School Programs

Plantation Life: The Southern Agricultural Economy
Tudor Hall Plantation is the setting for the study of how free and enslaved Virginia families lived more than 150 years ago. Park educators and costumed interpreters lead hands-on activities that allow students to explore the material culture of these Virginia families, providing insight into how diverse groups of Southerners lived, worked, and interacted with one another. This comparison allows students to discover what freedom really meant to the men and women who sought it so dearly.

Civil War Battles:
Students participate in a rare opportunity to re-create famous Civil War battles on an actual battlefield! Re-creations help students understand the importance of terrain and the evolution of tactics through the war, while reinforcing the names of key leaders and the important battles in which they fought. After experiencing a combat scenario for themselves, students learn the story of one soldier who faced the terror of combat on the very battlefield they just experienced. These programs, combined with a tour of the Park’s original Confederate earthworks and full-scale re-created earthworks, help students visualize and appreciate Civil War battles as never before.

The Civil War: Why They Fought
The Civil War was not a spontaneous event, as students realize in this interactive classroom program. Students learn the controversies and compromises that led to Southern secession, the social and economic differences between the North and South, and the role of slavery in splitting the country. Bar graphs and mathematics illustrate why Southern planters opposed abolition, and a large puzzle map of the United States graphically demonstrates the result of the continued conflict over the expansion of slavery in the United States. Teachers may choose to include the 23-minute version of the dramatic film “War So Terrible” that is tailored for younger audiences.

“War So Terrible”: (High Schools)
Pamplin Historical Park now offers an extended 49-minute version of the film “War So Terrible” for high school students. The film vividly portrays Civil War combat as seen through the eyes of soldiers from both sides. (Note: This film contains graphic images of Civil War combat. Viewer discretion is advised.)

A Soldier’s Life:
Experience the life of a Civil War soldier, in camp, on the march, and on the drill field. Costumed interpreters teach students how average citizens learned to be soldiers by putting students through the very military drill practiced by new recruits. These interpreters provide a weapons demonstration as well. In camp, a hands-on program demonstrates how soldiers survived camp food, punishments, and disease.

The Reconstruction Era:
Students are placed in the midst of the tumultuous Reconstruction era as witnesses to history at Ford’s Theater, observers of the post-war South, and participants in the newly-won voting rights for African Americans. Video technology brings the sights, sounds, and voices of Reconstruction to life, allowing students to understand the divisive opinions throughout the country as the United States tried to rebuild. Students learn about the difficulties, accomplishments, and failures of Reconstruction.

Teacher Resources

Click here for a list of SOLs covered in these programs.
Click here
for the Field Trip Reservation Form.
Click here to download a .pdf of Pre-Park Visit and Post-Park Visit activities for the classroom.
Click here for the Civil War Trust’s education materials.
Click here for the U.S. Department of Education’s list of resources.