Education

Rokeby Museum offers on-site, in-classroom, and virtual learning experiences for students PreK–12, college, and homeschool groups. In addition, the museum welcomes requests from adult learning groups. Field are trips offered year-round.

Education at Rokeby

When learners visit Rokeby, they are invited to reflect and draw connections between slavery, the Underground Railroad, and the modern struggle for social justice and equity — set against a backdrop of Vermont history. We’ll tackle questions like, “What makes you feel safe?” “Why say “enslaved” instead of “slave?” and “What is the history of slavery in Vermont?” 

Educators guide groups through portions of the historic home, farm buildings and exhibits. The Museum’s most in-depth treatment of the Underground Railroad is the exhibit, Free & Safe: The Underground Railroad in Vermont, which introduces learners to freedom seekers Simon and Jesse. The exhibit traces their stories from slavery to freedom, and chronicles the abolition work of the Robinson family who called Rokeby home for nearly 200 years. At Rokeby, historic rooms, images, documents, and conversation bring the past to life, and students are challenged to see themselves as present-day history makers.

Programs

Tours for Young Learners (Grade PreK–2, 1.5 hour)

Visit Rokeby Museum for a day of active learning! Students will be up on their feet as they explore the historic house, farm buildings, grounds and exhibits. Examine historic tools, objects and images as we answer the question, “what are museums, and why do we have them?” Preschool and kindergarten students will approach the past from the inside out, starting with the self, to frame a discovery about differences and likenesses with Rokeby’s historic residents. First- and second-grade conversations will center on concepts of fairness/unfairness, empathy and taking action as they hear and relate to stories about the Robinsons, their staff, and the freedom seekers. A suggested pre-visit book list included. Pair your visit with a walk on the trails!

Rokeby and the Underground Railroad (Grades 3–12, 1.5 hour)

During a field trip on our premier school program, students will come to understand how factors such as geography, laws, and the work of antislavery activists led to a regional, shifting landscape of experience on the Underground Railroad (UGRR). Together we’ll unpack the many myths about the UGRR and discuss how historians at Rokeby used primary source documents to separate fact from fiction. Students will learn about the freedom seekers that came to Rokeby, the triumphs and challenges of 18th/19th century Black Vermonters, as well as the extraordinary abolitionist work, and missteps of the White Robinson family. Comprehension-based learning themes include legislation, dissent, privilege, safety, racism, and social inequity.

Utilizing facilitated dialogue techniques, students are invited to pull from their own experiences while learning stories about historic freedom seekers and abolitionists. In this way, students can find that the past is not so disconnected, and their experiences and actions in the present are valid and have impact. A pre-visit, primary source lesson plan available.

Virtual Field Trips (Grades 2–12/adults, 1 hour)

Bring Rokeby to your screen! Guides bring visitors on an entirely 3D experience through the historic house, outbuildings and Free & Safe exhibit. Utilizing the museum’s abundant collection of letters, photographs, and artifacts, visitors will get an up-close glimpse of the spaces where freedom seekers slept and worked, as well as hear the stories of Rokeby’s historic residents. Together, we’ll unpack the many myths about the Underground Railroad as well as the regional particularities of Vermont. Always a unique and engaging experience, facilitators will guide participants to share stories from their own lives in efforts to bring the past out of obscurity, a mirror for our contemporary experiences. Adaptable for all age groups but suggested for Grades 2–12, and adults.

In-Classroom Programs (Grades 2–6, 1 hour)

Bring the Rokeby experience to your classroom! A Rokeby Educator will visit your class to lead students through a journey of historic discovery about the Underground Railroad. Utilizing a combination of primary source documents, touch-friendly objects, facilitated conversation and a digital tour of the Museum, students will uncover the lived experience of freedom seekers who came to Vermont. Program suggested for Grades 2–6, designed for one classroom (or less than 25 students) and available to schools typically within an hour’s drive of the Museum.

Lifelong Learning Tours (Adults, 1.5 hours)

Designed for adult groups of all kinds, be that college students, teachers, committees, businesses, church groups or otherwise, this intimate experience invites participants to bond as they learn the history of the Underground Railroad (UGRR) with a fresh set of eyes. As groups reflect and interrogate the methods of the antislavery movement, the myths of the UGRR, and its regional particularities, educators encourage visitors to share experiences from their own lives and facilitate conversation connecting past and present. Groups will tour portions of the exhibits, historic home and outbuildings while learning about Rokeby’s historic residents, staff and freedom seekers.

If you’re interested in organizing a field trip to Rokeby, please fill out the inquiry form above. For other information or questions, please call the museum at 802.877.3406 or e-mail Tucker Foltz.

The Museum also offers Farm Tours by request. Learning centers on agricultural history, methods, food and land use, and utilizes Rokeby’s numerous outbuildings, farm-to-forest trail system, and nearly 200 years of farm history. Reach out if interested! 

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