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The Tsunami and the Sword

Target Grade or Age

Grade Level: 4th - 6th

Our talented team of Museum educators are committed to providing an engaging experience that brings SOL-related content to life for your students. We bring passion and energy to each program to ensure the highest level of impact and retention. To learn more about this program, click on one of the format options listed below.

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Duration: 45 minutes

During the fateful autumn of 1867, a yellow-fever epidemic and four major natural disasters, including a tsunami, rocked the Caribbean islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas. During this time, a former Civil War warship, USS Monongahela, was stationed for a political mission just off the shores of St. Croix. Aboard the ship was a Civil War naval cutlass that survived all four disasters. Fortunately, this special cutlass was donated to The Mariners’ Museum and Park Collection, and we can tell its story today. In this program, students will discover the voice and story behind the sword through primary and secondary sources and participate in an artifact investigation activity. At the end of the session, they will connect the story of the sword to science, history, art, and maybe even their own experiences. Students are encouraged to discover an artifact in their home, conduct a short investigation of the object, and create art that connects the artifact to the story they unearthed.

Most of our virtual education programs are scheduled through ZOOM Cloud-based video conferencing. ZOOM is free to use and requires minimal equipment. For more information, please visit:

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Practice critical thinking through primary source investigation, and  
  • Explore common natural disasters in the Atlantic Ocean basin. 

VA Science (2018): 

  • Elementary: 4.4 (a,b), 4.7, 5.2(a), 5.3, 5.8 (a,b,d)
  • Middle: 6.3(a), 6.6(b,d), 6.9(e)

VA History (2015): 

  • VS.7(a), USI.1(a), USI.9(e)

English (2017): 

  •  4.1, 4.9, 5.1, 5.9, 6.1, 6.9 

Next Generation Science Standard:

  • 4-ESS2-2, 5-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3, MS-ESS3-2


Payment can be made before the program, or we can invoice following your program.

  • Programs at the Museum are $4.50 per student.
    All adults accompanying a field trip are free.
  • Programs at your location are $4.50 per student.
  • Virtual education programs are $125 per program.

Reservations are required for all programs and are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Programs fill quickly in the fall and spring, so make your reservations a minimum of two weeks in advance.

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