Traveling Trunks

An exciting and unique offering of Governors Island National Monument is our Traveling Trunks program! These trunks combine specialized lesson plans with activities and touch objects that bring the history of Governors Island, and subsequently that of New York City, to life. There are two trunks available to be sent out: one that meets a 4th grade curriculum, the other that meets a 7th grade curriculum.

The 4th grade trunk is centered on the idea that Governors Island is a national treasure and how the stories of local people, places, and events involving the island contributed to national history. The focus is mainly on the pre-colonial and colonial life of the island including the Lenape Indians and later the relationship between these indigenous peoples and the Dutch. The lessons wrap up with a look at the role Governors Island played in colonial New York and the revolution which gave us our freedom. We are also piloting a lesson on the Lenape Indians and their community on Governors Island that is available to be sent out on its own.

The 7th grade trunk takes the ideas of the fourth grade trunk and expands them for a more advanced audience. The students are taken through the entire history of the island, from Native American's first encounter with Dutch settlers to the Coast Guard years (1609-1996). Students are also given the opportunity not only to work with the objects in the trunk, but work directly on analyzing first-hand accounts from the island.

If you would like more information on our Travelling Trunk program, please contact Rebecca Lofgren at:


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  • Governors Island National Monument

    Middle School Traveling Trunks

    Middle school trunk contents

    Packed with lesson plans, primary source documents, recreation artifacts, movies, and more, our Traveling Trunks are a ready-made and easy way to make New York City and U.S. history tangible to students.

    Traveling Trunk
    Grade level:
    Seventh Grade-Eighth Grade
    American Indian History and Culture, History, Military and Wartime History