Educational Programming

“Why Sotterley, indeed? Sotterley is fearless in its effort to offer first-rate programs confronting head-on America's original sin: slavery. Sotterley shows us how, by acknowledging this fundamental historical truth, we really can build a fairer, more just society.” 

- Julie King, Professor of Anthropology, St. Mary’s College of Maryland 

Historic Sotterley’s educational programs are interdisciplinary, focusing on environment, social studies and history. Our hands-on activities allow learning to come alive, and our landscape and authentic structures give a reality to the concepts being taught in classrooms. 


Sotterley's educational programming serves over 3,000 students a year from across St. Mary's, Charles, Calvert, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties and Washington, DC. Our Maryland State Department of Education approved programming emphasizes the importance of perspective and offers kids hands-on learning experiences. 


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. 


Historic Sotterley Descendants are involved with sharing their stories and those of their ancestors and have influenced and helped design our programs which include Slavery to Freedom, Living on the Patuxent, and Tidewater Plantation Life. 

Field Trips

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 and Triangular Trade. 

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. 

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 and “STEAM”. 

Pricing for Field Trips

Groups under 20 students:

  • $175 flat rate for group

Group with 20+ students:

  • $9 per student in and out of county
  • $6 per student for Title 1 schools



Middle Passage Marker

Historic Sotterley is proud to be a UNESCO Site of Memory for the Routes of the Enslaved, Middle Passage Port Marker’s Project Site, and a partner in the Return Passage Initiative. Learn more about how the enslaved came to the US. 


Land, Lives & Labor

Learn what life at Sotterley was like during the Civil War Era by participating in hands-on activities. 


Slave Dwelling

Nothing is as powerful as experiencing the reality of our Slave Dwelling for itself. The dwelling offers a window into the lives of the enslaved in the decades before the Civil War. The Exhibit has been recognized by the Maryland Historical Society for Excellence in Public Programming.  


Saving History: The Urgency of Preservation

This exhibit features the story of Resurrection Manor. 

Parent/Teacher Resources

Coming Soon