Centered in Coastal Virginia and minutes from Williamsburg, Hampton offers students an experience that spans from the Sea to the Stars, with lots of unique material in between. At 400 years and counting, Hampton is rich in history and the city showcases its heritage through its multifaceted attractions and tour sites. Just launched, the 2013-2014 Education Program for the Virginia Air & Space Center and the Hampton History Museum is an effective guide for aligning your student tour with your lesson plans.
Shoot for the Stars
The Virginia Air & Space Center, visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base, offers an array of educational programming for grades Pre-K through 12, designed to meet Virginia’s Standards of Learning guidelines and national Science Educational Standards. With an aim to stimulate students’ interest in STEM careers, the center’s informal science education approach promotes learning through experience, allowing students to find solutions to scientific problems.
Docent-led tours of the world-class facility feature more than 100 hands-on exhibits, simulators, air and space artifacts and suspended aircraft. Key exhibit highlights include the Apollo 12 Command Module, a Mars meteorite, and a three-billion year-old Moon rock. The technologically advanced digital 3D IMAX Theater fully engages students with its five-story screen and 16,000 watts of digital sound.
Teacher workshops and in-service training in conjunction with NASA Langley Research Center are provided at the Virginia Air & Space Center to support educator professional development. In addition to presenting tools to make concepts fun and easy to understand, educators may be able to earn recertification points while gaining tools and activities to use in the classroom. The Educator Resource Center (ERC) on site provides free instructional information, materials from wall posters to reference books, consultation, training workshops on NASA educational products, programs and services. Using a subject/grade-level approach, educators obtain standards-based technology in print, video, and web-based formats.
Back to the Future
Working daily to partner with educators to help students reach their academic goals, the Hampton History Museum programs illustrate the dynamism of history and the past’s influence on the world today. Museum educator Sarah Heinsman has developed a series of teacher workshops to increase educators’ knowledge of history, improve teaching skills, and return educators to the classroom with new ideas, greater confidence and resources to make history engaging.
The museum’s Legacy Project Tool Kit contains all the information a class needs to get started on a legacy project. In addition to cultivating students’ research and presentation skills, the program will help preserve historic and natural resources, share history with a wider audience and serve the nation by creating a lasting legacy. A few project examples include compiling a photographic history of a street or block in your neighborhood, using maps to study how an area has changed, or creating a rain or historic garden, a time capsule, public art, or a historic exhibit for the school or library.
In addition to its standard museum tour, Hampton History Museum offers themed tours that highlight Community, the Powhatan Indians, African American heritage, and Civics. Students are challenged to discover history from different perspectives while exploring the beliefs, motivations, and decisions of Hampton citizens in the past. Groups are encouraged to also visit St. John’s Church, the oldest English-speaking parish in North America; the Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe and Emancipation Oak on the campus of Hampton University in any combination of tours.
Now THIS is Awesome
Completed in 1834, Fort Monroe was originally designed to protect the Hampton Roads waterway from an enemy attack and is the largest stone fort in America. The fort’s formidable stone walls are surrounded by a moat and three sally ports admit vehicular and foot traffic. The 565-acres located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay have served as a home to some of our nation’s most significant events. The Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau has developed a GPS-based scavenger hunt of Fort Monroe, providing a lesson in history while blending fun, physical activity, and team building exercises.
Casemate Museum, located within the fort’s walls, chronicles the military history of Fort Monroe from the construction of Fort Algernourne, the first defensive fortification at the site in 1609, through the last major command to be headquartered at Fort Monroe. The museum features the casemate where Jefferson Davis was held briefly as prisoner following the American Civil War and highlights Major General Benjamin Butler’s Contraband of War decision that granted refuge to three escaped slaves. The museum also tells the history of the US Army Coast Artillery Corps. No longer an active military base, Fort Monroe is open to the public and admission to the Casemate Museum is free.
Set Sail for a Three Hour Tour
Cast off for a three-hour nautical adventure aboard the Miss Hampton II, featuring the scenic Hampton Roads harbor, island garrison Fort Wool, commentary on Fort Monroe, the Battle of the Ironclads, and an in depth review of the mighty warships at the Norfolk Naval Base. The group leader and motorcoach driver are admitted free.
Teen Party Cruises aboard the Miss Hampton are hot sellers! These two hour excursions feature scenic views of the harbor, a DJ playing their favorite tunes, Pizza, and unlimited soda bar. This tour’s always a hit!
Educate the Head, Hands & Heart
Hampton is home to Hampton University, established in 1868 as the Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute. The historic campus contains national historic landmarks including Emancipation Oak where Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was read to the residents of Hampton during the Civil War. The Hampton University Museum has a collection of more than 9,000 objects and works of art from cultures around the world and is the largest museum of its kind in southeastern U.S. The museum is free.
But There’s More! Call Bruce.
Hampton CVB provides tour assistance. Contact Bruce Newton at 800-487-8778 or [email protected] for the latest event information, assistance in coordinating your accommodations or to request a copy of the Educational Program Guide. Bruce can also assist with identifying band or choral performance venues. For more information on Hampton attractions and education programs, go online to VisitHampton.com.