Massachusetts is one of the original 13 colonies and played a major role in the Revolutionary War. In addition, the state has made many other important contributions to national life. That makes Massachusetts the perfect place to pursue student-friendly activities that explore American history.
Things To Do in the Capital City
As the capital of Massachusetts, Boston is the ideal spot to begin exploring with your students. The Freedom Trail is a winding 2.5-mile path that takes visitors to 16 historical sites, including Faneuil Hall and the Paul Revere House. Students can take the tour with a costumed guide who will engage with them along the walkways. Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum has interactive exhibits, multi-sensory displays and costumed actors. Join famous historical figures and march to Griffin’s Wharf to throw tea overboard in Bostons Harbor. The oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, also known as “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark,” is Fenway Park, a paradise for any sports lover. Visitors can take a walking tour through the home of Red Sox legends.
Students with a more artistic side will enjoy the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It is one of the largest museums in the United States with more than 450,000 works of art and has special exhibitions and innovative educational programs. Finally, students should make sure to visit the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, Harvard University, in Cambridge. They can tour the historic grounds, visit its museums and walk across the famous Harvard Yard.
Watch History Come to Life
Massachusetts offers visiting students not only the ability to view its historic landmarks but to take participate in hands-on activities and speak with costumed characters. In Plymouth, visitors can see the Mayflower II, a full-scale reproduction of the ship that carried the Pilgrims from England to the New World. Here they explore the cramped quarters and meet role players who share personal accounts of life on the ship. Nearby, students can visit Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum with sites that include the Wampanoag Homesite and 17th Century English Village. Interact with actors and true-blood Native Peoples dressed in authentic clothing.
Old Sturbridge Village also offers hands-on history lessons. It depicts life in an 18th century village featuring costumed history interpreters, antique buildings and a working farm. Battleship Cove in Fall River contains the largest collection of historical naval vessels in the world and is home to five national landmarks. It offers a variety of opportunities to learn about the machines and vessels used in America’s various wars. Students can participate in a program where they spend the night in a WWII vessel and learn about sailing.
Performance Opportunities for Every Musician
Boston Symphony Orchestra gives student groups the opportunity to participate in either a master class or an educational workshop with members of the orchestra. Ensembles can perform one or two pieces on the world-renowned stage and learn the ins and outs of a professional orchestra. In Boston, both the Berklee Performance Center and the Boston University Tsai Performance Center are available to rent. In Worcester, the Hanover Theatre and Mechanic’s Hall are rentable options for performance groups.
Exhilarating Outdoor Adventures
Those seeking a thrilling day outdoors should venture to the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. It is a year-round destination that offers zipline canopy tours, whitewater rafting, a ski resort and tubing park and America’s longest mountain coaster. Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge is one of the Berkshires’ prettiest towns, and home to the largest collection of original Norman Rockwell art.
Cape Cod National Seashore has 40 miles of sandy beaches, lighthouses and landscapes that offer a glimpse of Cape Cod’s scenic beauty. At the mouth of the Massachusetts Bay, in an 842-square-mile, marine-protected area, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is a diverse ocean area that can teach students about local marine sources and research being conducted. Students can go on a whale watching trip to view some of the largest animals on the planet. The Nantucket Whaling Museum discusses the fascinating history of whaling on the small island of Nantucket. A new interactive exhibit discusses the sinking of the whale ship Essex and its retelling in different forms, including Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick, and the upcoming Hollywood film, In the Heart of the Sea.
Massachusetts has many more exciting opportunities for student-friendly activities and it is the perfect location for student travelers. If you’ve explored the great state of Massachusetts, tell us about it below!