In addition to our general list of themed lesson plan/class tours, we offer highlights of successful educational experiences at Green-Wood. We hope they provide educators and their students additional examples of how local public schools can interface with The Historic Fund’s educational programming thorough example.
Historic Green-Wood’s Educational Program is open to teachers and schools throughout the New York region. Educators or parents who want to know more about the program or past examples can contact The Historic Fund’s Education and Outreach Coordinator Steve Estroff at SteveEstroff@Green-Wood.com or 718-210-3010.
A successful photography project with fifth graders from Brooklyn Public School 230, sponsored by the Historic Fund. Students were given disposable cameras and a photography lesson, then photographed architecture, landscapes and wildlife at Green-Wood. An exhibit of the students’ work was presented to parents and the community.
“The Stories Never End”
At Green-Wood Cemetery, organized crime boss Johnny Torrio (1882-1957) stepped from behind his mausoleum, waving a cigar, to set visitors straight about his protege, Al Capone. Henry Chadwick (1824-1908) leaned back against a tree and chuckled.
Chadwick, dubbed “The Father of Baseball” by Theodore Roosevelt for creating the baseball scoring system and box score, as well as enduring baseball phrases such as “double play,” “base hit” and “grand slam,” handed out packets of peanuts and Cracker Jack and led the audience in a joyful rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Torrio and Chadwick were just two of the 20 lives remembered and portrayed by middle-school students from the Holy Name of Jesus School in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, in The Stories Never End, The Love Never Dies, a live interactive performance/ history tour which took place at Green-Wood for four performances this past May.
The students, members of the Aquinas Circle, an academic honors program, researched over 50 of Green-Wood’s most colorful characters, learning both American history and how to utilize an outdoor space such as Green-Wood as a performance venue. According to Thomas Callahan, moderator of the Aquinas Circle, “My students were inspired by Green-Wood and dearly wanted to do a community service project to support its historic preservation mission.”
After attending a professional training session for educators led by The Historic Fund’s Education and Outreach Coordinator Steve Estroff, Callahan approached Estroff with enthusiasm to create a project and shared research papers his students had written on Green-Wood and its history. Impressed by the students’ level of scholarship, Estroff held several meetings with Callahan and his class and soon The Stories Never End took shape. “Green-Wood is unbelievably rich in stories, symbolism and beauty,” says Estroff, “so what better way for students to learn history than by interpreting those stories through live perfor-mance?”
Developed as an open-ended theater workshop, students were encouraged to develop their own scripts and performance styles over a six-month period. The aim was to create a playful and joyful tribute to the famous and infamous souls buried at Green-Wood, from DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), United States senator, New York City mayor and New York governor to George C. Tilyou (1862-1914), founder of Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park.
The passion, sacrifice and struggle of people living through the Civil War was brought vividly alive for students from Brooklyn’s P.S. 230. Introduced to New York’s crucial role in the Civil War through visits to Green-Wood’s Civil War Soldiers’ Monument (erected in 1869), the students’ experience deepened this spring when they got the opportunity to work side by side with staff educators, historians and Green-Wood’s grounds crew at the site of The Civil War Project.
“Green-Wood is a remarkable place for educators and students,” said Cynthia Grant, teacher at P.S. 230. “Exposing my students to history through the vast resources here engages and inspires them in a way they’ll never forget.”