By Meghan E. Gattignolo
Homeschooled students and their families are taking over the Museum one day a month during the school year! On November 7, the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center hosted a Homeschool Field Trip Day, only the second in a new series of programming offered and hosted by the Museum’s Education Department. Many parents who homeschool their students are often juggling extra responsibilities in the course of daily life. Wouldn’t it be great to have one school day a month filled with art, culture and history in a new environment? The Museum is offering educational events to help fill in some instruction on the humanities.
Curator of Education Stephanie Stafford is an experienced teacher who wants to support homeschooling families with a field trip day of their own. With several planned activities over the course of three days per semester, Stephanie has homeschool parents covered by providing great educational experiences tailored to meet the needs of these students in a wide range of grade levels.
Learn with Museum Professionals
Homeschool families can enjoy the Museum for the reduced price of field trip admission and participate in educator-led tours and activities – just like if they were on a public school field trip. Tours of the permanent exhibits are repeated every month and offered at 10:30am and 11am. The exhibit all about Wilma Rudolph and the local history found in Heritage Hall are included during these tours. Also at 11am, middle and upper-grade students have the option of joining a book club meeting. During the last meeting, students discussed the first 70 pages of Blades of Freedom (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #10) by Nathan Hale. The book mentions Toussaint L’Ouverture, a historical figure who is a subject in a series of paintings by artist Jacob Lawrence, on exhibit in the Museum right now.
An art class is offered at 11:30 am in the Family Art Studio. Led by Education Associate Kathleen Silva, students learn about accomplished artists and art techniques with engaging projects. This semester, the art classes cover the work of Henri Matisse. Tours of current exhibits are staggered by grade level, with middle and upper-grade students at 12:30, while elementary students at 1pm. These tours change often and are tailored to grade level.
Get the Details
The cost of Homeschool Field Trip Day is only $3 for students and $5 for adults. The experience is free if you already are or choose to become a Museum Member. The art class offered in the Family Art Studio is optional and costs $15 per semester for all families. The other Museum-led activities are also optional with the field trip price, and families can participate in whichever activities they’d like – or none at all. Participants are able to enjoy all the exhibits at their own pace without joining any of the tours or activities if they wish. Homeschool Field Trip Day runs every first Tuesday of the month between 10am-4pm, resulting in three field trips per semester. The final scheduled day for the current semester is December 5, and the next semester runs February through April of 2024.
Since 2020, the desire to homeschool students has increased significantly in the United States. With more families seeking positive educational and social experiences for their students, the local homeschool culture is blossoming, but is also leading to demand for experiences catered to homeschooled students within the community. The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is stepping up to help meet some of those needs for homeschool families in Clarksville and Montgomery County. If you still have questions about the homeschool field trip programs, feel free to email Curator of Education Stephanie Stafford at email@example.com and don’t miss the next opportunity to take your homeschooled student on a Museum field trip!
Meghan E. Gattignolo is a freelance writer and longtime Clarksville, TN resident. She loves to obsess about historical subjects and annoy her family daily with unsolicited random facts. Meghan holds a History B.A. from Austin Peay State University and lives in town with her husband and two daughters.