Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

November 19-25, 2017

Do-Now Discussion

Throughout history, Thanksgiving has brought people together for food and conversation. Civic dialogue can be a healthy side dish, as you respectfully share ideas and examples of citizenship. List out three topics related to civic action that you would like to bring up at the table this holiday.

IN THE CLASSROOM

  • The History of Thanksgiving Constitution Hall Pass Video Lesson
    Grab a seat at the table as we talk turkey! Everyone who loves to eat loves Thanksgiving, so join us as we take a look at what this holiday is all about. Learn the real story of the first Thanksgiving, and find out more about the American Indians who were living in what is now New England. We’ll learn about what kinds of foods our early Thanksgiving dinners did and didn’t have, and discover how the day was made a national holiday during the Civil War. And we’ll check out the background of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions—we’ll even talk a little football! So bring your appetite for knowledge and join us as we explore the history of Thanksgiving.

  • Plimoth Plantation: Thanksgiving Interactive

  • Plimoth Plantation: Thanksgiving History

AT THE CENTER

Thanksgiving Weekend
November 23 – November 25, 2018

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the National Constitution Center will host a cornucopia of exciting fall activities with presidential flair.  On Black Friday, November 23, visitors take part in our presidential-themed pumpkin decorating contest and attend a special town hall with our historic "presidents." All weekend long, visitors can meet Presidents Washington and Lincoln, and learn more about their roles in creating the Thanksgiving holiday. Interactive programs in our main lobby include the Presidency 101 and the Center’s popular Growing Up American Style show, plus families can create great, seasonal make-and-take crafts.

Kids Town Hall: Meet the Presidents
Black Friday, November 23, 12 p.m.
Visitors can participate in a special Student Town Hall with some very famous guests, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who will discuss what Thanksgiving means to them.

Presidential Pumpkin Decorating Contest
Black Friday, November 23, until 2 p.m.
Visitors are challenged to decorate pumpkins to represent their favorite commander-in-chief. Perhaps your pumpkin will wear a tricorn hat like George Washington, or a have beard like Abraham Lincoln, or maybe it will even feature teddy bears like to pay tribute to Theodore Roosevelt—it’s up to you! Visitors can bring their own pre-decorated pumpkins, or decorate a craft pumpkin at our decorating station.

Winners will be selected by our Presidential Reenactors at 2 p.m. on Black Friday.  The winning entrant will receive a one-year family membership to the Center.  

Meet and Greets: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln 
Friday, 1 – 3 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Meet some famous figures from the founding era of our country; they will answer all of your questions, and even pose for pictures! 

Presidency 101 
Daily, check visitor guide upon arrival for show times.
During this interactive program, visitors explore Article II of the Constitution, trying on the many hats the president wears, like Commander-in-Chief, or head of the Executive branch with the power of veto.  They’ll also explore the duties and requirements of the office, take part in “Who am I?’ questions as well as presidential role-play scenarios.

Growing Up, American Style
Daily, check visitor guide upon arrival for show times.
Visitors can learn about growing up in different eras of American history through a costume runway show, featuring traditional-style dress from historical periods, like Washington and Lincoln’s presidencies.

History of Thanksgiving Program
Daily, check visitor guide upon arrival for show times.
Guests are invited to join in the interactive “History of Thanksgiving” program, which explores the origins and importance of this national holiday. Learn about the Wampanoag people that lived in what is now New England, and the historic meal they shared with European settlers in 1621.  We’ll explore more about the Wampanoag and their culture, the events lead up to the harvest feast that year, and what food did they would have eaten (it may surprise you).  Visitors are encouraged to participate as they learn about the roles presidents have played in creating the Thanksgiving holiday, and also popular Thanksgiving traditions, including the presidential turkey pardon.

Thanksgiving: Deconstructing the Myth
Daily, check visitor guide upon arrival for show times.
Join us for a special dialogue with the Center’s Education staff where we deconstruct images of Thanksgiving from different periods of our country’s history, taking into account the historical context of each period. This program will unravel some of the myths surrounding the holiday by presenting a more holistic view of the past; considering multiple perspectives and telling the story of the Wampanoag people.  We will also examine how the nation’s relationship with Native People has always shaped contemporary understandings of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Corn Husk Dolls Making Station
Daily until 3 p.m.
Visitors can make dolls from corn husk, just like children did in 18th century.

Activity Tables
Daily until 3 p.m.
At our activities tables, visitors can discover more about history as they play with marbles, whirligigs, bilobo catchers, tops, nine pins, and other games popular during the 18th Century.  

Sign up for our email newsletter