Schools

The Phelps Mansion Museum is pleased to offer a variety of educational programs.

All programs can be adjusted to serve younger or older audiences.


On Site Workshops

The Phelps Mansion Museum has developed workshops that tie into the Grade 4 curriculum. These workshops may be included with any school or youth group visit. Click on our workshop program options below for full details.

Innovations! Contraptions! Inventions!

Learn about the process of an inventor in the 19th century. Discover stories about local innovators from Binghamton, and see 19th century technologies throughout the mansion. Students will re-create inventions popular in the late 19th century.

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Gilded Age Mail Order Workshop

Discover the effects of mass production and how catalogs created a shared shopping experience and standardized American culture.

The Art of the Letter

For those in the Gilded Era, letter writing occurred everyday and it was important. Students will re-create late 19th century handwriting using templates from popular copperplate scripts such as French, Palace, and Edwardian.

Let’s Play! 19th Century Games & Toys

It’s hard to imagine a time without televisions, or smart phones, or tablets…so when lessons were studied and chores were finished, what did children do for fun? Experience 19th century games and toys as they would have been played 150 years ago.


Yesterday's Gentlemen logoIn-School Presentations in Conjunction with Yesterday’s Gentlemen

The following in-school presentations have been developed to meet current New York State Department of Education Standards. Each of the 45-minute programs were developed to work with a single classroom. They work well with middle and high school groups given the focus on NYS History and STEM learning standards. Programs are presented by the staff of Yesterday’s Gentlemen with the support of the Phelps Mansion Museum. Public schools in New York State may be able to have a portion of the fee covered by Broome-Tioga BOCES. For scheduling or additional information on any of these programs, contact Yesterday’s Gentlemen at (607) 687-3880 or the Phelps Mansion Museum.

Yesterday’s Gentlemen has been offering education programs tied to cultural and natural history topics. Douglas Weeks began presenting his living history programs several years ago to help students better understand the rich history that so often remains under explored in history books. Working with a team of historians, Mr. Weeks will help students explore some of the lesser-known stories of the average person from the past.

Programs

The Gilded Age

  • It was Mark Twain who first described the period between 1870 and 1893 as the Gilded Age. It was a time of great wealth and great poverty. A time of innovation and speculation. A time of failing banks and businesses that struggled to survive. The Gilded Age was also the period when New York State saw a tremendous growth. Here in Central New York we saw many of the same highs and lows, but the Gilded Age also ushered in many of the businesses that remain the backbone of the region. Students will be introduced to the challenges and rewards of the Gilded Age both here in New York and throughout the United States.
  • The presenter will guide students on a trip back in time to the late 1800s. Using a variety of demonstrations, guided imagery, storytelling, stories published in the media of the day and personal diary entries, the students will become familiar with the average worker of the day as well as the business owner, and finally a member of the elite, the “400” of the day.

NYS STANDARDS

  • Students will understand the relationships and common themes that connect mathematics, science and technology and apply the themes and other areas of learning.

 

Dr. Crispus Rumex and his Travelling Medicine Show

  • In the old days when you got sick, it was not uncommon to rely on special tonics, salces, and poultices that were gathered from local plants. These remedies were traditionally passed on form generation to generation. As time went by some of these remedies were bottles and sold by travelling salesmen. Some of these sellers of patent medicines went on to create some of today’s medical businesses. During this program students will be introduced to the healing powers of plants that can be found around us each and every day.

NYS STANDARDS

  • Student will understand the relationships and common themes that connect mathematics, science and technology and apply the themes to these and other areas of learning.

 

War of the Currents

  • When electricity was in its infancy two very different models were being developed. Both had potential and it was only a matter of time before things were going to come to a head. Thomas Edison was solidly backing the potential of direct current while George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla were developing what they called polyphase current. New York State was destined to become the center of this battle.
  • This program will introduce students to the many New York State connections to the War of the Currents. Students will be introduced to part of the science behind the generation of and transmission of electricity.

NYS STANDARDS

  • Technology has been the driving force in the evolution of society from an agricultural to an industrial to an information base.
  • Students will identify technological developments that have significantly accelerated human progress
  • Students will explain how technological inventions and innovation have caused global growth and interdependence, stimulated economic competitiveness, created new jobs, and made other jobs obsolete.

 

To the Mansion Worn

  • Today most of us wearing clothing hat we purchased in some store. During the Gilded Age (1870 to 1893) very few of the clothes that people wore were purchased in a store. While the French fashions were featured in many of the magazines, most people could not afford them. Even those who were well off would often take these etchings to their local seamstress to have a custom-made gown made up for that special dance. It was not unusual for men and women to go through several changes of clothing throughout the day. This program will guide students through a “typical day” in the life of both the wealthy and the workingperson.

NYS STANDARDS

  • Students will understand the relationships and common themes that connect mathematics, science and technology and apply the themes to these and other areas of learning.

 

Wonders from The Fair

  • Before the internet one of the best ways to introduce new technology to the world was to chow them at one of the World’s Expositions. A few of the innovations that were showcased as these Expositions include: the light bulb, air brakes, telephones, electric boats, phonographs, moving sidewalks, computers, and so much more. During this program students will be guided through a few of the technological advancements that were introduced at the 1876 Centennial Exposition, the 1884 Cotton States Exposition, and the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

NYS STANDARDS

  • Technology has been the driving force in the evolution of society from an agricultural to an industrial to an information base.
  • Students will identify technological developments that have significantly accelerated human progress
  • Students will explain how technological inventions and innovation have caused global growth and interdependence, stimulated economic competitiveness, created new jobs, and made other jobs obsolete.

 

For scheduling, or additional information on any of these programs, please contact Yesterday’s Gentlemen at (607) 687-3880 or the Phelps Mansion Museum at (607) 722-4873, info@phelpsmansion.org

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