For Educators


Program Objectives

  1. Students should understand the importance of the CSS Neuse and how its story fits into the overall story of the Civil War in eastern North Carolina.
  2. Students should understand the importance of the technological advancements of the mid-nineteenth century in regards to the advent of rifled artillery and ironclad development.
  3. Students should have a basic understanding of shipbuilding practices and the efforts it took to build the CSS Neuse.
  4. Students should have a clear understanding of what life was like in Kinston, North Carolina during the Civil War for the soldiers and sailors stationed there, as well as for the civilians living in this area.

Pre-Visit Activities

  1. In order to make the most effective use of the time your students have on-site, teachers should make arrangements to have their class view the CSS Neuse orientation program prior to their arrival. This will not only give your students important historical information ahead of their visit but will also allow time for more hands-on experience at the site. Please go to our YouTube channel to view our site orientation film.  
  2. Teachers may use the Supplemental Lesson Plan: Life Onboard an Ironclad as a pre-visit activity or as a stand-alone classroom lesson. Classes preparing for a field trip to the site should familiarize themselves with the two diagrams of the ship found in this lesson and the Glossary of Terms prior to their visit.

On-Site Activities

All classes will take the tour of the remains of the CSS Neuse. Teachers may select two or three of the remaining educational programming activities depending on the amount of time they have to spend at the site. Please allow time for bathroom breaks, gift shop sales and transition from station to station in your planning. Every effort will be made to satisfy your requests. However, staff reserves the right to alter planned programming due to inclement weather or unanticipated staff shortages.

The core on-site program lasts 1.5 hours, and consists of four components:

  1. CSS Neuse Orientation Film – This film is 12 minutes and gives an overview of the history of the CSS Neuse from design and construction through the recovery in the 1960s.
  2. Tour of the remains of the CSS Neuse and Temporary Exhibits– Students will delve further into the history of the ship by learning about the crew who served onboard, seeing the artifacts recovered from the remains, and hearing about its role in the war. (Approximate length: 45 minutes).

In addition to a tour, teachers will have an opportunity to pick two STEM based activities from the list below:

1) Soldier life (discuss the items a soldier would carry into battle and explore the differences in land and water battles)

2) Sailor life and rope making (learn about life on the CSS Neuse and how to make rope)

3) Civil War medicine, diseases, and hygiene (critique 19th century medical/sanitation standards compared to 21st century standards) (explore African Americans and women who contributed to the medical field)

4) 19th Century toys, games and amusements (discover the items families and sailors used to entertain themselves in the 19th century)

5) Shipbuilding (demonstrate your knowledge of buoyancy by creating your own boat, and see if it will float a penny)

6) Espionage (analyze and apply methods men and women used to code and decode messages during the Civil War)

7) Textiles (discover how clothes were created and compare them to today's methods)

8) Archaeology (learn and apply basic ‎stratigraphy concepts through a hands on activity)

Classroom and Post-Visit Activities

The site offers two traveling trunks for educators to check out and use in thier classroom if they are unable to visit the site. The two trunks the site offers are a naval and homefront traveling trunk. There is a $25.00 cash or check deposit required to reserve a trunk and they can checked out for up to two weeks. Supplementatl lesson plans, activities, and reproduction items come in each trunk. 

The Supplemental Lesson Plan: Life Onboard an Ironclad can be used as a post-visit activity.
Have students take the Post-Visit Quiz to assess their comprehension of the information shared at the site.

The day after your tour, museum staff will email you a link to an online survey. This quick questionnaire will provide us your feedback and help us learn more about your visit and improve our services. Your responses are very important to us so please take a moment to complete the questionnaire when it arrives and encourage your fellow teachers to do the same.