Butler-McCook Education Programs

Grades K-2

The McCook Family & My Family

Hartford history and the meaning of community is brought to life through the eyes of the McCook family.

I Spy Main Street!

Students create their own version of the Hartford cityscape after discovering the architectural history of Main Street and learning about urban planning and development.

Grades 3-5

Trades of New England

Students combine geography, economics and Hartford history to relate life in the 18th century to today’s global marketplace. Hartford’s economy boomed during the 18th century due to its geographical location. Students investigate why its location on the Connecticut River enabled the city to become a major economic and industrial capital. Through the lens of the bustling downtown district of 18th century Hartford, students will explore fundamental economic concepts, such as needs versus wants, the difference between goods and services, and an individual’s role in a local economy.

Activities will provide information on 18th-century occupations—theirnames, their processes, their tools, and their roles within 18th-century society. 18th-century trades provide an appropriate format to explore the connection between written text and images, as students explore advertising during a period when most people could not read or write. In the 18th century, pictures were more important than words when it came to advertising. Since most people could not read, a shop’s sign had to clearly and quickly tell people visually what service or product was available inside.

Bushnell Then & Now

Students investigate Bushnell Park’s influence and their own sense of place through historic photos, monuments, and GPS.

What About Wallpaper?

Students combine geometry, math, and economics while they learn about 19th-century wallpaper as an art form.

Grades 6-7

Samurai in the City!

Students learn about Japanese culture and international tourism with authentic Samurai armor.

A Tourist in My Own Backyard

Students are introduced to primary sources as they see Hartford and the state through historic postcards. Students create a postcard to share the best parts of their own neighborhood, city, and state.

Grades 8-12

Civil War Home Front

Students analyze the role of Connecticut in the Civil War through primary sources and age-appropriate discussions. Letters, maps, and historic newspapers reveal different state, regional, and national perspectives of freedom, race and national identity.

Social Reform & Photography

Using primary sources students investigate the central questions: How has America’s treatment of the homeless changed over time? And how can photography be used as a tool for social reform and awareness? Long before educational instruction standards and frameworks, Reverend John James McCook used the scientific method and his interest in a social problem to develop an informed inquiry. McCook’s interest in the American homeless problem is particularly suited to teach students informed inquiry, as they mirror his own inquiry steps. This lesson uses historical context, primary sources, and photography to follow McCook’s inquiry arc, while students develop their own individual informed conclusions. Students will learn the historical context of Rev. McCook as a Connecticut example of the progressive social reform at the turn of the twentieth century, as they witness a practical application of inquiry methodolgy.

Rev. John James McCook made significant contributions to his community. Rev. McCook studied and wrote about homelessness.At first he assumed the homeless were solely responsible for their situation.Later he learned how complex the issue really was and, through research and writing, helped illuminate some reasonable solutions.