that lets you become someone living in colonial Charleston and learn what life was like for a gentry girl, a young apprentice, and an enslaved boy. Understand the role of Charleston and South Carolina during the American Revolution. Enjoy a role playing activity where students dress the part of King, Parliament, Tax Collector, and Colonists to understand taxation.
Option to add day about apprenticeships and learn what life was like for an apprentice. Read an indenture contract and learn about someone of the skills apprentices were taught. Create your own pottery piece and learn about an enslaved apprentice, Dave Drake, known as Dave the Potter (Make Your Mark Class—Gullah Traditions).
• Contributions by African Americans have made a significant impact on the Lowcountry. Students will use artifacts, documents, and replicas to understand the African American experience from their lives in Western Africa, to the plantations of South Carolina, to life after the Civil War. Then choose from one of three possible activities –
• The Rhythm of Rice – Many steps of rice production were done to a rhythm. Learn the steps of rice production using art work, a fanner basket, and a mortar and pestle. Handle African instruments and learn the history of work songs and call and response.
• Make Your Mark - Objects tell stories, learn stories of the life of the enslaved by studying items they made from the Museum’s collection. Read the jars created by Dave the enslaved potter, feel the fingerprints left by enslaved brick masons, and create a piece of pottery as a way to leave your mark.
• Document Detectives (recommended for older grades) – In South Carolina it was against the law for the enslaved to read and write. Most written documentation of the lives of slaves was not written by the enslaved, but by the enslavers. Analyze documents of slave sales, runaway slave ads, and more to uncover information about their lives.
Technology, Engineering, and Perspectives of the Civil War
• Learn about the realities of war by investigating technology, engineering, and perspectives of the Civil War. This 5 day class allows students to have a hands-on experience with history by discovering haversacks representing how different groups of people impacted and survived the war. These haversacks cover the perspectives of Union and Confederate soldiers, women on the home front and woman at war, and the experience of Black Union soldiers and the enslaved people in Charleston.
Students will use their haversacks to create plays and tableaus, perform artifact analysis, and compare perspectives.
Students will also explore the science of war by learning about medical technology and techniques used in the war. They will practice bandaging, handle a 3D model of a prosthetic arm, and explore a surgeon’s kit. In addition, they will learn about photography in the Civil War and how it captured the first real images of war. An additional day covers the construction of forts in the Lowcountry and students will see images of different types of fortifications built in our area and will have a chance to build their own fort using sugar cubes.
Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Natural Disasters of the Lowcountry
• Experience natural disasters like never before! Students will learn the science and history of earthquakes and twisters in our area by exploring images, documents, and oral histories. Students will also have a chance to create their own earthquake proof-buildings by making structures from household materials and testing their strength on earthquake tables. They will learn why their buildings worked and why some did not. Students will also create twisters in a bottle to see how hurricanes and tornadoes form. They will also use their map reading skills by studying the Halsey Map which covers all the natural disasters, history, and governments of Charleston from 1670 to the 1940s.
South Carolina Natural Resources
• Learn about the natural resources of South Carolina through the exploration of artifacts! This 3 day class covers how Indigenous Peoples survived in the Lowcountry, how the European colonists used the resources to build wealth, and how rice, indigo, and cotton were grown using enslaved workers from Africa. This class include the Rhythm of Rice activity. Students will create pinch or coil pots using clay just as the Indigenous Peoples did. Students will also learn to card cotton and read a story about Eliza Lucas Pinckney and how she brought indigo to South Carolina.
Day at the Dill
• Immerse yourself into history, science, and the arts by creating your own combination of programs at the Dill Sanctuary. Choose either Marsh Walk or Hidden History and add two or three activity stations. Each station takes 20 – 30 minutes.
Science and Art Stations
• Pluff Mud Painting – What’s that smell? Pluff Mud is nature’s soup that feeds creatures of the salt marsh. Learn about its importance to life in the salt marsh as you create a painting using it.
• Nature Art – Nature plays a vital role in our creative expression. Students will collect items from their nature walk and work in groups to create a sculpture based on the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy.
• Creature Creations – All animals have creature features or adaptations that help them survive in their habitat. Students will create a new creature, one that does NOT already exist, that can survive in their assigned habitat. Each group will use magnetic creature feature drawings to assemble their new creation and explain its adaptations.
• Gyotaku – Students will create a colorful fish print and learn basic fish anatomy using a hundred year old Japanese art form.
• Web of Life – Students will represent plants and animals living in a shared habitat. Using string the students will make connections to each other to visually simulate the web of life.
• Eat Like a Bird – Can a pelican slurp up nectar? No – all bird beaks are designed for a specific type of food. Students will investigate bird beaks and their diet by using every day tools and trying to atch their food.
• Walk like a Coyote – Hiding, seeking, sneaking, stalking – learn to walk like different animals and learn how animals acquire their food.
Social Studies Stations
• What is It? – Artifacts help tell us about people that lived here before us. Analyze various artifacts to try to piece together the past.