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Living History Package

an immersive experience into America’s past (Grades 4-6)

An active experiential learning opportunity which includes an 1817 one-room schoolhouse role-play, hands-on colonial-era crafts, a journey to the Ashokan homestead where students help bake and chop wood while learning about sustainable living, and introduction to the history of Indigenous people in the region at our Native American wigwam replica. Maple sugaring and apple cidering also offered seasonally.

Classes & Activities:

– 19th Century Homestead Journey
– Blacksmithing or Tin & Broom Craft Choice
– 1817 Schoolhouse Roleplay
– Cathedral Gorge Hike
– You Pick! (Recommendations: Cidering, Maple Sugaring, Archery)

Evening Program choices: Revolutionary War Hero, Campfire with S’Mores, The War of 1812, Square and Contra Dance and Music with Peter, Paul and George

What you get:

19th Century Homestead Journey

Travel back to a simpler time on the Ashokan Homestead, where students are embraced as members of our homestead family. We expect everyone to earn their keep! Contribute to daily life at our beautiful hand-built cabin by learning to cut roof shingles, firewood, and wall beams with tools of the era, or huddle around the fireplace and bake gingerbread in the Dutch oven.


Not far from the foundation of Ashokan’s  original blacksmith forge are two fully functioning blacksmith shops. Sparks will fly as students use ancient tools to hammer iron into a fire poker, trivet, or plant hanger under the guidance of our master craftspeople (and help their classmates by pumping the bellows or hauling coal). Students will discuss concepts such as industrialization, renewable vs. nonrenewable resources, and the role of blacksmithing in colonial life.

Hike to Cathedral Gorge

Hike through an old Eastern Hemlock forest along the Esopus Creek and explore the natural and social history of the region! The trail passes relics of the recent and prehistoric past, including a 19th-century water mill, a 130-year-old covered bridge, and a glacial gorge, before it ends at a 80-foot waterfall—the walls of which reveal rock layers that are millions of years old.

Choose one more:


In this classic archery class, students learn the history of archery along with the necessary rules, safety procedures, and archery techniques before hitting the range and letting the arrows fly. With a variety of fun targets, kids and adults alike are certain to have a blast at the Ashokan archery range, challenging themselves to improve their power, precision, and accuracy with a bow and arrow while cheering on others to do the same!

Apple Cidering (Sept-Nov)

Press locally grown apples into delicious cider using our antique cider press and learn all about its amazing history in our country. Each student will have a chance to participate and work the press and taste the results.  Students will  learn about the history of apples in NYS and the importance of cider as a daily beverage in the 17th and 18th centuries in early America.

Maple Sugaring (Feb-April)

After a scenic hike out to our sugar shack, students will learn about the history of maple sugaring and its roots in Indigenous and colonial cultures. Our staff will demonstrate how to tap a sugar maple tree in order to sustainably harvest sap from our sugarbush. Inside the shack, students will learn all the steps involved in turning that sap into a sweet maple syrup. Finally, they’ll enjoy the fruits of their labor with a maple syrup taste test and enjoy jackwax candy!

Tinsmithing and Broom Making

Students work together to make beautiful, functional crafts using colonial methods and tools. They will learn about the raw materials they’re using and question how the industrial revolution has changed the way we acquire and repair tools today (including the environmental implications). Each student will go home with a deeper appreciation for handmade crafts!

Evening Options:

Revolutionary War Soldier Comes Alive

Neil Murray arrives in costume and engages students with a historic perspective on the Revolutionary War.

Civil War Soldier Comes Alive

Neil Murray arrives in costume and engages students with a historic perspective on the Civil War.

Peter, Paul & George

Peter, Paul, and George build community through traditional American dance & music. They joyfully engage the group with called dances that strengthen connection.

Campfire (Outdoor or Indoor) with S’mores!

Enjoy an hour-long full-group campfire experience with warm s’mores, jokes, songs, and stories from the Ashokan staff. In the event of inclement weather we will create a similar experience indoors!

NYS Social Studies Practices:
● Gathering, Using, and Interpreting Evidence 
● Chronological Reasoning and Causation
● Comparison and Contextualization
● Geographic Reasoning
● Economics and Economic Systems
● Civic Participation