Teaching Resources

Bring Your Class to the Freedom Center

Our Museum

At the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center we reveal stories about freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom today.

Through five permanent exhibits, unique programming, presentations and student-focused activities, we reinforce the lessons and themes of our foundation that paved the path to freedom: courage, cooperation and perseverance. Our tours and traveling programs engage your students in lessons on history, government and contemporary social issues that meet state and national curriculum standards and inspire them to apply the lessons of the Underground Railroad in their daily lives.

Let the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center be your teaching partner! We offer a variety of experiences specifically designed for school groups aligned with content standards and benchmarks for both Ohio and National Academic Standards. A visit will unlock American History and excite your students for years to come as we enhance school-based curriculum through interactive learning tours. 

We use the lessons of the Underground Railroad with K-12 curriculum to create lively and engaging docent-led tours that bring learning to life outside of the classroom. Our exhibits and diverse programs help students gain greater connections between the history of institutionalized slavery in America and global modern-day abolition.

Group Information

In order to qualify as a group and receive the group rate, you must have at least 15 guests and schedule at least two weeks in advance. Group visits are available Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.* Payment and final head-count are due two weeks prior to your visit. Your group visit is not confirmed until you have received your confirmation letter. If you do not receive a confirmation letter within 2 business days after scheduling your group, please call (513) 333-7578 or email groupsales@nurfc.org.

If most of your group is 18 and younger, you are considered a school or youth group, and you are on the correct webpage. If most of your group is over the age of 18, you are considered an adult group, and you must click HERE to go to the correct webpage.

*Summer Hours: Group visits can be scheduled on Sundays, between 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day. 

Preview Visit for Group Leaders

Group leaders planning a visit to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center have the option of previewing the museum at no cost. Preview visits allow you to better understand the location, exhibits and help improve the overall group experience. If you’re interested in a preview visit, please call (513) 333-7578 or email groupsales@nurfc.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Group Rate

Students: $7.00
Chaperones: $7.00

We accept credit cards, checks, money orders and purchase orders. Please make your payment out to: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

You can mail your payments to the following address:
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Attn: Group Sales
50 E. Freedom Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Guided & Self-Guided Tours

Guided tours are never guaranteed and are based on the availability of our volunteer docents. Guided tours are offered Tuesday through Friday, at 10:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., and anytime on Saturday (last tour starts at 3:00 p.m.).

Guided tours last approximately two hours and are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Following your guided tour, you are more than welcome to explore the rest of the museum on your own. Self-guided tours are available Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Click HERE to schedule your visit and fill out the online reservation form. 

To speak with a group sales representative, please call (513) 333-7578 or email groupsales@nurfc.org.

Click HERE to download our school/youth group brochure.

Tours

JOURNEY TO FREEDOM TOUR: GRADES K-2 (90 Minutes)

How do you fit into the story? This experience takes students on an interactive journey through the stories of freedom heroes and show how they can make a difference! Students will demonstrate that people can choose to cooperate and the value of perseverance.

Key components of what students will experience:

Aminah Brenda-Lynn Robinson’s RagGonNon
Learn the power of art, stories and helping hands within this complex, three dimensional cloth paintings made from found-objects: fabric, beads, shells, leaves, ties and much more.

Escape! Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad
Where would you go if you were on the Underground Railroad? Who would you meet? Do you have the COURAGE? Take a journey in Henry’s Freedom Box. Step inside the Safe House. Follow the story of Caleb’s Midnight Decision as you find your way to freedom and the importance of helping others. Interact with a historic interpreter to learn about perseverance during slavery, tools you would need to successfully get to freedom and how you can become a modern-day abolitionist today.

Suite for Freedom
A film in three parts that tells the story of From Slavery to Freedom in artistic animation. 

Historic Interpreter
Students learn about the significance of the Ohio River and its relationship with the Underground Railroad. Singing songs and hearing stores will help students to learn about perseverance during slavery, tools needed to successfully get to freedom and how they can become a modern-day abolitionist today. 

THE NORTH STAR TOUR: GRADES 3 & 4 (2 Hours)

What was the Underground Railroad? The Underground Railroad was a term used for the covert network of people and places that assisted fugitive slaves as they escaped from slavery. Learn how this network operated, and the inspirational stories of those who escaped and risked their lives to secure the freedom of others.

Key components students will experience:

Suite for Freedom
A film in three parts that tells the story of From Slavery to Freedom in artistic animation. 

Escape! Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad
What does the Underground Railroad mean to YOU? Who was involved? The North Star experience shares the many conductors and abolitionists of the Underground Railroad and the impact they made in fighting against slavery. Students identify the areas of the Underground Railroad and the operations and methods many used to make it to freedom.

Brothers of the Borderland
This epic film immerses students in a thrilling flight to freedom showcasing the courage and cooperation of John Parker and Reverend John Rankin as they aid a woman risking everything to gain freedom from slavery. 

John W. Anderson Slave Pen
Stepping into history, students visualize and discover elements of the internal slave trade from the story of John W. Anderson and his slave pen, built in the early 1800s and recovered from a farm not far from Cincinnati - in Germantown, Kentucky.

Artifact Analysis
Learn about the original uses of cotton, its original uses, its role during slavery and its value today.

Historic Interpreter
Students learn about the significance of the Ohio River and its relationship with the Underground Railroad. Singing songs and hearing stores will help students to learn about perseverance during slavery, tools needed to successfully get to freedom and how they can become a modern-day abolitionist today. 

Compare & Contrast
Using modern-day issues such as bullying, oppression and activism, students engage in discussion throughout the exhibits and galleries to show parallels between yesterday’s and today’s freedom heroes.

BUILDING THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD – GEOGRAPHY, ECONOMICS & SLAVERY TOUR: GRADES 5-8 (2 Hours)

The roots of the Underground Railroad centered on buying, selling and the movement of enslaved human beings. Come and learn about how the internal slave trade of the United States shaped the foundations of the movement known as the Underground Railroad. Students will gain a better understanding of the economic impact of slave labor, the value of cotton and the influence of slave labor on society. 

Key components students will experience:

Brothers of the Borderland
This epic film immerses students in a thrilling flight to freedom showcasing the courage and cooperation of John Parker and Reverend John Rankin as they aid a woman risking everything to gain freedom from slavery.

John W. Anderson Slave Pen
Stepping into history, students visualize and discover elements of the internal slave trade from the story of John W. Anderson and his slave pen, built in the early 1800s and recovered from a farm not far from Cincinnati - in Germantown, Kentucky.

Tom Feelings Mural
Through art, students analyze the Transatlantic and internal slave trades, and the story of the Middle Passage between the 12th and 17th centuries.

Historical Re-enactment
Students learn about the significance of the Ohio River and its relationship with the Underground Railroad and slavery.

Cotton Gin
This interactive experience demonstrates the tedious chore of manually removing cotton seeds from cotton bolls and comparing it with the use of an operational cotton gin. This experience also addresses how essential the invention of the cotton gin was to the development of American slavery and the early American economy.

THE CIVIL WAR TOUR: GRADES 5-8 (2 Hours)

What were the causes of the American Civil War? This is a question that many people continue to heavily debate today. While we may never have a universal agreement about why the war was fought, the war did help lead to the end of American slavery. Students learn about how freedom was defined historically and about the individuals who risked their own lives to secure this freedom for themselves or others. 

Key components students will experience:

Brothers of the Borderland
This epic film immerses students in a thrilling flight to freedom showcasing the courage and cooperation of John Parker and Reverend John Rankin as they aid a woman risking everything to gain freedom from slavery.

John W. Anderson Slave Pen
Stepping into history, students visualize and discover elements of the internal slave trade from the story of John W. Anderson and his slave pen, built in the early 1800s and recovered from a farm not far from Cincinnati - in Germantown, Kentucky.

Tom Feelings Mural
Through art, students analyze the Transatlantic and internal slave trades, and the story of the Middle Passage between the 12th and 17th centuries.

Cotton Gin
This interactive experience demonstrates the tedious chore of manually removing cotton seeds from cotton bolls and comparing it with the use of an operational cotton gin. This experience also addresses how essential the invention of the cotton gin was to the development of American slavery and the early American economy.

Historic Interpreter
Would you be ready to fight in the Civil War? Students find out through storytelling and engaging discussion with a historical interpreter, the rules of war and life on the battlefield as a soldier.

From Slavery to Freedom
Throughout this expansive gallery, students experience three centuries of slavery, beginning with the Transatlantic slave trade to the abolition of slavery to the era of Reconstruction. Through the halls of the gallery, students learn about the major cash crops grown on the different plantations, the conditions of slavery and the key people actively involved in the abolition movement that arose after the Revolutionary War – leading up to the Civil War.

BECOMING A MODERN-DAY FREEDOM FIGHTER TOUR: GRADES 8-12 (2 Hours)

Did you know that slavery did not come to an end over 150 years ago? In fact, there are more people enslaved today than at any other time in human history. Come and learn about how a new Underground Railroad is needed to eradicate modern-day slavery. 

Key components students will experience:

Brothers of the Borderland
This epic film immerses students in a thrilling flight to freedom showcasing the courage and cooperation of John Parker and Reverend John Rankin as they aid a woman risking everything to gain freedom from slavery.

John W. Anderson Slave Pen
Stepping into history, students visualize and discover elements of the internal slave trade from the story of John W. Anderson and his slave pen, built in the early 1800s and recovered from a farm not far from Cincinnati - in Germantown, Kentucky.

Tom Feelings Mural
Through art, students analyze the Transatlantic and internal slave trades, and the story of the Middle Passage between the 12th and 17th centuries.

From Slavery to Freedom
Throughout this expansive gallery, students experience three centuries of slavery, beginning with the Transatlantic slave trade to the abolition of slavery to the era of Reconstruction. Through the halls of the gallery, students learn about the major cash crops grown on the different plantations, conditions of slavery, and the key people actively involved in the abolition movement that arose after the Revolutionary War – leading up to the Civil War.

Invisible: Slavery Today
Throughout this exhibit, students interact with numerous flips charts, ads, videos and audio recordings about modern day slavery. Students identify the many ways people in America and all over the world are enslaved and how, as students, they can be a part of a growing movement to help abolish slavery today.

SELF-GUIDED TOUR: GRADES 4-12 (SCHEDULED AFTER 11 AM)

What are lessons that can be learned from the Underground Railroad? The self-guided experience helps students to learn many stories about freedom’s heroes from the period of the Underground Railroad. These stories are about courage, cooperation and perseverance. A self-guided tour will allow teachers the opportunity to select key exhibits to focus on for their students to gain an in-depth understanding according to what they are learning in the classroom. By exploring the museum under their teacher’s guidance, students will learn from specific stories and be inspired to take their own steps of courage toward freedom today. 

EXHIBITS
Click HERE to download our museum map and description of our exhibits.

THE FREEDOM CENTER IN YOUR CLASSROOM
If you can’t visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, let us come to you!

TRAVELING TRUNKS

Bring the museum to your classroom! Our traveling trunk service allows you and your students to pursue one of three different themed units with designed lesson plans and activities to enhance your classroom curriculum. 

FREEDOM SUITCASE - CIVIL RIGHTS OVER TIME: GRADES 4-12
Two Trunks available (Grades 4-8 & Grades 7-12).
Explore how African Americans have fought for civil rights since Africans were brought to the colonies as slaves. Using primary sources such as documents, images, and artifacts, learn about how the early 1900s brought about the creation of many organizations that fought to end segregation.

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM - THE CIVIL WAR: GRADES 5-8
Analyze and understand why the Civil War began in April 1861 and lasted until late April 1865. By examining various primary sources, students will learn stories of real people and events that shaped the coming of the Civil War.

FREEDOM BOX - THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: GRADES 2-8
Investigate how during the 1800s more than 100,000 enslaved people sought freedom through the Underground Railroad. Through hands-on exploration of primary source artifacts and documents, lessons and activities, students will learn how this 19th century freedom movement challenged the way Americans viewed slavery and freedom, inspiring them to take their own courageous steps for the freedom of others today.

To schedule a traveling trunk, click HERE to complete the online reservation form.

HISTORY COMES TO LIFE - EDUCATION OUTREACH

We can bring the story to you! Allow our historical interpreter and staff to share experiences from the era of the Underground Railroad through song, storytelling, or lecture.

EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAM: GRADES PreK-2
Interact with an historical interpreter to hear stories of courage, cooperation and perseverance in order to better understand how they found freedom and how you can become a modern-day abolitionist. Students learn the importance of having the courage to stand up for what is right, to cooperate together with each other and to persevere through modern struggles.

ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM: GRADES 3-8
Interact with an historical interpreter to hear stories of enslaved individuals during the era of the Underground Railroad. Students will learn about how individuals endured hardships, illiteracy and physical abuse in order to bring an end to legalized slavery. These lessons will challenge and inspire students to take courageous steps for freedom today. In addition to the listed outreach opportunities, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is willing to customize education outreach for your classroom or educator development cohort.

To schedule an outreach program, click HERE to fill out the online reservation form.

LESSON PLANS & SCAVENGER HUNTS

View and print lessons on the Underground Railroad, the Civil War and contemporary slavery. Lessons are aligned with current state and content standards and are designed for use before and after visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Student worksheets are provided.

Grades K-3
Five unique lesson plans aligned with Ohio Language Arts and Social Studies content standards. 
Download/print lessons here.

Grades 4-8
Nine complete classroom lesson plans that encourage empathy and awareness. These lessons meet geography, economics and other Social Studies content standards.
Download/print lessons here.

Grades 9-12
Contemporary slavery and injustice in today's world are addressed in several innovative lesson plans designed specifically for high school teachers to use. These lessons meet Social Studies content standards. 
Download/print lessons here.

Scavenger Hunts
Grades 3-6
This scavenger hunt is designed to guide students through the exhibits on the second floor of the Freedom Center. 
Download/print lessons here.

Grades 7-12
With questions and prompts for both the second and third floor galleries, students in middle and high school grades will put their math, geography and higher-level thinking skills to work. 
Download/print lessons here.

Family Research Center

The Family Research Center gives you the tools to trace your family tree and reconnect with your ancestors.  The center is run by volunteers, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00am to 4:00pm.  If you’re interested in visiting the Family Research Center, please call (513) 333-7654.

Lunch

Due to capacity restraints, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center may not be able to provide accommodations inside the building for large groups that bring their lunches. Please call (513) 333-7578 for details.

For a list of local restaurants, click HERE.

Guidelines

  • Payment and final head-count are due two weeks prior to your visit.
  • Video & flash photography are prohibited within the exhibits.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your visit for check-in and orientation.
  • Please refrain from using the revolving doors.
  • The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  • Cancellations must be made at least 48 hours in advance. Cancellations made within 48 hours of your visit, are subject to pay 50% of the reservation. No shows are subject to pay 100% of the reservation.
  • Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Groups cannot pay individually. You are no eligible for the group rate if you pay individually.
  • Disruptive groups will be asked to leave.