As part of Oak Alley Foundation’s mission, we are charged with the responsibility of “instruction, education, enlightenment, information, edification and cultural benefit of the public.” Oak Alley Plantation currently has an educational program for field trips, grades K-8, that offers a hands on, student oriented, educational experience to learn about the history of this landmark.
The educational team has since realized the demand to become accessible to student groups whose geographical location makes it impossible to visit the plantation. A virtual educational tour was designed and implemented to help supply that demand.
What is the Virtual Educational Tour?
A 35-minute live video streaming with your class or group of students. Your host, Gary Dauphin, is the Director of Education at Oak Alley Plantation and a former classroom educator as well as an Apple Distinguished Educator.
We currently use Skype and Facebook Live to provide the live, virtual experience. We want your students to feel free to employ critical thinking skills, and to ask important questions in real time- so we try to use tools that allows two-way interaction.
Student pre-study materials are available for download. They will be sent after you register for your session.
Limited times slots are available. Video tours must be pre-scheduled and are subject to reschedule or cancellation due to unfavorable weather conditions.
At Oak Alley, we try to share a specific history of our plantation based around four general subject areas:
- Louisiana French Creole Life - Discussions regarding the Roman family and their French Creole lifestyle in the 1800s. What does it mean to be a French Creole? How did that impact their social lives, their families, their business and their religion? What is the history of the Big House and the alley of oaks?
- Slavery at Oak Alley - a detailed re-telling of the lives of individuals who were enslaved here at Oak Alley- what their lives were like, as well as their duties, their families, and their community.
- Sugarcane Farming - a detailed discussion on sugarcane's impact on our economy and culture, past and present. Why was sugarcane such an important crop in the 1800s? How did it impact slavery? How did it impact the plantation owners? How is sugarcane planted, harvested, and ultimately turned into the sugar we eat today?
- US Civil War - a short but rich discussion about how the US Civil War impacted Louisiana and the river region surrounding Oak Alley Plantation. Who was fighting and why? Did any battles take place in our area? Why wasn't the Big House mansion at Oak Alley destroyed in the war? How did the outcome of the war affect the people living on these very grounds?
Schools may choose any one of the subject area above, or elect to experience an 'Overview of the History of Oak Alley Plantation' session which touches very briefly on all four subjects.
All of the sessions are approximately 35 minutes long, depending on your schedule and the Q&A time.
We recommend keeping age groups together so that we may deliver age-appropriate levels of discussions to your students. Grades 3 to 5 work well together, and keeping grades 6 to 8 together seems to work for most schools.
Availability and cost:
- There is no charge for this educational service, which is made possible by the non-profit Oak Alley Foundation.
- Available on a first-come, first-serve basis for any English-speaking school group. Tours are available Monday through Thursday only, with Monday and Thursday being the most available days.
- Due to high demand for this event, please pardon us if we cannot meet your specific request.
- Events are scheduled from 9am to 4pm in Central Standard Time. If you live in another timezone, please adjust accordingly.
- Tours are given on a "weather permitting basis". Our portion of the tour is outdoors, there could be chance of cancelling and rescheduling if weather does not permit.
- We currently offer this service using on the Microsoft Skype application. Please be certain that Skype / FaceBook Live video works in your school.
- We reserve the right to adjust these terms as needed.
To request a tour, click here.
What happens next:
- We will email you back confirming the receipt of your request.
- If we are able to meet your requested times, we will respond back and let you know. If not, we will ask you to submit alternate dates or times.
- Once accepted, we will ask you to set up a test video call to your classroom, using the exact equipment you would use during the video tour. Together, we will test your equipment and make sure all is working as expected.
- Download the study materials provided by Oak Alley Plantation. Determine which ones are best suited for your students, and plan a class period around discussing the pre-study information.
Equipment & facilities you must provide:
- A room large enough to hold your class or the intended audience.
- High speed Internet into the presentation room.
- A smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac to participate in the video call.
- A microphone for asking questions or keyboard for typing questions.
- Audio speakers that are loud enough so that the entire audience may hear the tour.
- A projector or large screen TV, large enough to display the video tour to the entire room.
- Is this free? Yes as it is a fulfillment to Oak Alley Foundation’s mission. (Mission statement below)
- Does this tour go inside the Big House mansion? It does not include interior footage of the Big House as it’s not needed as a visual descriptive for this tour. (Coming soon..… We do provide a brief, downloadable video tour of the Big House interior for those interested (Coming Soon!).
- Our school does not allow Skype to be used in the classroom, what should we do? Do you support other streaming video software? We can certainly use Skype or FaceBook Live or FaceTime. We are open to discussing that with you and open to using any technology which will help us fulfill our mission. Drop us an email and let's discuss options.
To request a tour, click here.
Mission Statement: Oak Alley Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public non-profit trust organized and operated exclusively for charitable, literary and educational purposes. Its Trustees are charged with maintaining and preserving the mansion (Big House) and surrounding twenty-five (25) acre National Historic Landmark site for public exhibition as an historical monument to the times and area in which the property was built and for the instruction, education, enlightenment, information, edification and cultural benefit of the citizens of the State of Louisiana, the United States and the public generally.