In an effort to bring the true story of spirit, purity of purpose and steadfastness of will of the Mayflower ancestors to today’s youth, each year the State Society completely funds classroom visits to elementary schools in the Commonwealth by museum instructors from the 1627 living history museum, Plimoth Plantation of Plymouth, Massachusetts. A number of schools have been selected for these visits in the Greater Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh areas with approximately 15,000 third through sixth graders sharing in this experience in the past six years. Museum instructors in the persona of one of the 1627 residents of the Plymouth Colony visit the classes in authentic costume, speaking the 17th century dialect of the English shire from which they originated, and with the knowledge of only what has transpired up to 1627. Each teacher of the class to be visited determines whether the subject will be the trip over on the Mayflower or day to day life in the Plymouth Colony. High on the agenda of each program is a lesson in traditional English civility and the demonstration of proper respect to others.
The instructor will select a boy and girl to play his or her siblings and then choose another boy and girl to aid them in donning 17th century children's clothing. The second couple then play roles of the Pilgrim’s father and mother. Very quickly a family's typical day in the early settlement unfolds with morning chores followed by a breaking of the fast, planting corn, and a description of other duties. The effect of primogeniture on the siblings, the early settlement’s reliance on the native people for help, and the education of children in a school-less settlement are also discussed. Inner-city school children experiencing the visits have indicated that they can identify with the immigrant Mayflower passengers. Following the visits, the students often send letters, art work or poems to their Pilgrim. Often the same schools participate in the program annually.
What did the students think about their interactions with the Pilgrim interrupters?
Classroom Visit Responses
Have you been to Plimoth Plantation, or had a classroom visit from a Pilgrim? E-mail us your Pilgrim or Mayflower stories, poems, photos, and art work for this site. We can't promise to print everything, but we will try. Don't forget to include your name, school name, town/city, state and your grade.
Price Elementary School, Lancaster, PA; April 1999
From kids in Mr. Wytovich's 5th grade at Price Elementary School, Lancaster, PA following the April 1999, classroom visit by "Goodman George Soule," a museum instructor from Plimoth Plantation in early 17th century clothing who spoke in the dialect of the period.
Dear Goodman Soule,
Thank you, you probably were obligated to do this, this is your first city school visit, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot from you.
I think on my next family vacation (that is where you go somewhere with your family for about a week), I'll suggest to my mother and father that we should go to Plymouth!
I hope you enjoyed your stay at our school. You probably saw all those different machines with food or candy in them. They're called snack vendors!We all hope you can come back sometime again this year and bring Zachariah, and your wife, Mary!
Hope to see you again, Brittany
Dear Goodman Soule,
I thank you very much for coming to our class. I think it was funny when you had Cassy and Dwight dress up in those clothes.
I really liked the stuff you had and the dry fish. The cup was nice but why does it have three handles? I love how you dressed. The boat that you drew was nice. I had a fun time. Now, I know you really lived and how hard it must have been.
I thank you very much. I hope you will do it again another time.
Your Pilgrim friend,
Dear Mistress Sandish,
Thank you for coming to our school in your spare time. I really enjoy learing more about how Pilgrims used to live and how hard it was to lie in the new land. I learned that it was hard to live in the new land with wolves outside your guard fence at night to eat your food, your child runing to the fire, and doing more work than we do. I thank you for coming to our school and I hope the next 5th graders enjoy this too.
Dear Mistres Standish,
Thank you for coming to my school. I like the part when my friend Ed could not fit the shirt. It was funny when Asheley put on the child's dress. I also liked the pot you made and the doll. You brought a lot of stuff that we saw.
I learned that some Pilgrims read books not only a Bible. I also learned Pilgrim trade and they do not fight with Indians. I did not know in winter there was no working. Thank you for coming. I wish we could see you again some day.
Dear Mistress Standish,
Thank you for coming to our school. I hope you had a good time, mistress Standish, All of my class thank you for coming to our class.
I learned that is not easy be a pilgrim. It is a lot of work being a Pilgrim. I learned you made a lot of things.
So I hope you had a good time.
P.S. Come back to our school in the future.
Dear Mistress Standish,
I had fun watching my friend being King James.
I learned that King James was a mean King. He should have to be throw out of being King. Well thanks again for coming.
Dear Goodman Soule,
Thank you Goodman Soul. You did a very good presentation. We learned lots of stuff. Did you really wear a dress when you were 5 and under?
I learned that only 2 people died on the Mayflower because I thought half the people died. I learned you ate hard food, too. Blah!
Dear Mistess Standish,
Thank you for coming to our school. it was very nice of you to come. It was very fun and interesting. I like you accent and your clothes.
I learned a lot of stuff like, what kind of games Pilgrims played, what they eat, what kind of music they listened to and how they dance. I have to go now but thank you for coming.
Mrs. Marko's 4 and 5th Intermediate Classes
From kids in Mrs. Marko's 4th and 5th Intermediate classes at Price Elementary School, Lancaster, PA following the April 1999, classroom visit by "Goodman George Soule," a museum instructor from Plimoth Plantation in early 17th century clothing who spoke in the dialect of the period.
Pilgrims Come to School
Today, a Pilgrim came to school.
He told us about the Pilgrim rules.
They sailed on a boat called the Mayflower.
On this boat there were no showers.
At the bottom is where they stayed.
While they were sailing on the bay.
To go to Virginia is what they wanted
But they landed on Plymouth Rock and grunted.
Little houses they had instead. With teeny, tiny beds.
Half of the Pilgrim people died and all the rest cried.
Some of the Pilgrims lived happy lives and had happy wives.
Pilgrims are tall. Pilgrims are small.
Pilgrim girls have valuable dolls.
They make their clothes out of animal skins.
The eat dry bread and fish.
To be a Pilgrim, I would not wish.
Can You Take Me to Plimouth Plantation!
Mom! Have you ever seen a pilgrim. I did. You can too. Take me to Plimouth Plantation in Massachusetts.
I would like to go ask questions and see what it was like in the 1600's.
My class and I watched a few videos about the pilgrim days but we want to know more. There was even a pilgrim that came to our class.
I want to know more. That's why I want a vacation to see The Plimouth Plantation in Massachusetts.
All About a Pilgrim
There was a Pilgrim who came to our school.
He told us about the Pilgrims' rules.
Pilgrims dress differently than we do.
But, their clothes are very fancy, too.
The Pilgrims eat clams and lobsters.
If you commit a crime, they'll get the police officers.
When Pilgrim boys are young, they have to wear gowns.
If I were a Pilgrim boy, I would wear a frown.
The ate dry food on the Mayflower.
None of them took a shower.
Squanto was one of their Indian friends.
It was like he was a Pilgrim man.
"Have you ever seen a pilgrim." "Well I did"
In school a pilgrim came to visit us. The life of pilgrims are very interesting. The pilgrim that came was a women. She brought stuff that they have in Plimoth Plantation. "Guess what" the pilgrim eats out of medal plates. "Only the men." The women eat out of a wooden shaped square. It has a circle, its very little, that's to put salt.
Kids in my class asked the pilgrim if they had T.V. or a radio, but she said "I never herd of it." "Well as I was saying I am asking you this because I would like to go there for Vacation." This place is in Massachusetts. "It is a big big village." They have a very different life. they have different stuff. "Mom" you know that we are in the year "200" Over in Plimoth plantation they think of it as the 1600s. I think it is very interesting. "I would like to see her again."
Loomis Elementary School Newtown Square, PA; April 2000
Goodwife Frances Palmer, wife of Goodman William Palmer who came on the Fortune in 1621, visited this class.
Thank you very much for visiting Loomis and sharing with us lots of neat facts about your life in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was exciting and interesting.
I know a lot more about Pilgrims now, how you differ from us and how you are alike us. It was a hard life for you and you seemed to stick to it and accomplish your dreams! Thank you for sharing your accomplishments with us. It was cool to see 21st Century kids dressed up as people in the 1600’s. I think our kids today should be a little more hard working and respectful!.
Dear Goodman Soule,
I am very thankful for you coming all the way from Plimoth Plantation, to teach me about the past.
I have learned many new things like when you told us about the fence made out of trees. Also when you told us when your houses were made out of clay, timber, and cat tails. Another thing you taught me was if you were under 16 you were not allowed to set at the dinner table. I did not know your main crop was corn. Also you taught me, that the higher you are the more you respect. For instance if the king came you would go on your knee but if it was your older sister you would only would take off your hat for respect.
I thank you again!