Contact

To schedule an on-site visit or outreach program please contact:

Bethany White
Education Coordinator
914.232.5651 ext 101
bethany.white@parks.ny.gov

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAJohn Jay Homestead State Historic Site invites you and your class to learn about the life of John Jay and to explore the exciting times in which he lived.

The Homestead offers a variety of program options that meet current state curriculum standards. Each program provides students with a first-hand look at the changing nature of everyday life by comparing today’s lifestyles and concerns with those of Jay’s era. The programs encourage students to use the critical thinking skills of a historian or social scientist, asking them to read, analyze, apply, synthesize and evaluate historical information.

Programs are designed to last approximately 2½ hours. This includes a tour of either the historic farm or historic house museum, plus an educational activity. All of our programs can be adapted for students with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Please make us aware of these special needs when you book your visit.

Groups of up to 60 students per visit can be accommodated. Special accommodations may be made for larger groups. Picnic facilities are available, and we also have indoor spaces that can be used in case of inclement weather. Click here to download our Education Program brochure.

Program Options

Please let us know if you are interested in customizing any of our programs to fit the educational needs of your students.

Then and Now
What was life like 200 years ago? Students will compare and contrast their everyday lives with the way the Jay family lived in the early 1800s. A tour of the historic house will focus on the lack of modern conveniences and its impact on everyday life. Choose one of three complementary educational activities: becoming an “artifact detective” by looking at objects such as chamber pots and open hearth toasters and using analytical skills to determine the objects’ purposes; playing colonial games and making a take-home cup and ball game; or making hand-dipped candles. In addition, students will discuss the differences between urban, suburban and rural locations.
Grade level: K–3
Pre-visit preparation documents click here.

Life of a Child
What was it like to be a child in early America? What subjects would children have learned about in school? Did they have any chores or household responsibilities? What did kids do for fun? Students will take a historic house tour which focuses on the lives of the Jay children who lived at the Homestead, as well as the servant children who worked there. During a visit to our 1826 schoolhouse, students will experience a mini-lesson in either spelling or math, based on your classroom curriculum. Finally, students will have “recess” and play games that were popular in the 1800s. Optionally, students will participate in a craft activity where they will make a take-home cup and ball game.
Grade level: 2–5

John Jay’s Farm
This program uses the historic farm structures on the property as well as letters and maps to explore the evolution of agriculture and how technological advances affected the industry. All students will tour the historic farm, discuss building and land use, and learn about agriculture in New York. Younger students will use a series of maps to discuss the evolution of the farm from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. Older students will examine historic documents to learn about the impact of changing modes of transportation and advances in technology on agricultural enterprise. During the winter, or in the event of inclement weather, students will take a historic house tour that focuses on the business of the farm. Optional post-visit classroom activities using maps and other documents are also available.
Grade level: 2–12

John Jay, Revolutionary Spymaster
Though widely celebrated for his political and diplomatic achievements, John Jay played an important role in creating a spy network to help defend the colonies during the Revolutionary War. Students will explore the historic house museum looking for secret spy messages while learning about the defenses protecting New York, the split loyalties of its inhabitants, different spying techniques, and historical anecdotes about important political figures. Students will participate in a ciphering activity and decode secret spy messages. An optional post-visit classroom ciphering activity is also available.
Grade level: 4–8
Pre-visit preparation documents click here.

John Jay and the Constitution
What’s the difference between a president and a king? How much power should states have? What does the Constitution say about slavery? Moving through the historic house museum and using objects from our collection and documents from the Jay archives, students will learn how states with very different economies and interests, having just fought a long and expensive war against a king, agreed to come together and adopt a government with strong but clearly-defined powers. An optional post-visit classroom activity using additional documents is also available.
Grade level: 6–12

Slaves, Slavery and the Jay Family
How is a servant different from a slave? What’s the difference between manumission and abolition? Why did many of the Founding Fathers continue to own slaves as they established a nation where “all men are created equal?” We provide an immersive, hands-on experience that will help your students answer these and other probing questions. While they tour the historic house museum and study primary sources, including objects and documents, your students will come to understand John Jay’s conflicting attitudes as slave owner and manumission advocate and learn about his son William’s role in the abolition movement. They will also learn about the lives of some of the slaves who lived at the Homestead. An optional post-visit classroom activity using additional documents is also available.
Grade level: 6–12

Fees

All prices listed for on-site educational programs are a per student cost*. Materials fees may apply depending upon the activity you select.
Then and Now $3.00
–Optional candle making materials fee $1.00
–Optional game making materials fee $1.00

Life of a Child $3.00
–Optional game making materials fee $1.00

John Jay’s Farm $3.00

John Jay, Revolutionary Spymaster $3.00

John Jay and the Constitution $3.00

Slaves, Slavery and the Jay Family $3.00

Outreach program (per class) $50.00
*We offer a discount of $1/student for visits during the months November through March.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long is a typical visit?
All programs are designed to last approximately 2 ½ hours. This includes a tour of either the historic farm or historic house museum, and an educational activity.

How many students can you accommodate at one time?
We try to limit groups to 60 students per visit. Special accommodations can be made for larger groups.

How many chaperones do you require/allow?
Our required chaperone: student ratio is 9:1. Chaperones beyond that ratio are charged $5. This fee is not applicable for additional chaperones that meet required ratios for special education students, one-on-one aides, or the school nurse if medically required for a student.

Can my students eat lunch at the Homestead?
Picnic facilities are available. We also have indoor spaces that can be used in inclement weather.

Are outreach programs available?
Yes. Many of our programs can be done in the classroom. Please contact us to discuss your particular needs.

What if none of your programs fit my curriculum?
We are able to customize any of our programs to fit the educational needs of your students.

Do you accommodate students with special needs?
Yes. We can adapt all our programs for students with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Please make us aware of these special needs when you book your visit.