teen programs

education is key

At Independence Seaport Museum, we believe education is key for inspiring future generations of thinkers, historians, engineers, builders, and conservationists.  All of our programs center around not only our mission, but how the skills learned can be adapted to their daily lives and help improve their community.  We offer a wide array of programs suitable for high school students. 

River Ambassadors

The River Ambassadors program is a ten-week, paid work and learning experience for Philadelphia teens entering 10th-12th grade. The River Ambassadors program trains teens to work as ambassadors of sustainability, STEM and history for Independence Seaport Museum visitors. Our unique program formal allows high school students to earn money, learn about the science and history of the Delaware, and move forward as resources to and advocates for their respective communities. 

Ambassadors will receive training in community-based leadership, research, and museum education. The program utilizes a humanities-driven STEM model, which encourages a holistic understanding of the history and science of the Delaware River. The program puts equal emphasis on academic, professional, trade, and 21st century life skills. At the end of the program, participants will have a chance to share what they learned to an audience of city-leaders, professionals, and their families.

After a training period, the ambassadors will work in teams to teach to lessons a week for the public, in our interactive Learning Lab. Ambassadors are encouraged to pick lessons that they find the most interesting and add their own spin to those lessons. Additionally, they will work on a number of projects that utilize our collections, boat shop, and the Delaware River.

Skills acquired as an Ambassador:

  • Professional networking.

  • Presenting lessons, public speaking, and museum education.

  • Problem solving and teamwork.

  • Researching, interpreting, and synthesizing scientific and historical information.

While the program is led by our education department, experts across fields of science, history, art, and politics will come in and speak with participants on a weekly basis. Ambassadors will also take fieldtrips to visit other history and science institutions and participate in collaborative projects with other teen programs in the city. College and career-readiness are built into the curriculum to ensure that ambassadors are prepared for life after high-school.

By the end of the program, ambassadors will have a better understanding of the principles of sustainability, STEM, and history. Ambassadors will be equipped to be change-makers in their neighborhoods, schools, and the greater Philadelphia community. 

A Week in the Life of a River Ambassador!

Who Should Apply?

  • Entering grades 10-12 or equivalent high school level enrollment.
  • Available for the duration of the program: June 24th – August 23rd (after school starting August 26th).
  • Enrolled in a high school within the city of Philadelphia.
  • Eligible to work in the city of Philadelphia.
  • Able to secure a work permit (if under 18 years old).

Lead support for Independence Seaport Museum’s River Ambassadors is provided by the William Penn Foundation. Support also provided by:

  • The W. W. Smith Charitable Trust.
  • The Hamilton Family Charitable Trust.
  • The Arcadia Foundation.
  • The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation.
  • The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.
Workers restoring boats at The Independence Seaport Museum

Sailor Program

The SAILOR STEM Program takes aim at connecting our region’s youth to the water through wooden boatbuilding.  Our hands on approach encourages growth in Engineering, Mathematics, and the Sciences as well as team building, problem solving, and leadership.  

visit the seaport museum

Immerse yourself in award-winning and interactive exhibits and climb aboard the oldest floating steel warship in the world on Cruiser Olympia and submerge yourself aboard the World War II-era Submarine Becuna.