School Programs: Portrayals & Workshops

Stimulating Thought…Sparking Curiosity


Farm Girl on the Front Lines: Deborah Sampson's Secret

How this humble heroine hoodwink the Continental Army!

Students dive into the secrets of Massachusetts heroine and mistress-of-disguise Deborah Sampson, (aka Samson) as she  tells her one-of-a-kind story. Deborah is the only woman known to have disguised herself as a man and served in the Continental Army without detection. Riveted by her story, children learn details their Colonial heritage that re-enforce and complement textbook information; they also meet someone who leveraged her inner resources (respect, persistence, kindness etc.) to achieve her dream!

Raised as an indentured served in Middleborough,this self-educated young patriot taught school without ever having attended school) and worked as a weaver, all the while dreaming of becoming a soldier; she developed a plan that made this dream a reality. Children see that with hard work and qualities such as determination, resourcefulness and patience it is possible to achieve even seemingly unattainable goals.  What worked for Deborah can work for them!

Topics include 

  • Deborah's childhood as an indentured servant
  • Restrictions placed on Colonial girls
  • Her first plan, failure, revised plan, and success!
  • Her (elite, dangerous ) position in the Army
  • Her #1 job! Keeping her secret!
  • Close calls and her famous injury
  • The secret's out!
  • Marriage and life as a farmer's wife in Sharon , MA
  • Another "first"!

Deborah's story dispels many of the myths that circulate about her and places her in relief against a backdrop of traditional Colonial culture. Peppered with props and period games, this interactive performance tells the story behind this famous principled deception and reveals the character of the quiet rebel who pulled it off. The students can volunteer to get "into the act" by being the town crier, playing a period game, reading a tongue twister or Colonial-Schoolhouse Rules!  45- minute performance


Also available: Deborah Sampson's 2nd Secret! Children learn the power of RESPECT and how it helped Deborah realize her dream READ MORE  


The War of 1812: Dolley Tells All!

A spotlighting on this overshadowed War that shaped America's story

Swept in by the intrigue and drama of Washington on fire, high-seas heroics and a wooden ship nicknamed Old Ironsides, students gain insight into the War of 1812 and the way it shaped our country's growth. Students also learn about a lesser-known Presidential couple, James and Dolley Madison. As President James declared the War, the knowledgeable Mrs.Madison delves into topics such as the following:

  • Dolley's Quaker childhood, how she and James viewed slavery
  • Why the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation
  • Reasons President Madison felt forced to declare war; simmering problems from the Revolutionary War
  • The Embargo Act and its unintended consequences
  •  U.S. lack of preparedness and resources to fight an empire
  • Why 2,000 American Indians sided with the enemy!
  • The burning/restoration of Washington
  • Battle heroics
  • The writing of our National Anthem
  • Why this is a war without an official victor

Students become part of the performance as volunteers come on stage to play a period game, read a period tongue twister etc. They learn about a war that the textbooks largely ignore but had a significant influence on  practices and policies that shaped our government as we know it today.



1.) Writing Workshops are tailored to support the Writing Standards for audience grade level. The workshops help develop writing skills such as descriptive writing, engaging openings and endings that leave readers wanting more!

2.) Wax Museum/Living Biographies Workshop: students learn simple storytelling techniques that alleviate anxiety and stimulate   creativity, Students portray their characters more comfortably, creatively and  convincingly. Visitors are impressed with the quality of the presentations! Read more…

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