Sully Historic Site

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Beginning August 20, 2020, Sully's main house will reopen for limited tours

TTY 711

3650 Historic Sully Way
Chantilly, Virginia

Carol McDonnell,

Sully Historic Site Field Trips/Outreach

Step by Step Instructions to Request a Field Trip Date: Read all instructions before beginning your booking process

  1. Go to: or click the “Request a Reservation”  link on any Field Trip page.
  2. Log in with a ParkTakes account, or create a new one.  You can create an account with a work or personal email.
  3. After logging in, choose your desired location. Enter the park name into the search box and select it from the drop-down menu or click the site’s icon on the interactive map. 
    • Hint: You may need to maximize your screen.
  4. Select the Green or Red “Reserve” button to see the site’s rentable options.
  5. Select the “Reserve” or “Check Availability” button associated with the School Field Trip option. A calendar with available dates will appear.
  6. Available days are represented with a green box.  Use the date selector or arrows to see future dates. When you have found your desired date, click on the green box.
    • Hint: Although there is a drop-down menu for the number of nights, the reservations are for day use. You can continue with your reservation.
    • Hint: Confused about which unit to reserve?  Visit the site’s webpage for definitions. 
  7. Click 'Reserve Unit' in the pop-up window.
  8. On the Booking Details screen, complete all applicable boxes in the “Extra Information” section.  All fields with an asterisk (*) are required.
    • Hint: If you receive an error before the Booking Details screen, you have likely chosen a reservation date that is within two weeks of the current date.  Please select a new date, or call the site directly to book a field trip that is within two weeks of the current date.
    • Hint: There is a 20-character limit in the email field. Your email address may not fit.  This information was captured when you logged in. 
    • Hint: When selecting the number of students, you will notice a drop-down menu.  Please enter the maximum number of students for your trip.  If you have more students than available in the drop-down, you may need to book an additional date. Sites limit the total number of students per day. Larger groups may be accommodated over multiple days.
  9. After completing all information, check the box indicating that you agree with the terms and conditions, then select “Book Site”.  You will then be taken to your shopping cart. 
    • Hint: To make another reservation, select “Reservations” at the top of the Shopping Cart page.
  10. When you have completed making your reservations, review your cart and select “Go to Checkout”.
  11. After you select “Go to Checkout”, a window will open verifying receipt of your request. You will also receive an email. There are no fees charged for a reservation request. Payment is due on the day of the program. Staff will be in touch to finalize your reservation.

If you are requesting a date less than two weeks in advance, please call the park for availability.

Please note that sites limit the total number of students per day. Larger groups may be accommodated over multiple days.

Download Detailed Instructions

See the OUTREACH section on this page to learn how Sully can bring museum education to your students. 


Learning Centers in an authentic, historic setting and designed for your students

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.
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 from 1794 to 1811. Tours and centers give students an experience that brings to life the textbook study of events and people of the past.

Learning centers and tours highlight 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 Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison
• Contributions of enslaved African Americans
• Cooking techniques in an original, open hearth kitchen
• Workings of a large gentry farm
• Education
• Textiles production
• Family life for the Lee family

The museum education programs are offered weekdays from 10 a.m.-noon between October and the winter break, and from March through the end of the school year. A docent leads students through learning center activities and a tour of the main house. Sully's indoor learning centers are available for winter school groups.


Sully offers four hands-on learning centers designed for second through fifth grades:

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.
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 and card wool. They 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.


• Admission is collected when you arrive at Sully's Visitor Center and Squirrel’s Nest Museum Gift Shop.
• Teachers are free.
• $8/Fairfax County school students
• $9/Out-of-county students
• Payment methods accepted: cash, check, MasterCard, Discover or Visa. Make checks payable to F.C.P.A - Sully.

We request one adult per 10 children or one to two adults per learning center. Sully can accommodate up to two chaperones per center.
• $8/Fairfax County school chaperones
• $9/Out-of-county chaperones


Learning Centers are offered based upon staffing availability.
Learning Center Schedule
  • Monday: One or two centers. Maximum 30 students. Please arrange classes into equal groups of no more than 15 students per center.
  • Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: One to four centers, depending upon the number of students. Maximum 60 students. Please arrange classes into four equal groups of no more than 15 students per center.
  • Small groups scheduled on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday may be combined with other groups. Schools will be notified if this occurs.
On the day of your visit, if the number of students falls below the minimum required 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

Download Sully Learning Packet

Examine and share the Learning Packet with your students and fellow teachers. The packet contains letters, an inventory, and worksheets designed to be used both before and after classroom activities. Touchable items representing each of the learning centers will be sent to you prior to your visit.
All materials may be reproduced.

Programs at Sully:

  • Meet many of the Virginia SOLs
  • Compare and contrast everyday life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries with everyday life today
  • Allow each student to participate in a hands-on activity that was part of everyday life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Hints for Chaperones

  • Help maintain order and behavior of students.
  • Assist docents in preventing students from handling collection items.
  • Help the docent upon request or when necessary during hands-on activities.
  • Stay with assigned group.
  • Refrain from excessive talking during the program.
  • Remember, the museum education program is designed for students.

"Don't Forget" Checklist

  • Check Tour Confirmation Sheet for accuracy
  • Call with any changes in group size 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 picnic area after use


Want to visit Sully but can't make the trip?

A historical interpreter can come to your school, group, or senior center. There are five great programs available, or a program can be designed just for you. Each program lasts approximately one hour and includes displays and presentations tailored to your group's participants and ages.
Call 703-437-1794 to schedule or for information.

Outreach Programs:

Virtually Sully:
Take a virtual tour of Richard Bland Lee's 1794 house and grounds. Learn about Northern Virginia's first congressman while glimpsing the everyday lives of early Americans. 

Slave Life at Sully
The Lees owned between 20 and 40 slaves who worked the Lees’ fields, cooked their food, and washed their laundry. Learn how the enslaved lived and how they worked on the Lees' plantation.

From the Past to the Present... And Back Again
After Richard Bland Lee sold Sully, several other families made Sully their home. Who were they, and how did they change the house to suit their needs and desires? In the 1970s, how did Fairfax County officials restore the house and grounds to the Lee residence? Finally, what are historians and archeologists still looking for on the property?

Sully's Stuff
It takes more than four walls and a roof to make a home. The items that fill the house are just as important as the house. So how did the Lees furnish their home? Learn about the furniture, the dishes, and even Richard's eyeglasses.
Fairfax Virtual Assistant