Many structures involved in our nation’s history have been well-preserved and are welcoming to visitors for educational purposes. Enjoying these treasures keeps the memories of the people that made our country alive and helps us to understand better where we have come from. Not only can we learn from and appreciate the architecture from earlier times, but we can delve into the stories about the people who designed the buildings and the people who lived and worked in them. Here are some amazing historical sites to visit with your homeschoolers around Albany, New York, from which you can design many lessons for weeks afterward.
Within walking distance of Hampton Inn Albany NY is the Albany Capitol Building which was built in the late 1800s. The New York State Capitol has tours available Monday through Friday for you to enjoy the masonry of this marvelous structure that is part of the Empire State Plaza complex. This building could provide lessons not just in history but in architecture, as well. Alexander Hamilton married Elizabeth Van Rensselaer in the Schuyler Mansion on Catherine Street in 1780. The room the wedding took place in is open to visitors and is a beautiful example of life from that period. Historic Cherry Hill was built in 1787 and is a home that features items from life throughout the centuries, including books, clothing and furnishings. It was built by the Van Rensselaer Family and is used today as a center for studying our country’s history.
Albany Rural Cemetery and Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York, both have historic figures buried there from the 1800s. Oakwood has trails and views of the Hudson River, while Albany has funerary art and architecture that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Uncle Sam is buried at Oakwood Cemetery and could provide a lesson for the war of 1812 and recruitment for the US Army. Albany Rural is 467 acres that provide historical information on Albany’s mayors while you walk, bike or drive through the beautiful grounds.
The USS Slater is the last Destroyer Escort that is afloat and is from WWII. It is moored on the Hudson River, is 306 feet long and is open to visitors for tours of the museum created inside the historic ship. There are many lessons about WWII that could be helpful for your homeschoolers from this ship that was part of a tumultuous time in world history. Not far from this floating museum is the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Highway which goes by the historic route of the Erie Canal from the early 1800s. This canal linked the Hudson River with Lake Erie.
A 300-year-old Dutch farm, Mabee Farm, is the oldest farm in the Mohawk Valley. Its quaint buildings are where lectures and workshops take place and are also home to a gift shop with historical items. In the summer, it hosts the Mabee Farm Canal Fest to celebrate the Erie Canal nearby. The Shaker Heritage Society on Meeting House Road has nine original buildings as well as an apple orchard and herb garden. You can participate in educational programs there to learn about the culture and community of the Shakers.
Fostering an appreciation for history is important to do for your homeschooler to build a sense of identity and understanding of what our nation stands for and where we came from. All of the sites listed here can be utilized for many different lessons and can be referred to for studies even after you return home. Walking or biking through the cemeteries is great physical activity, the buildings present interesting subjects for architecture studies, and the Shaker Society can be studied for cultural aspects. The historical value of these places is remarkable but the economic, social and political aspects of how they are still affecting the lives of the people living in the area today are also notable and can be a lesson on their own.