School Programs

Historic Beverly offers educational programs for students from grades 3 to 12.

We are currently revamping our education offerings to reflect the updated Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, look for new programs in the fall. In the meantime, we’re happy to offer house tours or to work with individual teachers to add unique elements to classroom presentations and programs at our historic houses. Please contact us to book your program or to inquire about our offerings.

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Digging up the past – An Introduction to Archaeology

Our museum educator will visit your classroom to talk about early European settlement on the North Shore, focusing on the history of the 17th century Balch House and an archaeological dig done at the site. Archaeological terms and procedures are explained. Small groups of students are given a “pit” in order to perform their own “dig”. They will be encouraged to use the scientific method while they extract actual historic artifacts. These artifacts will be examined, identified from resource material and dated. The students then present their findings to the class.

Fee: $100 per class
Massachusetts State Learning standards: 3.2, 3.4, 3.9, 3.11, 3.12
Concepts and Skills: #3 Observe and describe local or regional historic artifacts.

New England Maritime History: The Triangle Trade

This program is designed for 5th grade students, but can easily be adapted for older students as well. The Massachusetts maritime trade in the 18th and 19th centuries was a worldwide enterprise. Beverly, Salem and other coastal communities sent vessels laden with salt cod, lumber, rum and other products to the West Indies, European, Asian, and African ports, returning with goods for the domestic market. Students will use copies of our primary documents like bill-of-good, letters and newspapers and a trading game to understand this fascinating period. They will also learn about the role that some Massachusetts merchants had in the African slave trade. The educator can come to the classroom or the students can visit the Cabot House where they will be able to view our exhibits and see actual maritime objects. Fees: In classroom, $100 per class; Cabot House programs $5 per student

Massachusetts State Learning Standards: 5.11, 5.12
Concepts and Skills: #3 Observe and identify details in photographs and charts relating to historical narrative #4 and #7 Maps #12, 13, 14; Terms- profit, entrepreneur, supply and demand.

Historic House Tours

Students of all ages can get a feel for life in the past by visiting one of our historic houses. Fee: $75 per house per class (up to 25). Please allow 45 minutes per house; note that groups of more than 15 will need to be divided at Balch and Hale, which will increase the time.

At the Balch House, built about 1680, students will learn about life in the colonial period, including home life, education, farming and trade.

Hale Farm was once the home of Beverly’s first minister, John Hale. He built this house in 1694, not long after the witchcraft crises of 1692. Hale was involved in the trials and it was here that he wrote his book “A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft.” This was also an early summer home during the “Gold Coast” years, when the wealthy folks of the cities summered here.

Cabot House was built by wealthy merchant John Cabot in 1781. At the Cabot House (home to Historic Beverly) students will see objects illustrating maritime trade, Beverly’s role in the American Revolution and the early days of the Republic.