An Introduction to American Maritime History
This program supports the California History/Social Science Standards for Grade Five.
The four 5th grade presentations trace the maritime history of the United States, beginning with a discussion of "Early American Economy" covering subjects like the New England industry of whaling and cod fishing. This presentation also discusses the trade triangle, including the transportation of slaves and the revolt aboard the slave ship "Amistad".
A second presentation, "East to West", discusses the expansion of the West following the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. Also discussed are the Gold Rush period, the importance of the Isthmus of Panama, and the later building of the canal.
Another presentation discusses "The History of the U.S. Navy" beginning with the Navy's infancy during the American Revolution and traces the development of American warships including the USS Constitution and her actions during the War of 1812. The discussion continues with the introduction of steam during the Civil War and the famous "Ironclads" which ended the reign of the sailing ships. The story ends with the USS Olympia, America's all-steel ship of the "Great White Fleet" used during the Spanish/American War.
The final presentation is a discussion of "A Sailor's Life", what life was like on board a merchant ship in the early 1800s. Included is a discussion of a sailor's duties, the food he ate, maintaining health, and shipboard recreation.
A culminating activity called a "Search and Find" quiz follows their tour. A discussion period follows the Search and Find which allows the students time to share what they have learned while in the museum.