Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates the critical role of the nation’s first federal armory by preserving and interpreting the world’s largest historic U.S. Military Small Arms Collection, along with historic archives, buildings, and landscapes.
Hours and Locations: The entrance to Springfield Armory NHS is accessible though the main gate of Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), located off of Federal and State Streets. Open 5 days a week, Wednesday though Sunday from 9:30 am to 4pm.
Group Size and Chaperone Requirements: Most programs can be structed to accommodate a group up to 30 students. One adult chaperone is required for every 15 students. We required that teachers and chaperones be prepared to engage with students through the visit and responsible for managing student behavior during your visit as needed. This will ensure a pleasant experience for all.
Single Day Programs (a combination of these programs can be selected for your visit to the Armory). Please note how programs can be offered; some can be offered in person at the Armory or at your school and some can be done remotely via a digital platform.
Introduction to Springfield Armory (Grades 3-12) Students will learn about the 174-year history of weapons manufacturing that took place at Springfield Armory by watching the park’s documentary film in the museum theater. Craftsmen in period clothing are shown in actual stages of production including hand forging the barrel and shaping the gunstock on the Blanchard lathe. Students in turn will comprehend how the development of Springfield weapons affected soldiers in battle. This film is also on our YouTube Channel, Springfield Armory NHS. (20 minutes)
Shifting the Manufacturing Process (Grades 3-6) Springfield Armory was a site of technological innovation that revolutionized how products were made. A shift in labor, specialization in product production, interchangeable parts, and mass production are topics that will be explored as students learn about production at the Armory. Students will work in a mock assembly line making a Lyle Gun to understand the changes between hand craft production to machine and mass production. This program can be done in person at the Armory or at your school. (40 minutes)
Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map! (Grades 5-8) Unleash your students’ creative side with cartography. In this hands-on program, students will read a primary source account of the 1777 decision to locate the Nation’s first armory in Springfield, Massachusetts and take note of the physical and natural resources described within. Using craft materials and found objects, students will then take on the role of mapmakers as they work in small groups to create an early map of Springfield based on their interpretation of the reading. This program can be done in person at the Armory or at your school. (40 minutes)
Immigration: Diversity at the Armory (Grades 4-12) Students use their own family histories to track the immigration patterns of their class, explore the reasons behind immigration, and evaluate the pros and cons of leaving one’s home. Students will refer back to these concepts as they explore immigrants that worked at Springfield Armory. This program can be done in person at the Armory or at your school. (40 minutes)
Evolution of Springfield Firearms (Grades 5-12) See history come alive while learning about the technological advancements of the weapons once manufactured at Springfield Armory. Using historic artifacts, students study Springfield rifles with a Park Ranger and learn how they worked to better understand how the evolution of these weapons changed the face of war. This presentation can be done in person at the Armory or remotely via a digital platform. (40 minutes)
Blank Firing Demonstration (All Grade Levels) Rangers dazzle students with a blank firing demonstration of Springfield Armory’s historic black powder weapons. Demonstration highlights the percussion rifle musket of the Civil War. This program is only offered at the Armory. (Availability depends on staffing - 20 minutes) * Available April through October only.
Manufacturing A Civil War Lock Plate (Grades 7-12) The Springfield Armory produced over 800,000 rifle muskets for the Union Army throughout the Civil War. Students take on the role of armory workers and inspectors in a mock Armory production shop of the period. They will work in teams to measure out and create a paper version of the lock plates that armory workers produced for the U.S. Springfield Model 1863 Rifle Musket. Students will then test their skills as armorers through a final inspection in the machine shop. This program can be done in person at the Armory or at your school. (50 minutes)
An Investigation of Shay’s Rebellion (Grades 6-9) Shays Rebellion was a defining moment under the Articles of Confederation and showed how weak the current system of government was after the American Revolution. It ultimately was a factor that led to the Constructional Convention that led to the drafting of the United States Constitution. Through a simulation, students will explore the causes and different perspectives of the rebellion and put on a mock trial to determine who was at fault. This program can be done in person at the Armory, at your school, or remotely with teacher assistance. (45 minutes)
Jobs at Springfield Armory (Grades 6-8) What type of jobs did people have at Springfield Armory and what were the job qualifications? Through analysis of primary sources students will describe some of the jobs found at the Armory, explain why working at the Armory was demanding, and complete a sample Civil Service Exam. Students will walk away with an understanding of what it took to be an Armory employee during the early to mid-1900s. This program can be done in person at the Armory, at your school, or independently in your classroom by accessing the digital lesson plan. (90 minutes)
The Women of Springfield Armory (Grades 6-8) World War I and World War II forever changed the life of women as they began to fill the roles left behind by men as they went off to war. Through primary source analysis of photographs and newspapers students will learn about the role women took on at the armory and draw a conclusion about whether the inclusion of women workers at Springfield Armory had a positive or negative impact. This program can be done in person at the Armory, at your school, or independently in your classroom by accessing the digital lesson plan. (90 minutes)
Traveling into History through Photographs (Grades 5-12) Explore the history of Springfield Armory by using critical thinking skills create and examining archival photos to write conclusions about work at the Armory. Photographs cover a variety of topics ranging from WOW’s (Women Ordnance Workers), a shift in technology development, work at the Armory, and life at the Armory. This image analysis can cover a variety of topics depending on your needs. If you register for this program you will need to contact the Education Specialist to determine the topic of analysis. This program can be done in person at the Armory, at your school, or remotely with teacher assistance. (45 minutes)
From Patent Innovation to Invention (Grades 7-12) Explore the world of innovation by looking at historical patents. Though this lesson students will engage in critical thinking skills as learn about patents, develop hypothesis about what the purpose of various patents are, and then design their own patent that works to solve a problem they see in their community, country, or the world. Students will also learn about young individuals who are changing the world through their inventions. This program can be done in person at the Armory, at your school, or remotely with teacher assistance. (1 hour)
Multiday Programs: Springfield Armory NHS is proud to offer two multiday curriculum-based programs. These programs will require teacher assistance in preparing the students for a classroom visit with a pre visit lesson and helping with program implementation.
Civic Engagement (7th and 8th grade) In aligning with the Massachusetts 8th grade Civic Engagement Project*, Springfield Armory has developed a program that examines civic engagement in history through Shays’ Rebellion and makes connections to today. Through this program students will define and examine what civic engagement is, identify their congressional representatives, and use critical thinking skills to begin the creation of their civic action plan. This program requires teacher assistance to lead several of the lessons and to continue working with students to develop their action plan. This program is a blend of onsite time at the Armory, time in the classroom with a Ranger, and independent time in your classroom. (4 to 5 days)
*While designed for Massachusetts 8th grade Civic Engagement Project, this program does meet some Civic Standards for other states.
Innovation, Life, and Work during the Industrial Revolution (The grade level and time commitment vary from lesson to lesson.) Springfield Armory offers a variety of programs* with a focus on the Industrial Revolution, ranging from designing an invention to move items from one location to another, how waterwheels work, women in the Industrial Revolution, key inventions the Industrial Revolution, and more! Explore our Padlet board for these lessons and more.
These lessons can be done in partnership with park rangers or can be completed independently in your own classroom. If you chose any of these lessons to do independently in your classroom, please share your experience with us!
*These lessons were designed by educators who participated in our Professional Development Program From Industrial Revolution to Modern Innovation.
Last updated: August 21, 2021