Student Field Trips

Slavery In New York

New York City was once the second-largest slave trading port in the colonies and the colony of New York had more enslavers per capita than any other American colony. Among those enslavers were the Philipse family, who profited both off of the individual labor of enslaved people as well as the slave trade itself.

Frederick Philipse I called the slave trade his "chievvest profitt." He almost single-handedly started the Madagascar slave trade. His eldest son Philip Philipse owned a sugar plantation in Barbados and his second son Adolph Philipse was also actively involved in the African and Caribbean slave trade. The Philipses also enslaved over 100 people over the four generations - both as personal servants in their many households, and as skilled laborers in their mills, cooperages, dairies, and on their ships. Philipse Manor Hall has records of the names and occupations of many (but not all) of these enslaved people, as well as records of the resistance of enslaved people to bondage.

Slavery in New York persisted as late as the 1840s. But enslaved Africans and people of African descent resisted slavery at every turn. One way to resist was through self-emancipation, or running away.


This program includes a tour of the museum, with emphasis on the history of the slave trade, the roles of enslaved people in daily life, and how they resisted enslavement.

Primary Source Workshop:

This program includes an interactive, sit-down activity: a primary source document analysis workshop using runaway slave ads from 18th century New York. Students will learn what a primary source is, and then read and analyze historical runaway slave advertisements and answer questions about the documents for both reading comprehension and historical empathy. Groups can then choose a creative writing or art component based on their primary document and present their projects to the class.

Price: $3/student

One adult per 10 students gets in free, one-on-one aides and school nurses also free. Any additional chaperones are $3/person. Price includes museum tour and one activity.

Grades: 5-12

This program is suitable for 5th through 12th grade. Students should have good reading comprehension skills.

Number of Students: up to 60

This program can accommodate up to 60 students in two groups - one group will tour the museum in small groups and the other will do an activity, and then switch.

Time: 60 mins-3 hours

The document analysis activity takes 60 minutes. Museum tours also typically last 60 minutes. Field trip coordinators should plan a minimum of  2.5 hours (with introduction and organizing time) for combination tour and activity, or 3 hours if the group eats lunch on site.

To Book:

To book this program for your class or school, please fill out our field trip interest form (scroll down), or contact education coordinator John Farrell at Yonkers public schools please allow a minimum of 6 weeks if using Connect Kids funding.