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 Museum Education Learning Centers
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
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
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.
Admission is collected when you arrive at Sully's Visitor Center and
Squirrel’s Nest Museum Gift Shop. Teachers are free. $8/student,
$1/student discount for Fairfax County Schools ($7/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 $8/adult, $1/adult
discount for Fairfax County school chaperones ($7/adult).
CLICK FOR AVAILABILITY
Please be aware that you are not guaranteed to receive the specific
dates requested. All requests will be reviewed in the order that they
are received and you will be contacted to confirm your field trip
OPEN HEARTH COOKING
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.
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.
NINETEENTH CENTURY SCHOOL DAYS
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
TEXTILES: HOMESPUN TO FACTORY DONE
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
Sully staff assign the learning centers offered to your group based
upon staffing availability.
Learning Center Schedule
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
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.
Our program at Sully meets many of the Virginia SOLs and is
Compare and contrast everyday life in the late 18th and early
19th centuries with everyday life today; and
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
All materials may be reproduced.
Hints for Chaperones
Please feel free to copy these hints for your chaperones:
Field Trip Chaperones...
Help maintain order and behavior of students.
Assist docents in preventing students from handling collection
Help the docent upon request, or when necessary during hands-on
Stay with your assigned group at all times.
Refrain from excessive talking during the program. Remember, our
museum education program is designed for students.
"Don't Forget" Checklist
Check Tour Confirmation Sheet for accuracy
Call with any changes in group sizes or cancellations
Provide name tags for students
Divide groups into equal sizes according to centers offered
Arrange and instruct chaperones
Provide directions for the bus driver
Clean-up picnic area after use
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. $8 per child, $7 per child for Fairfax County Schools.
Adult chaperones $8, $7 for Fairfax County. Teachers are free. FCPA
follows Fairfax County school closing schedules for inclement weather.