"A Visit To Yesterday" at the Sands-Willets House

The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society, which is chartered as an educational organization by the New York State Board of Regents, provides extensive educational opportunities to learn about history where it happened. We own and operate the 19-room Sands-Willets House museum (c. 1735-1840) and operate the Thomas Dodge House (c. 1721) on the Mill Pond, both located in Port Washington. Both were built in the colonial era and allow visitors to see how life was lived in earlier times.

“A Visit to Yesterday” is an educational program conducted during school hours at the historic Sands-Willets House Museum with its 11 rooms that are open to the public and its surrounding spacious grounds. Led by a costumed guide, your students take part in our hands-on program which has been designed to show how children lived on Long Island farms in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as how the region was settled and developed. While designed to meet New York State requirements for fourth grade students studying state and local history, the school program can be tailored for other grades in the K- 8 range.  We can accommodate a group of up to 30 children per tour with an adult chaperone for every 4 children.

A description of your day with us:
Upon arrival, students and their adults are greeted in period fashion and are invited to “turn back time” as they are introduced to the families who once lived in our historic home. Interactive participation is encouraged as relevant historical commentary brings the past to life.  Classes are then broken into four groups which work simultaneously, rotating so that each child gets to participate in every activity, some of which will have them:

  • PREPARE food traditionally cooked in the open hearth(class is required to bring some perishable ingredients)
  • CREATE their own period crafts using berry ink and feather quills
  • PLAY colonial games,  learning skills necessary for adulthood
  • DRESS in period fashion
  • LISTEN and appreciate the traditional music which represents our nation’s rich heritage
  • TOUR the fully furnished museum rooms learning about thunder pots, oil lamps and other accoutrements

At the conclusion of the activities and cleaning up, all visitors are invited to enjoy their own brown bagged lunches in a picnic style celebration.  We will provide the blankets for your children to congregate and eat, either on our expansive front lawn area or under the eaves of our amply sized front and side porches if the weather is inclement (please see our Education Policies tab under Education Program tab for our Rain or Shine Weather policy).  The lunch ends on a delicious note when all are invited to taste the “fruits of their labor” by sampling the freshly baked goods that will be served. Take-home packaging is also available.  And be sure to assemble your group safely on our front steps for a group photo which would love to see uploaded to our Facebook page!

So, Friends, we cordially invite you to become part of our community’s living tribute to our rich American Heritage.  Please contact our Director of Education for more details about hours, cost and to book your tour at our Home - today!

Please email us for more information!!!

"Our visit was enjoyed by all the girls, and even the parents. We plan on sharing our experience with other Brownies, and we will be donating our paper quilt to our local library so it may be displayed for everyone to see!" - Brownie Troop # 1422

"Our Tiger Cubs really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot about our history here on Long Island. I do believe the high point for most of them was making the apple pie! We will be sure to tell the other groups in our Pack about our wonderful experience."  - Cub Scouts Pack #8

If any of our Education Programs interest you - or if you would like to inquire about an CNPHS Educational Visit to your school or civic organization -  please contact our Director of Education, Carole McDonald by telephone at 410.365.9074 or by email at  

To see what groups have visited us recently, click here!

Kidsday August 2014 Picasa

The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society
336 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, NY 11050-4530
(516) 365-9074  .