John Jay Homestead State Historic Site

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John Jay Homestead State Historic Site invites you and your class to learn about the life of Founding Father John Jay and to explore the exciting times in which he lived. The historic house has been restored to look as it did during John Jay's lifetime. Students get a first-hand look at the changing nature of everyday life by comparing today's lifestyles with those of Jay's era. A variety of programs allow teachers to select visits or outreach programs that complement and coincide with their own curriculum. All age groups use the house and furnishings as a resource to develop enthusiasm for the past and an understanding of the founding of the United States.

John Jay Homestead has developed all education programs to meet current State and Common Core curriculum standards. These programs encourage students to use the critical thinking skills of a historian or social scientist by requiring them to read, analyze, apply, synthesize and evaluate historical information.

The education staff will work with teachers to design programs around specific curriculum needs such as Document Based Questions.

  • What about the cost?
    The fee for an on-site visit is $2.00 or $3.00 per student depending on the program. All of our programs can be done either on-site or in the classroom. These programs have been made possible in part through contributions from Friends of John Jay Homestead, Inc. The Margaret Mayo-Smith Bus Fund provides funding for transportation to the site for schools that demonstrate need.
  • When can we schedule a visit?
    Please visit the Availability Calendar to view when John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is available.
  • Do we offer an Outreach Program?
    Yes, we do. Our outreach program is a flat fee of $50.00 per class. All of our programs can be done in the classroom. Please call Bethany White, our Education Coordinator, at 914.232.5651 ext 101 or email at bethany.white@oprhp.state.ny.us for more information on the Outreach Program.

    Grades K-4

    Then and Now: This program allows students to compare and contrast their everyday life with the way the Jay family lived here in the early 1800's. By looking at objects such as chamber pots and open hearth toasters, students become historic detectives using their analytical skills to determine the objects purpose. Students are also asked to look at items in the home and try to "guess" their modern equivalents, (e.g. the mortar and pestle is the colonial version of the blender). As well as the tour of the home, students discuss the difference in urban/rural/suburban locations. Finally, students will participate in colonial games as well as making a colonial craft they can take home with them.

    Grades K-12

    John Jay's Farm: This program utilizes the historic structures on the property as well as a series of maps to discuss the evolution of agriculture and how technological advances affected the industry.

    Grades 4-8

    John Jay, Revolutionary Spymaster: Why does the CIA have a room at its Liaison Conference Center named after John Jay? Widely celebrated for his political achievements, it is often overlooked that John Jay played an important role in creating a Patriot spy network to help defeat the British during the American Revolution. Students will move through the Homestead learning about New York's defense, the split loyalties of its inhabitants, different spying techniques and historical anecdotes about important political figures.

    Grades 6-12

    John Jay and the Constitution: What's the difference between a President and a King? What are taxes for? What did the Constitution say about slavery? What kind of federal government might New Yorkers want, and was that different from, say, residents of frontier states, or states in the South? Why was it so important that New York ratify the Constitution, if there were already enough supporting states to make it become law? How much power should states have?

    Moving through the historic house and using objects from our collection and documents from the Jay archives, students will explore how states with very different economies and interests, having just fought a long, expensive and bloody war against a king, agreed to come together and adopt a government with strong powers.

Grades 8-12

Slavery, Slavery and the Jay Family: What is the difference between a servant and a slave? What is the difference between abolition and manumission? Why did many of the Founding Fathers historic house museum and study primary sources, including objects and documents, your students will come to understand John Jay's conflicting attitudes as slave owner and manumission advocate and learn about his son William's role in the abolition movement. They will also learn about the lives of some of the actual servants and slaves who lived at the Homestead. continue to own slaves as they established a new nation where "all men are created equal?" We provide an immersive, hands-on experience that will help your students answer these and other probative questions.

400 Jay Street
Katonah, NY 10536
Mailing Address
PO Box 832
Katonah, NY 10536
Phone: (914) 232-5651
Fax: (914) 232-8085
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John Jay Homestead State Historic Site
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