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East and Dutch Chambers

The Little Yonkers

The Herb Garden

Many people wonder at the mention of Yonkers when talking about the school trip program of the Van Cortlandt House Museum. Although Van Cortlandt House is situated in the Bronx, the land on which Van Cortlandt House is situated was well inside the Yonkers town (being a part of the southernmost tip of the Westchester County) all through the 18th century and up till the later part of the 19th century. This plantation of the Van Cortlandt family was often referred to as the little Yonkers in order to not confuse it with their plantation in Croton, the Westchester County town in the north. Frederick Van Cortlandt’s land was not only smaller than the one in Croton, justified by the title ‘Little,’ his family was also referred to as the junior branch of the Cortlandt family.

Little Yonkers school trip program is organized in accordance with the New York State education Department’s learning methodologies and standards and as a part of their social studies curriculum for students of grade 1 till grade 4.

When the students arrive at the Van Cortlandt House Museum for the Little Yonkers program, their class gets greeted outdoors, and is provided with a brief introduction to the area surrounding the museum, dating back to the 18th century. The students then participate in hands-on activities, connecting them with the everyday routine of students of the colonial era. The visit to the museum concludes with a comprehensive guided tour of the house, acquainting them with its every aspect with the help of artefact reproductions.

The school trips can be arranged throughout the week from Monday to Friday and can be held anywhere between September in June (weather permitting). How these school trips are different from the others is that the students get to see and participate in the re-enactments from the colonial times, with every activity led by a talented and professional museum educator dressed in clothing from the 18th century era! If needed, the school trip can even be customized to suit the needs of the students and even include day-long sessions.

Every field trip to the Van Cortlandt’s House Museum lasts for around 1 ½ hours depending on the size of the classes and the engagement of students. If the students are well prepared they’ll have more questions and they’ll learn more.

After the field trip is over, the students are open to have their lunch either in the classroom or the herb cellar of the museum. Weather permitting, the students can even have their lunch outside on the grounds. However, they are encouraged to keep things clean so that the next field trip can happen without any problems.