A Tale of Two Houses: Mid-Coast Maine in the 1800s

Find out how events of the 1800s affected lives.

At Castle Tucker and Nickels-Sortwell House

Historic New England’s two properties in Wiscasset, Nickels-Sortwell House and Castle Tucker, were both built in 1807, during the town’s most prosperous time. Both saw their first owner hit hard by Thomas Jefferson’s embargo of that year, both changed hands multiple times over the next decades, and both embraced the changing economy by becoming places for tourists to stay.

while Nickels-Sortwell House was a summer home for a prosperous family from away. In this history, economics, and architecture-focused program, students learn how historical events affect regular people, the ways they live, and the buildings they build.


Field Trip Activities

The program includes a two-part classroom pre-visit lesson in which students construct an interactive timeline of major local, regional, and national events during the nineteenth century and also learn the elements of three popular architectural styles of that time: Federal, Greek Revival, and Queen Anne Victorian.

During the field trip, students visit both houses and explore the ways events on the timeline affected real people’s lives. They also participate in a walking tour between Castle Tucker and Nickels-Sortwell House, identifying architectural styles along the way. In the Nickels-Sortwell barn, they construct their own house in one of the three styles, using paper and stickers printed with the different architectural elements.

Program Details

Available: Weekdays, April – October, for grades 3 to 5.

Full Program Includes:

Maximum Group Size: 30 students


Type of Program: Field Trips, Summer Programs

Related Topics: Architecture, Family, Slavery and Civil War

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