Bring History To Life: Field Trip Ideas for Homeschoolers

Galveston is a rich environment to teach homeschool kids about Texas history firsthand.

With a visit to Galveston, the classroom moves out of your house and brings history to life in the places that it happened. And you don’t even need to officially homeschool your children to make the most of the historical locations that you will find in Galveston. This curriculum also works to enhance a vacation or field trip to Galveston, making it more educational.

kid at seaport museum

pictured: 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

Historical Places

Galveston has one of the oldest and richest histories of anywhere in the United States.

Some of the nicknames it is has been known for include, “The Wall Street of the South,” the “Ellis Island of the South” and even the “Republic of Galveston” for its many different eras.

From the Native Americans who made Galveston their home when the Europeans landed in North America in 1528, to when the French claimed it in the 1600s and named it St. Louis, to when it was charted as Galveston Bay on July 23, 1786, by Jose de Evia for Spanish colonial governor and general Bernardo de Gálvez, Galveston has a rich heritage.

Before Your Visit

During Your Visit

  • Visit the places you choose and complete the worksheets and discussions, where available.
  • Take photos and video to document your visit that can be used for projects after your visit.

After Your Visit

Immigration Experiences

The Port of Galveston is the second biggest immigrant ports of the 19th and 20th centuries. An estimated 300,000 immigrants entered the U.S. through the Port of Galveston between 1846-1948.

The U.S. government chose Galveston over New Orleans as the ‘new’ Federal Immigration Station in 1906. However, it was never fully realized. A scaled down version was operational by 1913, but it was damaged by hurricane winds in 1915.

Unrestricted entry ended in 1875. Immigrants entered Galveston through Pier 29.

Before Your Visit

Conduct some online research about the immigration that occurred through the Port of Galveston:

During Your Visit

  • Visit the Galveston Historic Seaport at Pier 21 and see the exhibition about the immigrants who entered through the port.
  • Use the database located in the museum to look up people who may have come through the port. Ask the museum staff for a demonstration of the database. Use some of the names from the story in the Houston Chronicle.
  • Visit Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, which served as a former immigration station. There is no formal exhibit, but you can stand where people arrived. The park is also home to tourist attractions, including the WWII submarine the USS Cavalla and one of only three destroyer escorts in the world, the USS Stewart. The remains of the WWI tanker S.S. Selma, the largest concrete ship constructed, can be seen northwest of the park’s fishing pier.

After Your Visit

  • Write a story about what it might have been like to be an immigrant through the Port of Galveston or write an article as if you were a reporter from that time covering immigration.
A historic photograph showing 1900 storm damage in Galveston, TX, including downed telephone polls and destroyed buildings.
The Great Storm

The hurricane that made landfall on Galveston Island on Sept. 8, 1900, is still considered one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people lost their lives. More than 6,000 of those were from Galveston Island.

Photo courtesy of Rosenberg Library

The unnamed storm would have been classified today as a Category 4 hurricane. But despite the destruction, the Galveston survivors immediately began rebuilding.

Clara Barton and the Red Cross helped establish an orphanage for the victims of the storm; they also helped obtain lumber and materials to rebuild homes.

Before Your Visit

Conduct some online research about the immigration that occurred through the Port of Galveston:

During Your Visit

  • Visit the exhibit about the storm at the Rosenberg Library.
  • Visit the 1900 Storm Memorial.

After Your Visit

  • Write a fictional first-person account of what it was like to survive The Great Storm of 1900 from the viewpoint of a kid your age.
  • Write an article as if you were a journalist at the time of The Great Storm of 1900.
1900 storm memorial
The 1900 Storm Memorial

Activity Sheets

Students will learn more about their visit to Galveston with these activity sheets. They are designed to be used before, during and after their visits to various locations, as noted below.

Each of these activity sheets is a PDF download that requires the freely available Adobe reader on your computer, or another PDF reader of your choice. Please print for personal use only.

List of Downloads:

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