Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is a fascinating destination with unique learning opportunities for students. The best-known attraction is Gettysburg National Military Park, and school groups of varying sizes can explore it via walking tours or aboard a bus, a bicycle, a Segway, or a horse. All of these journeys are led by a knowledgeable, licensed battlefield guide.
Beyond the battlefield, though, Gettysburg and Adams County offer many other educational opportunities that revolve around history and also bring in STEM elements, agriculture, environmental studies, and the arts. The Eisenhower National Historic Site gives student groups the chance to not only experience history but also to get their hands dirty with a multi-part agricultural program. Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, was an avid farmer and a supporter of sustainability.
When he purchased his Gettysburg farmhouse, Eisenhower wanted to leave the land better than he found it. Students who visit the site can learn about soil composition, aquatic ecosystems, native wildlife, and forestry. These programs are available at no charge to educators of students in grades 5 through 12. Visitors can also learn about the Eisenhowers’ life by touring the farmhouse.
The Gettysburg Heritage Center offers hands-on, immersive museum exhibits as well as special programs for student groups, such as “Learning to be a Civil War Soldier” and “A Day in the Life of an 1860s Child.” A new program, typically offered after-hours, is “Night at the Museum, 1863,” which brings exhibits to life as historians interact with students while they make their
way through the museum.
The Seminary Ridge Museum focuses on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, along with medical conditions during the Civil War and the issues that led to the war itself. This museum offers many interactive student options, such as scavenger hunts and programs that include “Civil War Emergency Care” and “Mending the Wounded.” New this year is “Run the Museum,” a simulation activity for student groups that puts them in charge of a field hospital, where they perform triage and solve various scenarios.
Students can learn about local farming and agriculture at markets throughout the countryside, such as Hollabaugh Bros. Fruit and Farm Market. There, groups can take a tractor ride through the orchard and discover the importance of sustainability in agriculture. More lessons await at Land of Little Horses, which offers programs related to animal care while incorporating STEM concepts.
Top photo: Student group at Devil’s Den in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Photo by Destination Gettysburg
Support for Courier articles provided by:
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
U.S. Space & Rocket Center