Main content
City of Alexandria Homepage
City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
The Lyceum Alexandria's History Museum
Share Share RSS RSS Print Print Text Size Text Size NormalText Size LargeText Size Extra Large
Page updated Aug 17, 2011 7:54 AM

No Comments Posted Yet

Lyceum 2011 Summer Camp

Clio’s Kids: A History Mini-Camp : To and Fro and Away we Go!

Following our camp theme, “To and Fro and Away We Go!” we explored the history of transportation and travel to and within the City of Alexandria in the past and present day. We played games, read stories, and visited places related to different aspects of transportation and travel each day of camp.  Look below to find more books to read, local places to visit, and websites to learn more about our camp theme.

Camp Musical Vehicles
Playing a transportation version of musical chairs
Camp Visit to Gadsby's Tavern Museum
We learned about travel in the past at Gadsby's Tavern Museum
Camp Show and Tell
We brought our own souvenirs to share with the group

Learn More About It!

Read More About It!: Books to Read

Travel and Transportation  - General

McClintock, Barbara. Adèle & Simon in America. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.
Siblings Adèle & Simon travel with their aunt by train around early twentieth-century America.  There are so many sights that Simon loses track of something he brought with him at each stop.  As they travel from New York City to the west coast and return (by way of Washington, D.C.) there is much to see in McClintock’s beautifully detailed illustrations, including many ways to travel – including Boston’s Swan Boats, Chicago’s streetcars, Rocky Mountain burros, St. Louis’s steamboats, and a cameo appearance by the Lusitania, the ship that Adèle & Simon arrived on.  Maps show the places Adèle & Simon visited and where Simon lost each item; at the back, the author provides background information on each scene, as well as hidden things and people to look for.  We read this book on our first day of camp.  It is available at Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington libraries.

Mayo, Margaret, and Alex Ayliffe. Choo Choo Clickety-Clack! Minneapolis, Minn: Carolrhoda Books, 2004.
This book for younger children uses rhythmic words to imitate the sounds of each kind of transportation it depicts, in bright, bold illustrations.  This book is available at Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington libraries.

Nelson, Robin. Transportation Then and Now. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co, 2003.
An introductory non-fiction book which uses photographs and simple text to compare past modes of transportation with those we use today.  It includes a Transportation timeline, facts, and glossary.  You can find Transportation Then and Now in Alexandria library.

Seuss, Dr. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. New York: Random House, 1964.
Walking along Mulberry Street, Marco imagines a succession of fantastic vehicles to tell his father about when he returns home from school.  This book is available in Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington libraries.

Rails and Trains

Kimmel, Eric A., and Andrea U'Ren. Stormy's Hat: Just Right for a Railroad Man. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.
George “Stormy” Kromer, a railroad engineer in the early 1900s, can’t find a good hat to wear to work.  His derby blows off his head, a cowboy hat flops in the way and gets dirty, cinders from the train’s firebox set a newspaper pressman’s paper hat on fire, and a fireman’s hat is so heavy it gives him a headache!  How can he find just the right hat for the job?  He can’t, until he listens to his wife Ida, who designs and sews a special hat for him that is just right – the engineer’s hat we know today!  The author’s note at the end describes the true story on which this book is based.  We read this story before making a railroad hat of our own.  The book is in Alexandria and Fairfax libraries.

Lenski, Lois. The Little Train. New York: Random House, 2000.
Young readers learn how trains work as Engineer Small drives his coal-powered locomotive and passenger train from Tinytown through the countryside to the city.  Originally published in 1940, you can find The Little Train at Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington libraries.

O'Brien, Patrick. Steam, Smoke, and Steel: Back in Time with Trains. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2000.
Learn about the development of trains through the eyes of a boy as he relates his family’s history driving trains.  Illustrations show different aspects of train travel and how trains function. The text is aimed at older elementary school children, so parents and campers may want to read this book together.  You can find this book in Alexandria and Arlington libraries.

Rivers and Boats

Lenski, Lois. The Little Sailboat. New York: Random House, 2003.
Lenski’s text and illustrations introduce sailing terms to young readers as they follow Captain Small and his dog, Tinker, on an afternoon of sailing, fishing, and swimming on his sailboat.  As a storm blows in, Captain Small and Tinker return to the dock, safe and dry.  Originally published in 1937, you can find this book in Lenski’s Mr. Small series at Alexandria and Fairfax libraries.

Locker, Thomas. Where the River Begins. New York: Dial Books, 1984.
Locker’s beautiful paintings illustrate a camping trip that two boys take with their grandfather to find the source of the river that runs near their home.  You can find Where the River Begins in Alexandria and Arlington libraries.

Swift, Hildegarde Hoyt, and Lynd Ward. The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co, 1942.
A little lighthouse on the Hudson River discovers its warning light and bell are still needed, even after it finds itself in the shadow of the newly-built George Washington Bridge.  This book is available at Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington libraries.


Barnes, Cheryl Shaw. Alexander, the Old Town Mouse. Alexandria, Va: Vacation Spot Pub, 1994.
Barnes’s book follows Alexander M. Mouse around Old Town Alexandria as he prepares for the Mousequerade Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern.  We read this book in the ballroom during our visit to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.  You can find Alexander, the Old Town Mouse in Alexandria and Fairfax libraries, or in The Lyceum’s Museum Shop.

Let’s Do It!: Kids Activities on the Web

New York Transit Museum – Education Station

The New York Transit Museum’s online resources include child-oriented virtual exhibits and games.  Children can follow a day in the life of a New York City bus, unscramble a city transit map, or use a magnifying glass to take a closer look at a horse-drawn streetcar.

The Otto Club

Otto the Auto and his friends introduce children to road safety through songs, stories, and games, including printable activities and coloring sheets.  Operated by the California State Automobile Association (CSAA) affiliate of the American Automobile Association.

Postcards from Buster

This website is a spin-off of the “Postcards from Buster” segment on Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) children’s television show “Arthur” – Arthur’s friend Buster Bunny visits a different place in the world each episode.  Buster has written a blog entry for each place he has visited, and there are related songs, video clips, on-line games, and recipes.  Parents can click on the “Parents and Teachers” tab to see additional resources.

Prekinders Transportation Kids Page

Created and maintained by a pre-K teacher, this Transportation Page links to multiple on-line activities and games for children.

Let’s See It!: Places to Visit to Learn More

In Alexandria

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexandria, VA

Over two hundred years ago, visitors to Alexandria might have found overnight lodging in Gadsby’s Tavern or one of the many taverns like it.  Visit Gadbsy’s Tavern Museum today to learn about community events, meetings, and dances that taverns like Gadsby’s hosted in their dining and ballrooms.  We visited Gadsby’s Tavern Museum on the third day of camp.  We learned that traveling in the past was not as fancy as today – you might even have to share a bedroom with strangers!

Wilkes Street Tunnel, Entrance at Wilkes & S. Royal Streets, Alexandria, VA

Parents can learn more about the history of the Wilkes Street tunnel by reading City Archaeologist Pam Cressey’s article.  The Wilkes Street Tunnel was built as a railroad tunnel in 1851.  It helped link Alexandria’s wharves on the Potomac River with towns in central Virginia so people and goods could move between the two places.  Today, it is used by bicyclists and walkers.  We visited Wilkes Street Tunnel on the second day of camp and pretended to be a train as we moved through the tunnel – Woo-hoo!

Elsewhere in the D.C. Metropolitan Area

“America on the Move,” at the Smithsonian American History Museum, Washington, DC

Learn about America’s transportation history in this exhibition – from trains to buses and streetcars to automobiles – during your visit to America on the Move.  Download the exhibition's 10-page Family Guide for children under 8 before your visit and take it with you! You can also view an online version of “America on the Move” and browse photographs of the Smithsonian’s transportation collection; children will enjoy the transportation-themed games on the website.

B & O Railroad Museum, Baltimore, MD

Visitors to the B & O Railroad Museum in Baltimore can step inside historic locomotives and train cars, see scale model train replicas in action, as well as train-related objects on exhibition.  There are indoor and outdoor children’s play areas.  For an additional fee, visitors can enjoy a 20-minute train ride.  Families looking to visit smaller railroad museums closer to home may wish to visit Fairfax Station Railroad Museum in Fairfax Station, VA or The Manassas Railroad Depot, part of the Manassas Museum System in Manassas, VA.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD

The National Parks Service maintains the 184.5 mile C & O Canal National Historic Park, stretching from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland and encompassing six visitor centers.  Visit the park’s website to learn about interpretive events, including canal boat tours offerred during warmer months.

College Park Aviation Museum, College Park, MD

This museum is located at the College Park airport, founded in 1909 when the Wright brothers started to train military aviators.  The museum has many exhibits which engage young visitors, including a hands-on room, simulators, and pedal planes.  Family-friendly programs and events are offered throughout the year, including “Afternoon Aviators”, a weekly series of aviation-themed activities for children aged five and older on Friday afternoons.

National Capitol Trolley Museum, Colesville, MD

Learn about the streetcars that moved people into and around D.C. from the late 1800s until 1962.  Usually only open weekends, the museum offers special children’s programming on Thursdays and Fridays during the summer including storytelling and crafts. The museum offers rides on its historic streetcars for an additional fee.