At The Museum

Here at the Institute for American Indian Studies, we are thrilled to be exhibiting, engaging, and eliciting thought provoking dialogue with our guests about the 12,000 plus history of Indigenous peoples here in Connecticut – In person! To view the most up to date information about the museum’s COVID-19 policies and accomodations, please visit our COVID-19 Saftey Policy Page

School & Homeschool Groups

Our interdisciplinary school programs are designed with the CT State Standards in mind to encourage discussions and provide interactive learning through hands-on activities either at our facility or yours. With a variety of age appropriate exploration exercises, your students will learn while having fun! A number of additions can be made to the core program, including Native American games, stories and crafts.

See individual program offerings for more curriculum details.

Programs

Little Lessons in Indian Lifeways (Pre-K – 2nd Grade)

Three photos depicting parts of education programs including activities indoors and outdoors.

Allow artifacts and Native American storytelling to transport your students back 1,000 years to the Eastern Woodlands, learning how found objects and oral traditions bring the past to life. During this program, students will explore Native American homes, play musical instruments, and examine leather clothing and animal furs. Through sight and touch, children will learn and experience Native American lifeways

Standard Program Length: 1½ hours

$12 per student with $180 minimum (15 students)

 

Common Core Standards

Reading Writing Speaking & Listening Language
1, 2, 5, 7 1, 2, 3, 4 1, 4


Connecticut
 State Standards

History Civics Ecology Geology
k.1, k.2, k.3, k.4; 1.1, 1.4; 2.2 k.3 k.1; 1.3 K.4; 1.4; 2.4, 2.5

 

Indians of the Woodlands (3rd – 5th Grade)

Photographs of education programs taking place both indoors and outdoors.

Compare the lives of Native Americans years ago to life in the Northeast today. In this program students will learn how Native Americans interacted with their environment. Students will understand tool innovations, why specific homes were created, and how available materials were used. These adaptations were crucial to survival and are still in use today. Participants will learn about Northeastern Indian family life, as well as indigenous peoples’ interaction with the woodland environment and their progression through time.

Standard Program Length: 2 to 2½ hours

$12 per student with $180 minimum (15 Students)

Common Core Standards

Reading Writing Speaking & Listening Language
1, 3, 4, 7 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 1, 4


Connecticut
 State Standards

History Civics Ecology Geology
3.1, 3.2; 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5 3.1; 4.1, 4.2 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9; 4.3, 4.4, 4;5, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3

 

Westward Expansion (6th – 8th Grade)

Learn about the fight for resources through activities and guided discussions from the perspectives of both Native Americans and Colonists. Explore how tribal economy and identity was impacted by westward expansion. Discover how the lives of Connecticut Natives changed with the environment, and how climate shaped many Native cultures across the United States.

Standard Program Length: 2 to 2½ hours

$12 per student with $180 minimum (15 Students)

Common Core Standards

Reading Writing Speaking & Listening Language
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 1, 2, 6, 7, 10 1, 2, 4 1, 4, 5, 6


Connecticut
 State Standards

History Civics Ecology Geology
6.3, 7.3, 6.5, 7.5, 6.6, 7.6, 6.9, 7.9, 8.3
9.5, 10.5, 11.5, 12.5, 9.10, 10.10, 11,10, 12.10, 9.14, 10.14, 11.14, 12.14
8.4, 9.4, 10.4, 11.4, 12.4 3.1; 4.1, 4.2 6.1, 7.1, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.9
9.1, 10.1, 11.1, 12.1, 9.4, 10.4, 11.4, 12.4, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5, 12.5, 9.7, 10.7, 11.7, 12.7

 

Power of the Eighth Generation (9th – 12th Grade)

Initiate meaningful discussion of European-Native American interactions. Students will explore post-contact history and its impact on public knowledge and Native identity. These young adults will identify with both points of view when two cultures clash.

Standard Program Length: 2 to 2½ hours

$12 per student with $180 minimum (15 Students)

Common Core Standards

Reading Writing Speaking & Listening Language
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 1, 2, 6, 7, 10 1, 2, 4 1, 4, 5, 6


Connecticut State Standards

History Civics Ecology Geology
6.3, 7.3, 6.5, 7.5, 6.6, 7.6, 6.9, 7.9, 8.3
9.5, 10.5, 11.5, 12.5, 9.10, 10.10, 11,10, 12.10, 9.14, 10.14, 11.14, 12.14
8.4, 9.4, 10.4, 11.4, 12.4 3.1; 4.1, 4.2 6.1, 7.1, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.9
9.1, 10.1, 11.1, 12.1, 9.4, 10.4, 11.4, 12.4, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5, 12.5, 9.7, 10.7, 11.7, 12.7

 

Please Note The Following

  • Program dates are assigned on a first come, first served basis with many peak-season programs scheduled months in advance.
  • All accompanying teachers, aides, paraprofessionals and nurses are admitted free of charge.*
  • One (1) chaperone for every ten (10) children is allowed free of charge.
  • Our programs include outdoor adventures, even on rainy days!
  • Students should be encouraged to wear weather-appropriate clothing.
  • In the event of a cancellation, a full two weeks’ notice is required or a $100 cancellation fee will be charged.
  • Cancellations due to school closings, delayed openings or early dismissals will not be charged and we will do everything possible to reschedule the trip for a convenient date.
  • A deposit for large groups may be required.

Educational Explorations

Educational Explorations, two children are working on a project
Two children are building an outdoor shelter

Are you homeschooling your children this school year? Maybe you want them to get some supplemental educational experiences in order to catch up after a long summer. If so, the Institute for American Indian Studies has just the program you need. “Educational Explorations” is our new hands-on, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based private lesson program. Each program is led by experienced museum educators and focuses on a topic related to our mission. Programs have connections to core social studies, science, reading and writing curricula and teach important life skills. Programs can be tailored for students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

We welcome siblings, cousins, friends or neighbors to sign up for one of these educational adventures. Students will dig deeper into history with our archaeology programs, study scientific concepts through hands-on ecology programs, cultivate community and critical thinking skills, and connect with a culture that has more than 10,000 years of history.

Programs can be customized based on age, number, and interests of the participants. Special topic/skill requests may be honored, for an additional fee.

  • Pricing: $85 Minimum for IAIS Members for 1-3 children; $105 minimum for Non-Members for 1-3 children. Additional $20/child for more than 3 children.
  • Standard programs are 2 hours long. Morning or afternoon programs can be scheduled, based on staffing availability. To ensure staff availability, please contact us at least one week prior to when you would like to schedule a program.
  • Programs can be modified for students from Kindergarten/age 5 to Grade 12. For students ages 8 and up, Wigwam Escape, our award-winning Escape Room, can be included for an additional fee and program length.
  • Students and staff are required to wear masks inside the museum. A First Aid and CPR certified staff member will be present at all times that students are participating in these programs.
  • Click here for more information on our COVID-19 policies.
  • Please note: If your scheduled program is during museum hours, there may be other visitors on site. Our staff will still keep groups separate and socially distanced as much as possible.  

      Educational Exploration Themes

      Social Sciences

      Digging Detectives: Archaeology, Anthropology: The Study of Cultures, Putting it All Together: Materials and Resource Use, Culture Keepers: The Stories Artifacts Tell, Bodies of Knowledge: Human Anatomy and Physiology.

      Earth Sciences

      Ecology: The Natural World, Etuaptmumk: Two-Eyed Seeing (combining traditional Native knowledge and Western science), Our Feathered and Furry Friends: Birds and Mammals, All Our Relations: Woodland Plants and Animals, Learning From Plants: Botany, Waterworks: River Ecology, A Bug’s Life: Entomology, The Dirty Details: Soil and Erosion, A Place to Call Home: Habitats, Putting Down Roots: Trees and Plants, Life Skills: Animal Adaptations, Reading the Clouds: Seasons, Weather and Climate, The Web of Life: Food Webs,  Carbon Footprint: Human Impacts on the Environment; Rocking Your World: Geology, Testing a Theory: The Scientific Method.

      Survival & Traditional Skills

      Staying Alive: Our Five Basic Needs, Warps and Wefts: Weaving, Arrow-Dynamics: Archery and Atlatls, Finding Your Way: Orienteering, Directions and Map Reading, Outdoor Survival 101: Knot Tying, Fire Starting, and Shelter Building.

      Social Studies

      Culture and Community in Native Societies; The View from The Shore or The View From the Boat? Understanding Different Perspectives; Quinnetukut: Local Native History; Working Together: Group Dynamics; We Are Still Here: Community, Social Change and Cultural Endurance, The Four Directions: Regional Differences in Native Cultures; Map Masters: Geography, Manifest Destiny? Westward Expansion, Art History and Art Appreciation, Appropriation vs Appreciation: Native Arts, Crafts, and Music; What Does a Native Look Like? Confronting Stereotypes, A Storied Tradition: Oral Histories and Cultural Knowledge.

      Scouts

      The Institute for American Indian Studies offers a variety of interactive programs for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts of all ages. Whether working towards a Merit Badge, Adventure or Journey, desiring to practice useful Scouting skills, or just looking to have an engaging learning experience, IAIS has a program for your Scouts. Sign up your patrol or den, or bring the entire Troop or Pack. An IAIS Scouting program will be an experience to remember!

           Scout Programs

          Cub Scouts

          Cub Scouts will explore the lives of Native Americans living in the Eastern Woodlands 1,000 years ago. Our replicated 16th Century Algonkian village and indoor Sachem’s house allow the Scouts to learn what life was like in a village 500 years ago while imagining they are actually there. Also included in this hands-on, two-hour program is the opportunity to learn about survival skills practiced for thousands of years and why they are so effective. Check out our craft add on activities and give your scouts a chance to bring home a memory made with their own hands.

          Cub Scout Archaeology Program

          Cub Scouts will piece together the puzzles of the past with this interactive, three-hour archaeology program. By exploring stratigraphy and through careful consideration of clues and attention to detail, Scouts will practice skills archaeologists use to understand the diverse ways people survived and thrived in the past. Get your hands dirty and participate in a mock excavation! Due to weather restrictions for this activity, excavations will only occur between the months of March and November. (Appropriate for Scouts age 8 and up).

          Brownie Senses Badge Program

          Brownies can engage their sense of sight, sound, touch, and smell during this sensational, one-and-a-half-hour program. See what you can spot in our indoor Sachem’s longhouse furnished with replicated Eastern Woodlands artifacts and a mural depicting life thousands of years ago. Listen to the world around you in our outdoor replicated Algonkian village. Explore textures and scents with an interactive guessing game. For an added experience, and to complete more portions of the journey, leaders can bring along a treat for a tasty snack activity. If choosing this option, please let us know in advance of any allergies and what you plan to bring.

          Girl Scout Program

          Girl Scouts will explore the lives of Native Americans, past and present in this engaging, hands-on, two-hour program. Get a glimpse into the world of pre-contact Native Americans in our replicated 16th century Algonkian village and indoor sachem’s house, which is furnished with replicated garden tools, a canoe, cradleboard and other everyday tools. Scouts will have the opportunity to learn survival skills vital to life in the Eastern Woodlands. Learn about the diverse cultures that still thrive today. Add a craft and give your scouts a chance to bring home a memory made with their own hands.

          Girl Scout Archaeology Program

          Girl Scouts will dig into the past with this interactive, hands-on archaeology program. Throughout this four-hour program, Scouts will learn about the techniques archaeologists use, such as point typology, experimental archaeology and careful consideration of clues, in order to unravel the mysteries of the past and interpret the diverse ways people survived and thrived thousands of years ago. Get your hands dirty and participate in a mock excavation! Due to weather restrictions for this activity, excavations will only occur between the months of March and November. (Appropriate for Scouts age 8 and up).

          Boy Scout Indian Lore Merit Badge Program

          Boy Scouts will engage with diverse Native American ways of life past and present, while earning requirements toward the Indian Lore Merit Badge in this two-and-a-half-hour program. Get a glimpse into the world of pre-contact Native Americans in our replicated 16th century Algonkian Village and indoor Sachem’s house, furnished and containing replicated garden tools, artifacts, everyday tools and technology, everything you would need to survive in the woodlands. Practice survival skills vital for daily life in the Eastern Woodlands and try your hand at shelter building. Add a craft to bring home a memory made with your own hands!

          Boy Scout Archaeology

          Boy Scouts will dig into the past as they earn requirements toward the archaeology merit badge in this hands-on, four-hour archaeology program. From point typology to experimental archaeology, as well as through careful consideration of evidence and attention to detail, Scouts will practice the skills and tools that archaeologists use to unravel the mysteries of the past, in order to interpret the diverse ways people survived and thrived. Get your hands dirty and participate in a mock excavation! Due to weather restrictions for this activity, excavations will only occur between the months of March and November.

          Add on Craft Activities

          Looking to add a hands-on activity to any of the above programs? The below activities can be added on as a 30 minute segment to enhance your core program!

              Games

              Learn practical survival skills through play with traditional Native games such as Hoop and Pole, Sneak Up, The Moccasin Game, and more! Games will be selected based on age.

              Cost (in addition to core program): $3 per student

              Traditional Stories

              In Native cultures, oral storytelling teaches, guides and entertains. Enjoy the lessons and magic of these traditional stories as told by an experienced Native American storyteller.

              Cost (in addition to core program): $3 per student

              Crafts

              Make and take home a Native American-inspired craft under the guidance of IAIS educators. To ensure availability of materials, crafts must be booked at least 3 weeks in advance.

              Talking Sticks: $7.00 per student (2nd grade and up)

              Beading: $5.00 per student (All Ages)

              Clay Pottery: $5.00 per student (All Ages)

              Corn Husk Dolls: $5.00 per student (2nd grade and up)

              Contact Us About Our Programs