Education

Education at Rokeby Museum

Rokeby Museum offers a variety of educational learning experiences for elementary, middle, high-school, college and homeschool students. In addition, museum staff welcome requests from lifelong learning groups and businesses. Education programs are now 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, “Why say “enslaved” instead of “slave?” “Did slavery ever exist in Vermont?” and “What makes you feel safe?”

At Rokeby, 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 Simon and Jesse, two freedom seekers sheltered at Rokeby in the 1830s. The exhibit traces their stories from slavery to freedom, introduces the abolitionist Robinson family who called Rokeby home for nearly 200 years, and explores the turbulent decades leading up to the Civil War. While historic images, documents, stories, and two audiovisual “experiences” help bring the past to life, students are challenged to look at themselves as present-day makers of history.

Programs

Rokeby and the Underground Railroad in Vermont (Grade 2–8, 1.5 hour)

Visit Rokeby for our premier school program! Students will learn the stories of freedom seekers Simon and Jesse, as well as the abolitionist Robinson family that called Rokeby home. Together we’ll unpack the many myths about the UGRR, and discuss how historians separate fact from fiction. Comprehension-based discussion topics center around laws, privilege, safety, racism, resistance and inequity in modern society.

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-lesson, primary source worksheet is available with request.

Rokeby and the Underground Railroad in Vermont (Grade 9–12, 1.5 hour)

Visit Rokeby for our premier school program! Students will hear the stories of the abolitionist Robinson family, freedom seekers Simon and Jesse who lived at Rokeby, and the triumphs and challenges of other 19th-century Black Vermonters. Discussion topics will center around privilege, safety, and racism. Together we’ll unpack how power dynamics and subjectivity appear in the stories and records of the Underground Railroad and even Rokeby itself.

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. Tour concludes with a short, reflection activity.

Virtual Tour: Reimagining the Underground Railroad (all ages, 1 hour)

Adaptable for all age groups, Rokeby brings our educational program to your screen! Utilizing the museum’s abundant collection of historic letters, journals, photographs, and artifacts, visitors and students alike will learn the stories of Simon and Jesse, freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad, as well as the abolitionist Robinson family. Together, we’ll unpack the many myths about the UGRR 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 and into focus, a mirror for contemporary experiences.

Guided Tours for Lifelong Learners (1.5 hours)

Designed for adult groups of all kinds, be that college students, businesses, committees, church groups or otherwise, Guided Tours for Lifelong Learners invites participants to learn Underground Railroad history anew: reflecting and interrogating the triumphs, tribulations, myths and regional particularities of Vermont. Visitors will hear stories about the white abolitionist Robinson family, freedom seekers Simon and Jesse, and other 19th-century Black Vermont pioneers. Groups will tour portions of the exhibits, historic home and outbuildings.

Utilizing facilitated dialogue techniques, educators will challenge participants to engage with history in fresh and exciting ways, encouraging participants to share stories from their own lives in order to connect with and bring the past out of obscurity. Tour concludes with a short, reflection activity.

If you’re interested in organizing a field trip to Rokeby, please 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.

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