2024 Summer Discovery Program

For the last six years, the New London County Historical Society has partnered with The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of New London County, CT to host a fun and exciting summer program for kids at the Shaw Mansion.

This year forty students from across New London County will come to the historic Shaw Mansion to participate in our Summer Discovery Program. Our program allows children to choose the topic they wish to pursue, Ancestry, Archeology, or Natural History. Our collection is ideal for instructing children the methods to uncover their personal history. Connecting our students to their past and demonstrating how their story matters to our present is a powerful way to encourage children to learn about our history. Our other topics are presented using our garden. Students participate in an active archeological dig to uncover historical artifacts, and use our collection to curate their discoveries. This type of inquiry allows the students to contrast their lives with the lives of their contemporaries in the past. Additionally they also use the garden to hone their observation and reporting skills by becoming Naturalists. Each student observes the plants in our garden, and the animals which visit. Our educators instruct them in how to identify these things so they may report in their journals. Additionally, guest lecturers will discuss the history of Southeastern Connecticut, professions in the humanities and sciences. Our program is designed to the diversity of individuals who have contributed to the development of Connecticut, and the opportunity provided by a career in the sciences and humanities.

Our curriculum is designed to immerse students into humanities professions by using a hands on curriculum designed to provide real experience in these professions. In doing so, they examine a diverse demographic in regard to the historiography by connecting them with people of similar socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. We encourage our students to interact with these artifacts to immerse themselves in the subject, learn with more senses, and gain a better understanding of history. From these interactions, children learn how to curate material culture in the same way historians do in their profession.
Each year we strive to make our program multidisciplinary allowing students to develop a more holistic understanding of the world and history. Traditionally, we meet this goal by integrating activities in fields other than history and through guest speakers. Each Monday, the program invites a professional speaker, from a diverse demographic, to discuss practices and careers available to everyone in various fields, especially public history. We will discuss contributions made by women, minorities and Connecticut residents to the history of Southeastern Connecticut.

During the last week of camp, to present their scholarship, students are responsible for curating and installing an exhibit with discovered artifacts and artifacts from our collection. They are responsible for the entire design from artifact selection, to label composition, to installation. At the completion of the summer program, we invite the parents of our students and the community to an opening where the children guide visitors through their exhibit, discuss what they learned, and give a tour of the Shaw Mansion.

Though our program is supported by grant funds, we encourage our members to sponsor a child in the program.  For just $50, you can provide a week of camp to our community youth.  To purchase a campership click HERE.