Education Programs

Stay tuned for announcements about Preservation Worcester education programs

Preservation Worcester Talks

Looking for a program for your club or neighborhood organization or for a classroom presentation?

Preservation Worcester offers a wide range of illustrated presentations that tell the unique story of Worcester's history, its people, and its architecture.  Our experienced docents will provide your group with a well-researched and entertaining program that offers a new way of looking at the city.  Choose from a selection of prepared presentations, or let us tailor a presentation to your needs.  Below are some of our current programs.

   Saturday Matinee:

  Inside Worcester's Movie Palace

                 an illustrated talk by Marilyn Polito


Take a mulitmedia tour of Worcester theatres during the heyday of the palace theatre phenomenon of the last century.  Explore Worcester's movie theatre history and architecture - and have all the fun of a Matinee at the Movies.  Share memories of your own Movie Palace Days in Worcester.

The Castle on the Hill:

        Worcester's Oread Institute

   an illustrated talk by Jan Parent

Picturesque Oread Castle once stood overlooking Main Street - where Castle Park is today.  Learn about this long-vanished building, about one of the country's earliest institutions of higher learning for women, and about its founder and headmaster, Eli Thayer, previously headmaster of Worcester Academy.


Worcester's Finest Department Store

         an illustrated talk by Christopher Sawyer, author of Denholms: The Story of Worcester's
                                              Premier Department Store


Step back in time to the days when downtown Worcester was bustling with shoppers and turn your thoughts to the city's former favorite department store, Denholms.  Hear about the history of Denholms and see historic photos of the store and people who made it a success.

Worcester's Royal Corsets

  an illustrated talk by Marilyn Polito


Loosen your corset laces and join us as we trace the history of women's corsets through the years and learn about the Royal Worcester Corset Company, once the largest producer of corsets in the world.

        By the Canal:

         How the Blackstone Canal Spurred
          Worcester's Industrial Success

   an illustrated talk by JoAnn Mills

Opened in 1828 and in operation for only twenty years, the now-buried Blackstone Canal had a remarkable influence on Worcester's future.  Learn about this transportation waterway - the catalyst which, over the course of the 19th century, transformed what was then a small, land-locked, county seat into a flourishing industrial city.

              God's Acre, Deed Rock, and the Hermitage

                                            an illustrated talk by Jan Parent

                                                                                          Daniel V. Boudillion photo, 2007

What do a pious Millerit, a hermit, and the owner of Denholms Department Store have in common?  Come learn about the Deed Rock, the Worcester hilltop that was deeded to God, and the hermit who called this hilltop home.  Hear about the sumptuous summer home built by the owner of Denholms, which was later the home of the president of Worcester's Crompton & Knowles loomworks.  Trace the history of this summer home to motor club to hotel, ending in a fiery demise.

  The HEART of the City

     an illustrated talk by Marilyn Polito


Worcester native or newcomer?

Discover interesting things your probably never knew about Worcester Common, City Hall, and the history and architecture of downtown.  Hear about the Old Burying Ground, cattle shows, and Worcester's smallest monument, a bronze star in the sidewalk in front of City Hall.

Fee:  $100 per presentation

For more information, call 508-754-8760 or write us at

Third Grade All America City Program

Sponsored by The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, Inc. and Unum Group

The All America City Program is Preservation Worcester's premier education program.  Designed to fit Massachusets third grade curriculum requirements for History and Social Science, the program uses the city's architecture as a key to unlock students' understanding of Worcester history.  Enriching everyday history and social science classes with site-based learning, the program includes an initial, illustrated classroom presentation followed by a field trip.  On the trip students experience Worcester's architecture and built environment "first hand" and compare a tall glass skyscraper and grand turn-of-the-20th century buildings with what they have learned about the city's growth over time.  Their visit to City Hall includes a role-playing session in the City Council Chamber, providing them with hands-on experience in the operation of city government.

   Students pose with City Clerk    

The field trip includes:

  • Viewing the city from atop the Telegram & Gazette offices on Front Street.

  • Finding the Bronze Star Monument in front of City Hall and hearing about Isaiah Thomas and the Massachusetts Spy

  • Touring City Hall, Worcester's "Palace for the People"

  • Visiting the City Council Chamber in City Hall and participating in a mock City Council meeting

  • Seeing the 18th century burial ground and monuments on Worcester Common

  • Touring Union Station's Great Hall and viewing the railroad tracks

Based on the themes of transportation, industrialization and immigration, the All America City program captures the children’s imagination and provides them with an understanding of the leading role Worcester has played in the history of the Commonwealth.  While focusing on local history and architecture, the program also teaches concepts and skills in geography, civics, government, and economics.   It encourages children to take ownership of the history of their city and to develop pride in their own roles in the community.  Knowledge gained through this experience is aimed at creating informed and involved future citizens of the city, the Commonwealth and the nation.

By gaining an appreciation of Worcester’s history and architecture, students develop a strong sense of pride in their city.  The program nurtures young citizens who experience the civic process, who understand Worcester’s role in history, who appreciate the city’s architecture and historic monuments, and who enthusiastically share that information with their families, neighbors, and friends.

For more information, call 508-754-8760 or write us at

Seeing Worcester Architecture Program

Sponsored by The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, Inc. and Unum Group

  Worcester: Dowley Taylor Building

Tailored to the third, fourth, and fifth grades, the Seeing Worcester Architecture Program is an expanded version of the Third Grade All America City Program.  A collaborative effort between Preservation Worcester and school staff, this program gives students a solid grounding in Worcester history and architecture – building from year to year on the lessons learned the year before. 

Meeting the Massachusetts Curriculum Guidelines, the two-phase program includes an initial learning phase followed by a creative phase.  The initial phase consists of two preparatory classroom visits and a field trip presented by Preservation Worcester docents with emphasis on architectural styles and on the relationship of the built environment to the history of Worcester.   In the second phase, students carry out a creative project designed by school staff in collaboration with Preservation Worcester.  The creative component culminates in art exhibits and dramatic vignettes presented to the entire school, students’ families, and friends – enhancing study units at each grade level and highlighting what students have learned in the initial phase of the program. 

For more information, call 508-754-8760 or write us at

Completing drawing of Worcester architecture

      Living Museum at Worcester Arts Magnet School

  Dowley Taylor Mansion column styles          Dream house floor plans drawn by students

Dioramas of building made by students