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Museum Education at Sully Historic Site

Sully Historic Site
3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly, VA 20151  •  703-437-1794

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Discover unique learning centers designed for your students in an authentic, historic setting

Sully's buildings and collections provide vivid contrasts between today's life in northern Virginia and the everyday realities of life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Tours and learning center activities focus on the food, clothing, slave life, and schooling of Sully's residents.

Sully Museum Education Program and Virginia SOLs

For those studying the colonial and federal periods in history, Sully's Museum Education Program brings a hands-on, personalized look at life during the Richard Bland Lee family's residency at Sully (1794-1811) in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Tours and centers are designed to give students an experience that brings to life the textbook study of events and people of the past.

Learning centers and tours highlight various aspects of the federal period: the beginning of the Federal Government and establishment of Washington D.C. as the nation's capital; life during the time of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as presidents; contributions of the enslaved African Americans; cooking techniques in an original open hearth kitchen; workings of a large gentry farm; education; textiles production; and family life for the Lee family.

Participating in a guided tour and one to four of Sully's hands-on learning centers meets many Virginia Standards of Learning. (See List*)

Before your field trip to Sully, an email confirmation will be sent, including a link to the learning packet.

School Program Reservations begin August 1st for the entire school year.

Cost - $7/student, $1/student discount for Fairfax County schools ($6/student).
Teachers and Chaperones - Teachers are free. We can accommodate up to two chaperones per center- cost $7/adult, $1/adult discount for Fairfax County school chaperones ($6/adult).


Our museum education program is offered weekdays from 10am-12pm between October and the winter break, and from March through the end of the school year. Please make sure students are dressed appropriately for the weather. Phone-in reservations begin August 1. An information packet will be sent prior to your visit.

After receiving your Teacher Information Packet, check the confirmation sheet to verify that all the information is correct. Notify Sully at 703-437-1794 if there are any changes in group sizes or cancellations.

Admission is collected when you arrive at Sully's Log Schoolhouse Gift Shop. Teachers are free. $7/student, $1/student discount for Fairfax County Schools ($6/student). Payment methods accepted: cash, check, MasterCard or Visa. Checks should be made payable to F.C.P.A - Sully.

We request 1 adult per 10 children or 1-2 adults per center. We can accommodate up to two chaperones per center - cost $7/adult, $1/adult discount for Fairfax County school chaperones ($6/adult). Adults assist with maintaining order within the group and help with activities in the center. Please make sure that you have emergency info on the adults as well as the children. More adults may be needed for students with special needs. Please notify Sully if any students or groups have special needs so we can better prepare our teaching staff.

Divide the students evenly into the number of centers offered to your group. Make a nametag for each student. Review the learning packet with your students.

Picnic tables and grounds are available if you wish to bring lunch. However, Sully does not have a sheltered space for eating. A drinking fountain and soda machine are located next to the public restrooms. The drinking fountain is not available November- March.

Public restrooms are located under the Log Schoolhouse Gift Shop.

Sully's Visitor center will be open for shopping after your program. Educational souvenirs, books and craft items are available for purchase at a variety of prices. Merchandise often includes items such as quill pens, candles, slate boards and pencils, period toys and candy.


Sully offers four hands-on learning centers that are primarily designed for second through fifth grades- Open Hearth Cooking, 19th Century Schoolroom, Slave Life and Textiles. A docent will lead students through learning center activities and a tour of the main house.

Students discover the sights and smells of our original 18th century kitchen as they assist with making beaten biscuits. Compare and contrast life at Sully with today through discussion of the enslaved cook Thornton's role, utensils, methods and available food sources. Make an herb garni to take home and use in the kitchen.

Slave Life at Sully: Click to Enlarge SLAVE LIFE
Students do tasks that some of the enslaved community performed at Sully 200 years ago. Activities in the outbuildings, main house and representative slave quarter help students discover the interdependence between the Lees and the valuable contributions of the enslaved African-Americans who lived and worked on this farm. At the quarter, students develop their knowledge of African-American culture during the years of slavery. Students make a seed packet to take home for planting, in addition to doing chores such as hoeing the garden and sweeping the cabin.

Students go back in time and take part in school activities of the mid 19th century. Reading from McGuffey Readers, signing names with quill pens, sealing letters and ciphering on slates bring to life the schoolroom of yesteryear. Students take home a sealed letter and humdinger toy to remember the work and recess of the typical 19th century student.

Students compare homespun to factory made cloth, card wool, weave on a loom and discover the intricacies of textile processes during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Students make a potpourri sachet for home to encourage the care of textiles and emphasize their importance.

New! Indoor Learning Centers for Winter School Groups
Sully’s indoor learning centers are available for winter school groups and include fun, hands-on learning in the 19th century school room and the textiles & fabrics center. Dates available Wednesday – Fridays on a limited basis January – February. Call 703-437-1794 for reservations. $7 per child, $6 per child for Fairfax County Schools. Adult chaperones $7, $6 for Fairfax County. Teachers are free. FCPA follows Fairfax County school closing schedules for inclement weather.


Sully staff assign the learning centers offered to your group based upon staffing availability.

Monday- up to 2 centers, with a maximum of 30 students. Please divide your classes into equivalent groups with no more than 15 students per center.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - up to 4 centers, depending upon the number of students- Maximum of 60. Please divide your classes into four equivalent groups with no more than 15 students per center.

NOTE: Small groups scheduled on Wed., Thur., or Fri. may be combined with another small group to bring the total number of children up to 60. Schools will be notified if this occurs.

On the day of your visit, if the number of students falls below the minimum amount needed for an additional center, Sully may reduce the number of centers offered.

Inclement Weather- when Fairfax County Public Schools delay openings or close schools, all field trips are canceled. Rescheduling is dependent upon available dates.

Classroom Materials

Sully Learning Packet
Our program at Sully meets many of the Virginia SOLs and is designed to:

  1. Compare and contrast everyday life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries with everyday life today; and
  2. Allow each student to participate in a hands-on activity that was part of everyday life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Pre/Post Trip Activities to Share with your Students

Please examine and share the Learning Packet* (pdf) with your students and fellow teachers. The packet contains letters, an inventory and worksheets designed to be used as both pre and post classroom activities. Touchable items representing each of the learning centers will be sent to you prior to your visit.

All materials may be reproduced.

Hints for Chaperones

Please feel free to copy these hints for your chaperones:

Field Trip Chaperones...

  1. Help maintain order and behavior of students.
  2. Assist docents in preventing students from handling collection items.
  3. Help the docent upon request, or when necessary during hands-on activities.
  4. Stay with your assigned group at all times.
  5. Refrain from excessive talking during the program. Remember, our museum education program is designed for students.

"Don't Forget" Checklist

  1. Check Tour Confirmation Sheet for accuracy
  2. Call with any changes in group sizes or cancellations
  3. Provide name tags for students
  4. Divide groups into equal sizes according to centers offered
  5. Arrange and instruct chaperones
  6. Provide directions for the bus driver
  7. Clean-up picnic area after use

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