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EDUCATIONAL TOURS AND OPPORTUNITIE S


About Since it opened to the public in 1922, the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home has hosted thousands of students. Our remarkable historic site has provided their first glimpse into the history and culture of Victorian Indianapolis as they explore the former residence of the famous Hoosier Poet. In 2014, construction was completed for the Billie Lou Wood Visitor Center, modeled after the Museum Home’s original carriage house. This space allows us to offer complementary educational activities to the Museum Home tour. This brochure outlines educational workshops now offered as part of the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home student tour experience. Workshops are designed to address specific Indiana state education standards, and the staff at the Museum Home are happy to work with teachers to create custom activities to meet your diverse classroom needs.


Information Student tours available 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Tuesday - Saturday. Cost: $1 for students; $8 for teachers and chaperones. Bus parking available directly in front of the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home.

Available Lessons In addition to the workshops described here, we are happy to discuss your needs and develop custom content.

Contact Chris Mize   Manager, Museum Home   CMize@RileyKids.org   317-808-8565


Reading Literature and

Reading Vocabulary


Poetry on Lockerbie Street Students will enjoy a live poetry reading with an actor portraying James Whitcomb Riley. The Hoosier Poet will share his Hoosier Dialect writing style, teach poetry vocabulary and discuss various poetic styles. Students will practice reading Mr. Riley’s Hoosier Dialect poems before beginning original compositions that will incorporate what they learned throughout the workshop. This workshop can be adjusted for all grade levels. (Meets state academic standards in Reading Literature, Reading Vocabulary, and English/Language Arts)


English Language Arts


To Live Now or Then As a true historic preservation, the Museum Home remains largely unchanged from when James Whitcomb Riley resided here. The student tour provides a glimpse of what it was like to live a privileged life in Indianapolis during the late 1800s and early 1900s. In this workshop, students will compare and contrast life today with Mr. Riley’s Victorian world. Students will write a persuasive composition defending the time period in which they would prefer to live. This workshop can be adjusted for grades 3 through 8. (Meets state academic standards: 3.W.3.1, 4.W.3.1, 5.W.3.1, 6.W.3.1, 7.W.3.1, 8.W.3.1)

Riley in the News Students will imagine they are reporters for a newspaper. They will tour the Museum Home and collect information for a feature article. After the tour, the young reporters will have the opportunity to question James Whitcomb Riley directly, before writing an article based on the information they gathered during the tour and press conference. This workshop can be adjusted for grades 3 through 8. (Meets state academic standards: 3.W.3.2, 4.W.3.2, 5.W.3.2, 6.W.3.2, 7.W.3.2, 8.W.3.2)

Become a Hoosier Author In this workshop, students will learn how Mr. Riley’s poems inspired other artists and writers. For example, “Little Orphant Annie” inspired a Broadway musical and two Hollywood movies, and from “The Raggedy Man” the worldfamous Raggedy Ann and Andy characters were born. Those iconic children’s characters also paved the way for Disney’s “Toy Story.” Students will also be encouraged to find inspiration in Riley’s poems as they create their own piece of narrative fiction. This workshop can be adjusted for all grade levels.


Social Studies

Photo courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society


Hoosier Harvest History Students will discover how Indiana agriculture developed and changed in the last 150 years. They will uncover how Indiana farmers inspired James Whitcomb Riley in his collection of poetry titled “Farm Rhymes.” Students will read aloud poems such as “When the Frost is on the Punkin” and “Wortermelon Time” to understand the Hoosier Dialect that Riley captured from the days gone by. At the end of this workshop students will be encouraged to write their own farm rhyme. This workshop is best for 4th grade Indiana history students. (Meets state academic standards: 4.1.9, 4.1.12, 4.1.18, 4.RV.3.1)

An Indianapolis Publishing Giant The Bobbs-Merrill Company, located in Indianapolis, grew into one of the most influential and important publishing houses in the country thanks to authors like James Whitcomb Riley. In this workshop students will uncover the history and legacy of the Bobbs-Merrill Company using the works of Mr. Riley, Johnny Gruelle and other primary sources. This workshop is best for 4th grade Indiana history students. (Meets state academic standards: 4.1.9, 4.1.12, 4.1.18)

Riley and Indiana Transportation James Whitcomb Riley was born on the Old National Road in 1849, the year of the California Gold Rush. He would often recall the wagon trains headed west through Greenfield, Ind. right in front of his house. In this workshop, students will discover how transportation has changed since 1849 and how Indiana played a large role in automotive history. Mr. Riley’s own extensive use of the growing rail system to tour the country and later purchase of a Peerless Touring automobile will be highlighted, as well as a passenger train named in his honor that operated from 1941-1968. This workshop is best for 4th grade Indiana history students. (Meets state academic standards: 4.1.9, 4.1.12, 4.1.18)


Art: Visual Arts


Art at the Riley Museum Home Join the knowledgeable historians of the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home for a visual arts focused tour. Students will discover the original decorative ceilings and walls hand-painted by Italian immigrant artisans and will learn how Victorians used and displayed art in their homes. Original art by Richard Gruelle, Wayman Adams, T.C. Steele, Will Vawter, Ethel Franklin Betts and Howard Chandler Christy are proudly displayed at the museum, and students will have a close-up opportunity to view and critique these treasures. This tour is best for high school students. (Meets state academic standards: H.1.2, H.1.6, H.1.7, H.2.1, H.2.2, H.5.1, H.5.3)


528 Lockerbie Street Indianapolis, IN 46202-3617 317-808-8565 RileyMuseumHome.org

Profile for Riley Children's Foundation

2019 Museum Home Educational Tour Brochure  

Since it opened to the public in 1922, the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home has hosted thousands of students. Our remarkable historic site h...

2019 Museum Home Educational Tour Brochure  

Since it opened to the public in 1922, the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home has hosted thousands of students. Our remarkable historic site h...

Profile for rileykids