Despite being closed to the public due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are working to serve you online and in partnership with other institutions. We anticipate a major decline in revenue at this time. Support our mission by making a contribution at eriecanalmuseum.org/support.
Educational resources for use in the classroom and at home, available any time.
Find educational resources and classroom activities for use before and after a Museum field trip in the file below. If you plan to visit the Erie Canal Museum online or in person, we suggest you download and use this helpful document!
Downloadable coloring sheets
Download and print our coloring sheets for your students or family. Each sheet includes interesting facts about the Erie Canal. Click the link below to access these activity sheets.
Virtual tour of the Erie Canal Museum
Click the image below to take an eight-minute guided tour of the Erie Canal Museum. Check our YouTube channel in the coming weeks for more educational videos!
Student projects: The Erie Canal and the Industrial Revolution
Click this link for two pages of student activities related to the Erie Canal and the Industrial Revolution. These activities are appropriate for any student who has studied or is studying the Canal’s economic and political origins, its construction, its impact on society, and its connection to the Industrial Revolution. We are very grateful to Rebecca Stephens, a seventh-grade social studies teacher in the Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District near Syracuse, New York, for developing and sharing these activities. Ms. Stephens developed them over the past several years as part of an innovative and engaging week-long Erie Canal unit. She serves on the Erie Canal Museum’s Teacher Advisory Board, and has also lent her expertise to Mount Vernon and the National Constitution Center.
The Transforming Effects of the Erie Canal: A Virtual Lesson
Museum Educator Derrick Pratt created this lesson using primary documents from the digital collections of the Erie Canal Museum and the Canal Society of New York. The lesson includes links to nine documents and a set of questions about each. Students may download the question sheet as a PDF or Word document. Each document number is a link to the document and information about it. The lesson also includes an essay question and some helpful websites.
Baking Oliver Wendell Petrie’s Erie Canal Brownies: A Fun Lesson
In the 1930s, Oswego, New York native Oliver Wendell Petrie went to work as a cook on an oil tanker that traveled between Chicago and New York City using the Erie and Oswego canals. Thanks to Petrie’s family, the Museum archives contain a number of his personal items, including his recipe book. These items offer an interesting look into the life of a worker on New York’s 20th century canals. Learn more about Petrie by reading The Life and Times of a Canal Boat Cook by Museum Educator Derrick Pratt.
We have also created a fun lesson plan using Mr. Petrie’s brownie recipe. Teach New York State and Canal history, basic math, and other subjects while baking a batch of brownies! Click here to download the lesson plan, ingredient cards, and recipe. Enjoy!
Social Studies Lesson Plans and Activities for Elementary and Middle School
When the COVID-19 crisis forced schools to close, public broadcaster WCNY and the Syracuse City School District created the TV Classroom network to provide educational content to area students. We participated in this project with a class about the Erie Canal, which can be viewed by clicking this link: WCNY Erie Canal Lesson. We’re pleased to offer the lessons and activities that accompany this class below.
Mapping New York and the Erie Canal is a downloadable PDF created for middle school students. Erie Canal mapping Activity grades 3-5 and Erie Canal coloring page activity for grades K-2 are on the Seesaw application.
Interested in learning more about the Erie Canal and its history? Visit the page below!
Visit the page below to learn more about the 1850 National Register Syracuse Weighlock Building. It’s the Museum’s most important artifact, and the only one of its kind in the country.
More activities and lesson plans will be added to this page soon, so be sure to check back often!