Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation
Riversdale House Museum
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Educational Programs

Riversdale is an important local, state and national landmark and is the perfect place for students to learn about history in their own backyard! Riversdale offers several programs to cater to a wide range of grades, abilities, and curriculum requirements.

Pinch, No Smiles: Early Nineteenth Century Play at Riversdale
This program is designed to introduce students to Riversdale by using the perspective of a child. George and Rosalie Calvert had nine children, five of whom lived to adulthood. Students will move from room to room on the tour and discover how an early nineteenth-century children would have played, worked, and lived in each room. In addition, enslaved children also resided at Riversdale. Students will compare and contrast their living, working, and playing conditions with that of the Calvert children. Students also will  participate in a hands-on workshop and learn a traditional English country dance, make a popular period toy, and play the game, Pinch, No Smiles.
Program Length: 90 minutes
Level: Grades 1-4
Cost: $2 per student & chaperone (teachers free)
Voluntary State Curriculum Alignment(s): 3rd Grade, Individuals and Society Change Over Time
Supplements Provided: Pre-visit materials and activities, 
Interactive PowerPoint presentation
Out of the Shadows: Riversdale's Servants in the Spotlight
This program is designed to highlight the inner economic workings of an early 19th century Maryland estate and working farm. The central role as mistress of the household was to oversee all domestic tasks. She ran a staff of servants composed of free whites and enslaved African Americans who processed the crops, cooked, cleaned, served meals, took care of the children, and made textiles, among other duties. Students will take on the persona of a servant while touring the house and learn how each of the rooms would have been used by the servants. During the workshop component, participants will learn about goods produced at Riversdale as they grind herbs and spices, make a sachet to take home, and learn about wool carding and spinning.
Program Length: 90 minutes
Level: Grades 3-6
Cost: $2 per student & chaperone (teachers free)
Voluntary State Curriculum Alignment(s): Economics; African American History
Supplements Provided: Pre-visit materials and activities 
Interactive PowerPoint presentation
House Tour
Students will take a guided tour of Riversdale. This tour can be tailored to meet a variety of curriculum requirements. Please call Riversdale to specify your particular needs.
Program Length: 45-90 minutes
Level: Grades 1 & up 
Cost: $1 per student & chaperone (teachers free)
Voluntary State Curriculum Alignment(s): Varied
Supplements Provided: Interactive PowerPoint presentation
Sensing the Past
This program is designed for students who have special needs. Groups that can negotiate the stairs take a 20- minute tour of the house. Those with physical disabilities tour only the rooms on ground level; this tour is enhanced by an interactive museum teacher-led PowerPoint presentation of the rest of the rooms. All students participate in a workshop where they use their senses to make history come alive. They will make an herb sachet to take home. Program Length: 45 minutes - 1 hour
Level: 2nd grade abilities & up
Cost: $2 per student & chaperone (teachers free)

Girl Scout Programs

Riversdale is the perfect place for your troop to earn a Try-It or badge! Programs are scheduled on Saturdays and days when children are off school. Please call the office with your specific scheduling needs.
Program Length: 2 hours (can be slightly shorter or slightly longer depending on troop size and program)
Cost: $10/scout; $2/chaperone (troop leaders free)
Badges & Patches: Try-Its and Badges must be purchased from council; Riversdale offers custom patches for $2 each.
House Tour - Patch Program for all Levels
Explore the c. 1801 Federal-style house and kitchen dependency. As Scouts tour the house, they will learn about art, architecture, and the Calvert family. In particular, the tour will focus on Rosalie Stier Calvert, the empowered Mistress of Riversdale.

Brownie Programs

Write Away
An avid letter writer, Rosalie Stier Calvert, the Mistress of Riversdale, provides an example of how important letters are to the study of the past. The extensive collection of letters still in existence between Rosalie Stier Calvert and her family in Belgium provides a remarkable narrative window into the past. Scouts will hunt for objects from 200 years ago while touring the house, read excerpts from the letters, play games, and write and seal a letter 19th century-style.
Note: This program is recommended for 3rd graders, or those with strong reading and writing skills.
Listening to the Past
Riversdale House Museum is the perfect environment for Scouts to complete this Try-It. They will tour the house, read wallpaper, and make and play with early American games and toys.

Junior Programs

Architecture Adventures
Riversdale, completed in 1807, is unique to the area in that it includes elements of both traditional American Federal and European architecture. While touring the house, Scouts will gain an understanding of the main components of these types of architecture. Scouts will learn about form and function and solve a puzzle while touring the house. Afterwards, Scouts will redesign a room and create a three-dimensional model.

Toymaker Time Travelers
Two hundred year ago, many toys and games were quite different than the ones we know today. Riversdale was home to the nine Calvert children, as well as the children of  enslaved workers. While touring the house, Scouts will learn about how these children all lived and played. They will try their hands at 19th century games, make a period toy, and create a board game about Riversdale.

Folk Arts
Riversdale is home to many types of art, including folk arts. Folk arts can include stories, music, decorative objects, and even recipes passed down from generation to generation. In this program, Scouts will compare and contrast fine art with folk art, make theorem paintings, participate in an English country dance, and learn about quilts.
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