Museum-Based Programs

Guided Museum-Based Programs

Each museum-based segment is 30 minutes long and focuses on different topics in the museum. Activities listed will vary depending on the grade level. You also have the option of choosing a narrated cruise on the museum’s historic Bugeye, the Wm. B. Tennison as part of your program. The cost of a cruise on the Tennison is $200 per hour, and it is available seasonally May-October.

Pre Kindergarten
groups are scheduled for an hour-long museum walk through which includes the Secrets of the Mermaid's Purse exhibit and the Discovery Room. 


The Discovery Room and Secrets of the Mermaid’s Purse

Grades Kindergarten through Third
The Discovery Room represents the museum in miniature. At the base of the “cliff” is a beach box where children can dig for fossils and figure out what they have found at our Fossil Identification Station. Students can “sail” in the sailing skiff, climb the model lighthouse steps to turn on the light at the top of the lighthouse and visit the keeper’s cottage. Learn about the local species at the touch tank, such as a terrapin or horseshoe crab.


Chesapeake Habitats 

Grades Kindergarten through Second

Students will explore the major habitats found in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Working in the River to Bay: Reflections and Connections gallery, students observe live animals and discover the impacts of changing habitats on local species.

Native People of the Patuxent

Grades Kindergarten through Second
In this hands-on activity, students explore how natural resources were used by the Native Peoples of the Patuxent River.  Students will compare and contrast natural resource examples to discover how these tools and artifacts relate to their modern equivalents.

Marsh Exploration (Seasonal)

Grades Kindergarten through Sixth
Using everyday household objects, students learn why the salt marsh is a critical habitat in the Chesapeake Bay. Students begin by exploring the marsh with their senses – searching for clues of animal life and sharing what they have found. They discover some of the special adaptations of the animals and plants that inhabit the marsh. As part of this program, students visit our River

Fossil Adventure

Grades Kindergarten through Sixth
In our Clues in the Cliffs exhibit, students conduct hands-on observations about Miocene epoch fossils.  Grade dependent activities lead students to discover how changing climates and habitats impact species.  Highlights include a life-sized megalodon skeletal model and a trip past the paleontology preparation laboratory.

Drum Point Lighthouse
Grades Second and up

Students explore the historic Drum Point Lighthouse, completing a scavenger hunt to discover the daily life of lighthouse keepers and their families.  Students have the opportunity to observe a Fresnel lens up close, and will learn how the Drum Point Lighthouse aided navigation of the Patuxent River.


Grades Three and up
Students learn about adaptations using live animals in our River to Bay: Reflections and Connections gallery.  Teams of students will be assigned an adaptation and will locate animals that share that adaptation in our aquariums.

Watermen and Their Boats 
Grades Four through 6

Students explore the relationship between watermen, their catch, and their boats. After an introduction to the Chesapeake Bay using a navigational chart, students will engage in an activity that illustrates how the bay’s topography and the requirements of different fisheries drove the design of new boats.