We recognize educators’ critical role in helping students connect with the past. Our resources give teachers the opportunity to supplement the classroom experience with visits to our house museums. By exploring the house museums, students are engaged and immersed in the "Power of Place."
We offer a variety of standards-based educational programs to suit different grade levels. Each program features a focused tour and hands-on activity.
Nathaniel Russell was a successful merchant, who transplanted his life to Charleston from Rhode Island in the late 18th century. After the American Revolution, Russell’s lucrative trade business made him a very wealthy citizen of the new American republic. In 1808 he had a mansion built on Meeting Street, and he remained there until the end of his life. A visitor once described Mr. Russell as, “…living in a nest of roses…” – commenting at once on both the Russell family’s vast wealth, as well as their elegantly appointed garden on their large urban lot. This program examines Nathaniel Russell’s ability to accumulate wealth and influence in his adopted city through trade and civil service. Students will learn how the institution of slavery made that wealth possible through the cargo of goods and humans that Russell imported and exported, and they will explore the daily bustle of life for both the Russell family and the enslaved on the property. Students will understand how this location is both a symbol of prosperity and distinction, as well as one of oppression. Students will examine how a house like the Nathaniel Russell House was built, furnished, maintained, and inhabited by both the Russell family and 13-18 enslaved people through multiple generations, and how the life experiences of all who lived there shaped early American “identity”.Contact for more information
The Aiken-Rhett House represents a time of prosperity in the city of Charleston. It also recalls increasing tension during the mid-19th century. As the country struggled to come to grips with its past and current dependence on enslaved workers, different attitudes manifested in the northern and southern states. This program explores not only the continued dependence of planter and industrialist families like the Aikens and the Rhetts on unpaid labor, but also the range of possible solutions being considered across the nation – from compromise and anti-secession movements to the conflict of war. Students will understand how the wealth and influence of upper-class families, as well as their changing tastes, had a part in shaping the trajectory of American history through a turbulent period. The experiences of different social classes and different genders will be considered and discussed. Students will gain insights about the significance of both the southern agrarian economy and the newly emerging industrial pursuits, as well as how African and African American traditions became entwined with uniquely southern and uniquely American identities that continue to persist today.Contact for more information
Ask about customizing the experience for your students.
Bring history alive in your classroom by checking out a Traveling Trunk or having a member of our education staff teach a lesson with your class! Based on the SC State Social Studies Standards, students will learn the curriculum while engaged in a fun experience such as telling Gullah stories, examining artifacts and analyzing documents. Trunks and in-class activities are designed for grades K-8.
Classes and trunk themes are:
Immerse your students in 300 years of South Carolina's story with a engaging standards-based field trip! The Nathaniel Russell House has teamed up with The Powder Magazine and Old Slave Mart Museum on an educational adventure that spans the state's history from 1670 when Charles Town was settled to 1860 when cotton was the king of cash crops. This field trip is designed for South Carolina Public Schools, curriculum-based and includes hands-on activities and a scavenger hunt that connects the three sites.Download the Teacher Guide
We're delighted you are interested in visiting us. Please do let us know if you have questions.
Historic Charleston Foundation’s Teacher Resources support educators in making social studies fun and engaging for their students. We've developed several classroom activities that may to be used as pre/post visit Lessons. These activities complement field trips to our historic house museums or may be used as standalone curriculum support.
Before or after visiting the Aiken-Rhett House and/or Nathaniel Russell House, students may enjoy writing in a journal page or using the venn diagram. These activities will help them make comparisons and develop empathy for historic figures of the past while allowing them to make connections to their textbooks. They are designed for various grade levels based on the South Carolina Social Studies Standards. These and other activities are found below.
If you have not scheduled a field trip with us, be sure to do that using our online reservation form found here, or rent out a traveling trunk with artifacts and lesson plans to bring into your classroom!
Our adult programs range from engaging talks on preservation, history and craftsmanship to forums on current issues like transportation, mobility and rising sea levels. The Festival of Houses and Gardens is the Foundation’s largest educational program, designed to celebrate Charleston’s distinctive architecture and the Lowcountry culture. To reach an audience near and far, the Foundation has developed a variety of virtual programming available on our Blog. Visit our Events page for a more detailed list of programs and events.
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