Field Trips

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 regarding 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.

Virtual Education

We have created a Google Classroom to allow students and families to explore the CSS Neuse Museum and the Civil War in eastern North Carolina. The classroom features a tour of the museum, information on the CSS Neuse, shipbuilding, primary source analysis, soldier and sailor life, rations, economics, female spies, diseases, and change over time. 

This resource is free and includes materials and activities that support multiple North Carolina Essential Standards! Register here for access to our Google Classroom. Please contact Rachel at 252-526-9600 ext. 222 with any questions. Look here for the NC Essential Standards our activities meet.  

Virtual Field Trip

CSS Neuse staff members have been working hard to create new virtual field trip programs for K-12 students! These programs will last about 45 minutes and encourage students to think critically about the past. Using Zoom, students will have the opportunity to discover the story of the CSS Neuse ironclad and the Civil War in eastern North Carolina, while engaging in one or two interactive activities. These programs meet several NC Essential Standards for Social Studies for all grade levels.

View our field trip brochure here.

Using Zoom, we will also be offering educators an opportunity for students to ask a historian any questions they may have about the Civil War. Examples of topics include steam engines, weapons, flags, spring of 1865, and more!

Virtual field trips are FREE and must be scheduled at least one week in advance.

Our field trip programs utilize Zoom. Students will need internet access and either a computer, tablet, or phone to join the field trip.

At most, we can accommodate approximately 40 students during one virtual visit. However, we recommend groups of 30 or less per scheduled visit to ensure the best experience.

You may schedule a virtual field trip Tuesday-Friday between 10am and 2pm. However, this availability is affected by staff schedules and other external factors as we navigate COVID-19 restrictions.

We also have several educational videos on our YouTube channel here.

You can book a virtual field trip by contacting our Program Coordinator, Rachel Kennedy, at rachel.kennedy@ncdcr.gov. We look forward to meeting your students virtually!

Pre-Visit Activities

  1. To make the most effective use of the time your students have on-site, teachers should plan to have their class view the CSS Neuse orientation film 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 available 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 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) Espionage (analyze and apply methods men and women used to code and decode messages during the Civil War)

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

7) Navigation-learn how 19th Century sailors navigated waterways. 

8) 19th Century toys, games, and amusements- students will discover the items families and sailors used to entertain themselves in the 19th century.

9) Shipbuilding- students will demonstrate their knowledge of buoyancy by creating their own boat. They will have the opportunity to see if their boat can hold cargo (a penny). 

10) Food Preservation- learn how 19th Century soldiers would keep their rations fresh while on the march. Students will also learn about preserving food on the homefront (chemistry). 

11) Textiles- discover how clothes were created and dyed during the 19th century and compare them to today's methods.

12)  Blockade Running & the Economy- learn how blockade running impacted the Southern economy during the Civil War. 

Classroom and Post-Visit Activities

The site offers two traveling trunks for educators to check out and use in their 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 check out for up to two weeks. Supplemental lesson plans, activities, and reproduction items come in each trunk. 

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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.

Here is a link to an online survey about your visit to the museum. This quick questionnaire will provide us with feedback and help us learn more about your visit, to improve our services.