Washington Heritage Museums proudly offers tours for schoolchildren at each of its museums. Classes may tour one, two, or all three museums. We recommend touring all three for the best glimpse into Revolutionary-era Virginia. Each museum explores a different facet of the life of townspeople during that time including their home life, how they traveled and dined, and how they were cared for medically.

Click here to learn more about each museum's accessibility.
Please allow at least 45 minutes per museum for a group tour to allow time for students to enter the building, enjoy the guided tour, ask questions, and then board the bus.

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Interpreted as Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, this eighteenth-century building is a small museum of colonial-era medicine and pharmacy. Dr. Mercer served the citizens of Fredericksburg for 15 years with medicines and treatments of the period. Students will learn about some of the remedies he likely employed, including leeches, lancets, snakeroot, and crab claws.  After their tour, students may explore the Physick garden to view (if in season) the many herbs and other plants that 18th-century physicians would have used in treating afflictions. Dr. Mercer left his practice in Fredericksburg to join the Continental Army, dying as a Brigadier General at the Battle of Princeton in 1777.

Applicable Virginia SOLs:

VS.4b,e, VS.5b

US1.1, US1.5, US1.6

Demonstration materials presented at this museum may be too graphic, unsettling, or complex for younger children. The tour can be adjusted and shortened for grades K-3. We request that teachers take the tour prior to booking to ascertain its suitability for their class.

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Students will tour one of Fredericksburg’s early taverns, where interpreters in period costumes will explain traveling accommodations (lodging, meals, entertainment, etc.) in the early nineteenth century. From the “bar” to the banquet hall, students will learn about the games early Americans played, the food they ate, the musical instruments they listened to, the news they shared, how they traveled, and how taverns acted as centers of public life. As the building was originally the home of George Washington’s youngest brother, students will also learn about Charles Washington’s role in the American Revolution. Be sure to check the tavern’s “hip tub” and heavy mousetraps!

Applicable Virginia SOLs:

VS.1, VS.2, VS.4, VS.5, VS.6

US1.1, US1.5, US1.6

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A visit to the home of Mary Washington, purchased for her by her son George, takes students back to a time when social customs were much different from those today. During the seventeen years that Mary Washington lived at the house in the late 1700s, she hosted her son and daughter-in-law, George and Martha Washington, as well as distinguished guests such as the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the Revolutionary War. Before attending his presidential inauguration in 1789, George Washington received his mother’s blessing in this house. Students will learn about the enslaved persons who lived on the property and how their work assisted Mary Washington with her daily activities. Students will also see a rare example of an original 19th-century kitchen, built after Mary Washington’s death.

Applicable Virginia SOLs:

VS.1b, VS.5b, VS.6

US1.1, US1.5, US1.6

Youth Events

 
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Twilight History for Kids

August 2 - 4, 2022 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Youth 8-12 years of age will explore American history and follow in the footsteps of George Washington, his family, and his friends. They will learn about history with hands-on activities, projects, and games at Hugh Mercer Apothecary, Mary Washington House, and Rising Sun Tavern. Children will learn about 18th-century food, medicine, and daily life as they explore the places that George Washington knew well. In this evening program, most activities will take place outside in small groups. Participants will visit a new museum each night of the program. While we currently don't anticipate that masks will be required, WHM will comply with CDC guidance at the time of the event.

 

Your children will travel through history, and you will be free to enjoy three summer evenings in downtown Fredericksburg! After purchasing tickets, you will receive an email confirmation along with a link to fill out a registration form required for each child attending.

Rules of Civility Downloads

In the 1740s, at the age of about 14, George Washington copied by hand 110 Rules of Civility in his schoolbook, likely as an assignment in penmanship. Having originated in France in the late sixteenth century, these guidelines for proper behavior and manners were widely circulated during Washington’s time. In colonial America, a person’s refined presence expressed their virtue, honor, and overall worthiness. While the gentry (the upper class of the colonial society) achieved refinement by birth and upbringing, those of lower means could move upward in society if they emulated their superiors’ genteel appearance and customs. As a “rising gentleman,” George Washington learned the standards of proper behavior from literature and etiquette guides such as these rules. Follow the link below to read them and access a workbook with activities for children. Do you think these guidelines are still relevant today?