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 and Girl Scouts 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)
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)
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)
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 badge or patch! 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
Cost: $10/scout; Troop leaders & 1 chaperone per 10 Scouts FREE; additional chaperones $2
Badges & Patches: Badges must be purchased from GS 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

Legacy Artist: Painting 
Explore Riversdale's collection and try your hand at some popular 19th century arts. Learn about block printing, tell your own story through wallpaper, and create a theorem! 
Legacy Cook: Snacks
Before microwaves, blenders, ovens, and stoves, cooks had to get creative in the kitchen! Explore the open hearth kitchen and whip up some tasty treats - 19th century style!
Legacy Athlete: Fair play
Get ready for some Federal fun! Fresh air and outdoor exercise were considered healthful and important for a young lady 200 years ago. Play games, make toys, and find out how some popular ones changed over the years - and how some have stayed just the same!
Legacy citizen: Celebrating community
Riversdale has been an important part of the community and county for over 200 years. Explore this National Historic Landmark and take part in a very 19th century celebration - a traditional ball!
Journey Brownie quest: dancer

Dancing was an important accomplishment for young ladies in early America. Discover other accomplishments while touring the house and then find out what it takes to be the belle of the ball while learning some period dances!

journey World of Girls: Making games

Ever heard of Pinch, No Smiles before? find out about this and other fun games girls played 200 years ago and get creative while putting a 21st century twist on some old-fashioned fun!

Junior Programs 

legacy artist: drawing
Explore the architecture of Riversdale while experimenting with different media as you create some works of art!
legacy cook: simple meals 
Mrs. Calvert wrote that her cook, "made excellent stew." Learn about seasonality and cooking while touring the gardens and open hearth kitchen. Then, prepare some dishes using 200 year old recipes!
legacy naturalist: flowers 

Mrs. Calvert considered is, "a great honor to have the most beautiful," gardens at Riversdale. Learn about some of her favorite flowers on a garden scavenger hunt, make 19th century cosmetics, and discover the meaning of flowers while "reading" paintings.

journey amuse: playing the past

blast into the past and find out what it was like to be a child growing up at Riversdale. try on period clothing, take an interactive tour, and learn popular 19th century games and dances.

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