Activity: What do you collect?

Photo: Tudor Nights: Stepping Out in Style, October 17 2019

At Tudor Place, we tell the stories of the Peter family and of the people they enslaved and employed. One way we tell this story is through sharing the objects the Peter family owned.

The collections manager and curator at Tudor Place are two people who help to share these stories while keeping historic objects safe. The collections manager keeps track of all the objects in the Tudor Place collection and makes sure they are stored and displayed in ways that preserve and maintain them. The curator researches objects and arranges them in special ways that help visitors experience and learn from them.

Just like Tudor Place tells the story of the Peter family using their collection of objects, you can tell the story of your family with objects of your own. Everyone collects things – you might have a collection of games, puzzles or books. Sometimes people plan out their collections very carefully, and sometimes they happen accidentally. Tudor Place has a collection of over 18,000 objects that the Peter family owned, including furniture, clothing, art, jewelry, plates and silverware. Your collection is probably a little bit smaller.

Tudor Place staff have their own personal collections too!

Katie collects mugs. If she displayed her mugs in an exhibit, they would tell visitors all about the places she has travelled:

Katie’s mug collection

Helen collects earrings. Helen’s earrings tell a story about her colorful fashion sense:

Helen’s earrings collection

Now it’s your turn to be the curator. Take a few minutes to think about your own collections. Answer the questions below once you have:

What do you collect?


If you put your collection together into an exhibit, what stories could you tell?


What could a curator 200 years in the future learn from your collection? What or stories might they be able to tell about you?


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Activity: Design A Summer Fountain

At Tudor Place, you can find many statues and fountains. The Peter family added them because they liked how the decorations looked with the plants and flowers. Some of the fountains have a special purpose. There are fountains for birds to drink from and wash off in. Some fountains were meant to be homes for goldfish. Some of the fountains and statues are there to look pretty. Some statues look like animals and some look like people.


On hot summer days, it is nice to imagine dipping our fingers into a cool fountain. What kinds of fountains would you put in your garden? Would your statue be based on an animal or a person? Would it have a special purpose, or would it be there just for decoration? What material would it be made of? What color would it be? Design your own fountain using the worksheet below.

Click for “My Fountain” worksheet 

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Craft: Painting Fireworks

In the United States, we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day. On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence. In it, the colonists explained why they wanted independence from England and formally stated their separation. Ever since then, Americans have celebrated the 4th of July with concerts, bonfires, parades and fireworks.

The Declaration of Independence begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” However, it would take almost another hundred years until the passage of the 13th Amendment ended legal slavery in the United States.  Since 1776, there have always been people working towards equality for all. We’re still working towards it today.

As you celebrate 4th of July with your family, bring fireworks indoors with this fun and easy craft.

What you’ll need:

• Recycled paper towel or toilet paper rolls
• Paper Plates
• Scissors
• Paint
• A pen

How to create a fireworks painting:

First, draw a line around your recycled paper tube about 2/3rds down. Using scissors, carefully cut one half of the tube into vertical strips. Press it against the table so that the strips fan out and the roll can stand up on its own.

Add paint to each paper plate. You can do one color per paint or mix it up. Each paper plate should get its own paper towel roll, but if they get mixed up, that is OK too!

Press the paper towel roll into the paint, and then stamp it onto your paper. You can repeat as many times as you would like.

When you’re done with your fireworks, hang them up on a wall for your own private show!

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Craft: Solstice Monoprints

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and the official first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, summer solstice is June 20th. Washington DC will have almost 15 hours of daylight between sunrise and sunset. People all over the world celebrate the summer solstice and have for hundreds and hundreds of years.

In your summer solstice observations design a monoprint to celebrate the extra sunshine. Monoprints are a way of making prints that can only be used once – which means you have plenty of opportunities for creativity.

Watch the video below to see how to create your own sunshiny prints.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper (a heavier weight is better, but printer paper is fine)
  • Paint (we suggest yellow, red or orange)
  • Paint brushes
  • Q-tips


How to create a sunny monoprint:

First, load your brush with paint and paint a circle on your paper. Next, drag a Q-tip through the paint to create your designs. You can always add more paint or smooth it over with the paintbrush to restart.

When you are happy with your design, gently lay a second piece of paper on top of your paint. Very gently pat the top paper to transfer the paint. Lift the paper off and check out your print. It’s OK if your print isn’t perfect. In fact, it probably won’t be. Add rays or other decorations using paint or markers. You can repeat as many times as you would like by adding more paint to the first piece of paper.

When you are done with your monoprints, hang them individually or string them together to make a banner.

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Activity: Create a Journal


Armistead Peter Jr. Diary, 1921.Tudor Place Archive.
Historians use primary sources to learn about what happened in the past. Primary sources are written materials or objects that were created at the time being studied, by people who were there. For example, if we were trying to learn about the early days of Tudor Place, we might look at journals that Martha and Thomas Peter wrote.

Journals are really helpful primary sources. “Journal” and “diary” are synonyms, so they mean the same thing. Journals tell us all about what people did on a certain day and sometimes how they felt about it.  The Tudor Place Archive contains lots of  journals written by people who lived here. For example, if we were interested in learning what Armistead Peter Jr. was doing in the spring of 1921,  we can look at his journal entries.


March 29

Every thing froze last nightSallie and Kate Nelson dined with us and we went to see “Blossom Time.”

April 1

Clear. Mrs. Beall, the three children, and Lucy Mackall lunched here and we then went to see “Really Truly Loud.” Miss Hawk’s dancing class.

April 5

Bought set of cold tea spoons for Nan. [?] 25th.  Attended Director’s Meetings at 4PM and am very thankful to find things improving. No one seems to know what the outcome of the Traction Bill, recently passed at Albany, will be, but can only hope for the best. This evening, went to see “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

Armistead Peter Jr. Diary, 1921. MS-14, Box 73, Folder 6. Tudor Place Archive.

Now we know: that it was cold at the end of March in 1921, the names of Armistead Peter Jr’s friends and we know a couple of movies he saw.  It is no different today.  Sometimes we write journal entries for school or to talk about our days. We can also write journal entries about what we see outside in nature.

Pick one of the prompts below to get started with your own journal entry.

Daily Life Diary

Garden Journal

  1. What was your favorite thing you did today?

  2. What was one thing about today that surprised you?

  3. What is one mistake you made recently, and what did you learn from it?

  4. What is something that helps you when you are worried or scared?

  5. What is one thing you’ve accomplished recently that you’re proud of?

  1. What is your favorite part of being outside?

  2. What do you see, smell, and hear where you are sitting? What are your senses telling you?

  3. What can you learn from this garden?

  4. What do you think is special about this garden?

  5. What does a garden need to be healthy and strong? What do you need to be healthy and strong?

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Craft: Cicada Origami

green paper cicada

Cicada origami found in the Tudor Place garden. Photo credit: Tudor Place Historic House & Garden.

This month, Washington, DC is experiencing the emergence of a group of cicadas called Brood X. You can learn more about cicadas and Brood X by checking out the Education at Home Activity on using Cicada Safari to map the cicadas you see.

If you visit Tudor Place in May, you will see cicadas in the garden. Don’t be worried! They might be loud, but cicadas don’t bite or sting humans.

They also are not hurting the plants. Cicadas don’t eat leaves or flowers. Instead, they drink the sap from tree roots and make tiny cuts in branches where they lay their eggs. Young trees might be harmed if too many cicadas try to lay eggs in them, so the Tudor Place garden staff have wrapped up small trees in bug netting to keep them safe.

Tudor Place is working hard to keep the cicadas out of the historic house, but here is one cicada you can take home. Watch the video below to create your own origami cicada.

This activity is the second of two in a cicada activity series.

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Activity: Cicada Safari

adult cicada and empty shell on tree branch

Adult cicada and empty shell. Photo credit: Gene Kritsky, Mount St. Joseph University.

During May 2021, something exciting (and noisy) is going to happen. A group of cicadas called Brood X is going to emerge. These cicadas have been underground for 17 years!

Baby cicadas are called nymphs. When the nymphs hatched, they crawled underground. They spent the last 17 years digging tunnels and eating tree roots.

Now these nymphs are coming out of the ground to shed their exoskeletons and develop wings and hard, adult skins. As adults, these cicadas will mate and lay more eggs and the whole cycle begins again.

The cicadas that emerge during the same year are called broods. Brood X was first seen in 1715 in Philadelphia – before Tudor Place was even built.

Scientists study these cicadas to map where the broods emerge and to understand more about their life cycles. One way to help scientists learn about cicadas is by using the Cicada Safari app.

When you see a cicada (or many cicadas!) take a picture of it and mark its location on the map. You can also find out where other people in your neighborhood, state or region have seen cicadas.

Check out the video below for a walk-through of the app.

Now you’re all set to record your cicada observations! Check out past Education at Home posts to learn more about what makes a good observer and to create garden crafts.

This activity is the first of two in a cicada series.

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Activity: Using iNaturalist

yellow and black butterfly on a pink flower

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Photo: Tudor Place Historic House & Garden.

Join the City Nature Challenge to spot and identify plants, animals and bugs in your town, then compete with other cities around the world!

In a previous Education At Home activity, you learned how to be a good observer. Now it’s time to put your skills to the test!

Participants in the City Nature Challenge use an app called iNaturalist to record and share information about the plants and animals they’ve found. You can use iNaturalist on a smartphone or from the Web.

Learn more about using iNaturalist by watching the video and following the instructions below.

If you can’t access the video, here is an easy step-by-step guide for using iNaturalist:

  1. Tap “observe”
  2. Add photographs as evidence
  3. Select the plant, animal or fungus that you saw
  4. Make sure the entry states when and where you saw it
  5. Make sure to mark if the plant or animal you saw is cultivated (is someone growing it on purpose?)
  6. Save your observation to upload and share with the community!

Now you’re ready to take part in the City Nature Challenge 2021. Share your observations with us by email at

Second of a two-part City Nature Challenge series

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Activity: What Do You See Outdoors?

head of a young hawk

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk Photo: Tudor Place Historic House & Garden.

Join the City Nature Challenge to spot and identify plants, animals, and bugs in your town and compete with other cities around the world! Learn more about the City Nature Challenge in Washington, DC.

  • In the first part of the Challenge, from April 30 to May 3, take pictures of wild plants and animals, using the helpful tips below.
  • Then, from May 4 to May 9, identify the species that were found.

If you’re participating in the City Nature Challenge, or just enjoying the nature around you, it is important to be a good observer.

When observers see something they want to share with other people, they take detailed notes! These notes are observations, or a record of everything you noticed.

When you make an observation you should record:

  1. Who you are! What is your name?
  2. Where are you? Are you in a park? In a garden?
  3. When did you see this plant or animal? What time is it?
  4. What you saw! Describe what you’re looking at! For example, if it’s a plant, does it have lots of leaves? Are they big or small? What color are they? What shape are they? Do they look soft or spiky? Does it have flowers? What color are they? What shape are they? What do they smell like?
  5. Take lots of photographs from different angles and different distances. This will help you and other people identify what you’re looking at!
  6. Practice!

You can use an observation sheet like this printable one to keep track of everything:


Now you are ready to be an observer! What can you discover? Share your observations with us by email

Second of a two-part City Nature Challenge series

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Craft: Egg Carton Tulips

Activity Directions:

While Armistead Peter 3rd and his wife Caroline were living at Tudor Place, they exchanged tulips at Easter. In the fall they planted tulips in the garden and the flowers still grow here! It is now your turn to create and share tulips with people you love.

Watch the video to see how to create tulips out of egg cartons!

What you’ll need:

  • An egg carton (colored or uncolored)
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Buttons (optional)
  • Paint (optional)

How to create an egg carton tulip:

First, using scissors, separate each egg holder from the carton. This step is best done by an adult. These are your tulip flowers! Next, add two holes to the base of each tulip flower. Insert the pipe cleaner into one of the holes, bring it across the base and back down through the second hole. Twist the two ends of the pipe cleaner together to secure it.

The final step is to decorate your tulip however you want! You can add a button to the center as a dot of pollen, add colored paper leaves, and decorate your tulip with paint. Make as many tulips as you like!

After you create your tulips, share them with your friends and family or put them on display inside your home.

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