Freedom Express: Plan Your Visit

Freedom Express Interior Images

Planning a Successful Visit

Visit Day & Onboard Experience

Recommended Lessons & Activities

Planning a Successful Visit

Preparation and follow-up are the keys to any successful museum visit. Each teacher/chaperone who will accompany a group of students onboard the Freedom Express should read this page to find out what a typical school visit is like, how to prepare for the visit, and ways to follow-up on museum learning after the visit. Preparation before and follow-up after the Freedom Express visit day will:
  • Help teachers seamlessly integrate concepts learned during the museum visit to lessons taught in the classroom.
  • Help students learn from the Freedom Express exhibits in a more focused and informed manner.
Preparation & Follow-up Tips
In order to provide students with an enriched museum experience and maximize the time they will have on the Freedom Express, our staff recommends the following tips to teachers:

Pre-Visit Preparation Tips:
  • If possible, visit the Freedom Express at a public Community Visit to preview the exhibits.
  • Review the Freedom Express Supported Learning Outcomes, Standards and Skills Alignment Chart, Museum Map and online Exhibit Guide to help make connections between the exhibit content and your classroom curriculum and to preview the exhibit content.
  • Read about the Visit Day & Onboard Experience to find out what to expect and how student sessions are facilitated by a Museum Educator.
  • Visit our Recommended Lessons & Activities page for pre-visit lessons.
  • Introduce/review the meaning of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment with students.
  • Review the Museum Map with your students to orient them to the interior of the museum and introduce topics they will encounter in each exhibit.
  • Review the online Exhibit Guide with your students before a Freedom Express visit (or to assign older students for homework) for a more in-depth exploration of the exhibit content.
  • Review the Museum Expectations & Rules with your students to maximize their time onboard the Freedom Express.
  • Pair students up prior to the Freedom Express visit day to save time.
  • Check the weather on the visit day to prepare for the walk from the building to the Freedom Express.
Post-Visit Follow-up Tips
Please note, as of September 2012, there is an updated Student Exploration Guide & Educator Guide (v1.6)
  • Most students do not complete the Student Exploration Guide (SEG) during their visit. After the visit, you may break students up into groups according to the exhibits they explored. In a jigsaw format, each group can present what they thought and learned about their assigned exhibit(s).
  • Review the online Exhibit Guide with your students after a Freedom Express visit (or assign to older students for homework) to help expand upon the museum experience.
  • Visit our Recommended Lessons & Activities page for follow-up lessons.

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Visit Day & Onboard Experience

Please note, as of September 2012, there is an updated Student Exploration Guide & Educator Guide (v1.6)
Read the following headings to find out what to expect from the moment the Freedom Express arrives until the moment it departs.  The onboard experience consists of a short discussion and orientation led by our Museum Educator who will also provide each student with a Student Exploration Guide (SEG). The SEG contains activities that will help students identify the main messages for each of the 10 interactive exhibits on the Freedom Express.  Students may work in pairs to work through the exhibits using the SEG. Teachers and chaperones can download the Educator Guide to find sample answers to the SEG.

Arrival of the Museum
The Freedom Express arrives 45-60 minutes prior to the beginning of the first scheduled session in order to turn on the exhibits and prepare for the day's visit. Freedom Express staff will notify the front office upon arrival, but will remain with the vehicle for the remainder of the visit.  Thus, classes should arrive for their sessions according to the times designated in the Freedom Express confirmation letter. Although the heating and cooling system maintains a comfortable temperature inside the museum, prepare for the weather during your walk to the parking location. 

Session Structure
Each school visit session lasts 45 minutes. Below is an outline of how the session is structured. To provide each class ample time to interact with the exhibits and work on the Student Exploration Guide (SEG), please arrive at the museum on time.
  • Group Arrival
    • As students initially arrive, they will pick up an SEG & a board to use as a writing surface.
    • Each student only needs to bring a pencil to the museum - there is no storage space for books & bags.
  • Orientation
    • 5-10 minutes (length depends on arrival time and students' familiarity with the First Amendment)
    • Welcome and review of rules by Museum Educator
    • Introductory discussion and explanation of SEG led by Museum Educator
    • Students will be instructed to find a partner and interact with exhibits using the SEG.
  • Interaction with Exhibits
    • 30-35 minutes
    • Student time with exhibits depends on group arrival and departure.
    • Students may move to a different exhibit when they complete the designated SEG activity.
    • In most situations, students will not experience all 10 exhibits, nor will they complete the SEG.
  • Group Departure
    • Students will keep SEGs and return borrowed boards.
Departure of the Museum
Immediately after all sessions are completed, the museum staff will shut off the exhibits, close up the museum and leave the parking location, which takes about 30 minutes. If other school faculty and staff would like to see the Freedom Express, please share the confirmed schedule with these individuals as our staff cannot arrive earlier or stay later than the scheduled session times.

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