Education at Sotterley

Education is one of the most important aspects of Sotterley’s mission and touches almost everything that a visitor will encounter. Whether an exhibit, a tour, field trip, or event, the education of students and visitors about Sotterley’s history and culture takes place before, during and after a visit. Sotterley’s K-12 programs are Maryland State Department of Education approved and aligned with Maryland educational standards and teaching practices.

Field Trips

Our schools increasingly struggle to meet the comprehensive needs of students; each new generation faces an even more tenuous connection to knowledge. TODAY, a field trip to Sotterley is a “hands-on” day of discovery. TOMORROW, our top priorities will be enhanced and expanded programs to reach more children and adult learners.


***A new Field Trip Registration Form is in development and will be available soon!***

Tidewater Plantation Life

Children are immersed in the daily lives of children on a Plantation using hands-on activities that illustrate work, games, education, clothing, behavior, and food using the backdrop of Sotterley Plantation’s outbuildings and gardens. Students compare the lives of these children to their own experiences. Students complete a Colonial craft to take home.

Includes the following learning stations:

  • Schoolhouse
  • Colonial Garden
  • Colonial Games
  • Kitchen and Laundry

Slavery to Freedom

Students learn what the life of an American enslaved family was like who lived and labored at Sotterley Plantation during the Civil War Era by participating in hands-on activities at our original slave quarter and outbuildings. Students will also hear the words of a Sotterley slave descendant and discover what historians must use to tell the story of the enslaved by piecing together artifacts, primary documents, oral history and other regional resources. Students will learn how to collect their own family’s oral history so they can begin to piece together their own stories.

Includes the following learning stations:

  • Tour of the downstairs of the Manor House
  • Tour of the slave dwelling
  • Land, Lives, and Labor exhibit
  • Extended Kitchen/Laundry lesson

Living on the Patuxent

This program is designed to give students a historical overview of life along the Patuxent River. Students learn how the native people and early colonists used the natural resources available for the settlement of the region and how it shaped social and economic activity in the 1700’s. Students will work with primary documents.

Includes the following learning stations:

  • Trail walk learning about native plants and animals
  • Crops learning about the Three Sisters crops
  • Inventory of James Bowles' estate
  • Triangular Trade
Featured Video

Virtual Field Trip to the Sotterley Schoolhouse

School House Part 2

School is back in session at Sotterley!

Join us for this VIRTUAL field trip to the Sotterley Schoolhouse.





Family Friendly Resources for Home


Check out the videos below to see us get up close with bugs! Learn some wild fun facts about these tiny friends of ours and why some bugs just stink!

More Family Fun!

Using the most basic scientific concepts of flight and from household items, you can make your very own kite for flying on breezy Summer days. FYI Sotterley's riverside hill is perfect for kite flying!

A fun, interactive downloadable PDF, to use on your next adventure here at Sotterley! Simply click the link and print it out. Search the grounds and see if you can find them all!


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Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math

Sotterley hosts STEAM education programs at its site, providing students with opportunities to learn concepts introduced in the classroom in a more exciting way, through sensory learning. Sotterley partners with the St. Mary’s County Public Schools STEAM Academy.

Junior Docent Academy

Are you looking for something fun to do this summer that involves history and interacting with others? We have the perfect opportunity for you! Our Junior Docent Academy will enhance your communication skills while sharing our rich history and exquisite site with visitors. Upon successful completion, you will become Junior Docents and ambassadors of Historic Sotterley. Ages 8-18. Advance Registration Required.