The Hermitage is currently expanding the number of experiential classes we offer students of all ages. Check below for descriptions (links in the descriptions take you to our downloadable thematic unit) and the Resources page for grade-specific education standards. All classes - with the exception of Junior Docents - are available year-round.
Archaeology at The Hermitage
-Half the fun of archaeology is to uncover items from the past - but there's more to archaeology than just digging! In this deductive reasoning-based program, students will uncover objects in a simulated excavation based on actual archaeological digs at The Hermitage and create a narrative of the lives of those who lived at The Hermitage based on the objects they find. Grades 3-6
"The Archaeology field trip at The Hermitage was a wonderful culminating experience for our students’ study of archaeology. They were able to put into practice what they had learned in the classroom in a hands-on way with artifacts at The Hermitage. They loved digging into the sand to discover artifacts from the days of Jackson and his family and learning from those discoveries. They especially loved learning about the Jackson children from the artifacts they discovered and realized they identified with those children from long ago. I would definitely recommend the Archaeology field trip to other teachers teaching about archaeology and artifacts. It was educational and fun!" - Mrs. Hale, K-4th grade teacher
The Architecture of The Hermitage
-The Hermitage, as it stands today, is a beautiful example of Greek Revival architecture...but it wasn't always so. Join us as we take you on a tour of The Hermitage grounds to see what the architecture of the Mansion, the Tomb, and the enslaved cabins tell us about Andrew Jackson and the evolution of American architecture in the 19th century. (New!) Grades 8-12
The Bank War
-The question over the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States had loomed over the country for almost 40 years. When Andrew Jackson was elected in 1828, he brought the promise to reform government with him, and the Bank of the United States was on his list. In a protracted battle over a national banking system, Jackson reshaped not only the nation's economy, but also the role of the Office of the President. Grades 8-12
"When we took our (standardized tests) we had 98 out of 100 students pass. (The Hermitage) played a part in that as Jackson has always been one of our students' historical weaknesses. Thank you for the work that you do." - Mr. Pulskamp, 11th grade teacher.
Christmas at The Hermitage
-Explore how a 19th century Christmas was similar to - and different from - Christmas today with "Christmas at The Hermitage." Christmas hasn't always been about presents, after all. Students will make an ornament to take home with them. Grades K-8
"This is a wonderful experience for our students. We have been bringing our 2nd graders there for many years, and it is always a positive, educational field trip. The children love to learn about how things were 'a long time ago.' They really enjoy the hands-on activities and dressing up. Every year my students ask wonderful questions generated by the classroom part AND the tour portion. We are very lucky to be able to share this important piece of history with our students." - Mrs. Humes, 2nd grade teacher
Clover Bottom General Store
-Before Jackson ran for president, did you know he also ran one of the first general stores in middle Tennessee? This program for 3rd-6th grade uses primary sources such as account records and order slips to create word problems based on each grade's math standards. With each correct answer, students take Jackson closer to New Orleans for supplies! (Note: this program is grade-specific. The 3rd Grade program uses math standards for 3rd graders, etc.) Grades 3-6
The Corrupt Bargain
-Drama! Intrigue! Scandal! The Presidential Election of 1824 was the most hotly-contested presidential election in American history to that time. The Corrupt Bargain takes an interactive look at the election that questioned whether our country is a democracy or a republic. Students will be able to see a revolutionary nation come into its own. Grades 4-12
The Faces of Andrew Jackson
-Andrew Jackson lived (for the most part) in an era without photography. What do the depictions of Andrew Jackson tell us about him, or how he was perceived? Find out in this primary source-based program, which includes time for the students to draw their own depiction of Andrew Jackson. (New!) Grades 4-12
-No XBox. No PS3. No Nintendo DS. No email. No cell phones. What in the world did kids do to stay busy in the 19th century? This program shows the life of a child growing up at The Hermitage. Grades K-6
"The program was very child friendly. The adults enjoyed it as well. The students loved playing with the toys of that time period." -Mrs. Kirby, 4th grade teacher
The Importance of Andrew Jackson
-There is plenty of debate about where Andrew Jackson ranks among the best presidents in our country's history, but it cannot be understated that he was one of our most important presidents. This program examines the life and legacy of Andrew Jackson, and why he still matters today. Grades 4-12
Irish In America
-Andrew Jackson's parents - Betty and Andrew - came to America from Ireland in search of new opportunities and a new life, leaving everything that was familiar to them, behind in the 1760s. Why would they do such a thing? The answer is not so different from why we relocate today. This program examines immigration to the United States in the middle of the 18th Century, and the reasoning behind it - from both sides of the Atlantic. Grades 4-8
I Spy the Past
-Students must use all their senses in order to discover the purpose of 19th century objects in this truly hands-on program. Utilizing those objects as a springboard to discuss daily life in Jacksonian America, students will discover just how different life once was! Grades 2-8
Jacksonian Democracy vs. Jeffersonian Democracy
-Join The Hermitage in a discussion on how the idea of democracy evolved from Thomas Jefferson to Andrew Jackson, and the effect that it had on the presidency, the government, and the American people. (New!) Grades 8-12
-Available in September/October and April/May, The Hermitage's most popular Hands-on-History program is back with expanded dates to accommodate demand! This is a special opportunity for students to perform as junior tour guides on the grounds of The Hermitage. After learning background information (sent in advance), students will dress in period costumes provided by The Hermitage. Junior Docents interpret up to 28 stations on the property for visitors, and is a great way for students to develop self-esteem, confidence, and public speaking skills as they learn about Andrew Jackson and the history of The Hermitage.
"The Junior Docent program at the Hermitage is a field trip experience like no other. By taking on the role of the expert, students take ownership of the rich history of Andrew Jackson and Tennessee. The educational staff at the Hermitage are so enjoyable to work with and always do everything possible to facilitate the best possible experience. Students, parents, and teachers look forward to this field trip every year. It is truly a memorable experience!" - Mrs. Massa, 4th grade teacher.
-How much power should each state hold compared to our national government? Before the Civil War, there was the Nullification Crisis involving South Carolina's nullification of federal law, a battle in Congress, and the failing economy - all culminating in a threat to secede from the Union. How did Jackson deal with the issue of states' rights? Students will explore the growing tensions between the states, and the first fight leading to the Civil War 30 years later. Grades 8-12
Revolution in the Carolinas
-The American Revolution in the Carolinas is an under-studied theater of war, but it could be accurately described as a civil war. This class examines the tensions that festered among commoners - like Andrew Jackson - in the early 1780s on the frontier. Grades 4-8
Slavery at The Hermitage
-At the peak of The Hermitage's production, Andrew Jackson owned about 150 slaves. How does one become a slave? How could widespread slavery happen in a country built on freedom? What would life be like for a slave at The Hermitage? The questions are addressed in Slavery at The Hermitage, and students will make and take home a beaded bracelet in memory of the enslaved. Grades 4-12
Trail of Tears
-Examining one of the darkest chapters in the United States' history, the Trail of Tears program takes students back to the foundation of our country to see how the citizens - and our government - interacted with Native Americans. From the purchase of Manhattan by the Dutch through the Indian Removal Act to the forced Cherokee removal in the Trail of Tears, students will learn not only how removal happened, but why. Students will also take home an Indian Blanket flower to plant. Grades 4-12
"The topic was high level, but you really did a superb job of making it kid friendly!" - Mrs. Boylan, 5th grade teacher.
"Students were told how the politics and economics of the time along with prejudice caused the event. this ties into what they had been told and the presenter was able to enhance their understanding." - 4th grade teacher - New Jersey
War of 1812
-In honor of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, this interactive program invites students to learn why the war was fought, and the legacy of the War of 1812. Also includes a strategy activity, asking students to think about how the Battle of New Orleans was fought. Grades 4-12