“Our Future Lies Over the Water”: Crossing the Atlantic in the Age of Steam
Before steamships, ocean journeys were dangerous, dirty, and miserable, but the great ocean liners of the late 1800s allowed people to cross the Atlantic in relative comfort and safety, uniting the “New World” with the “Old World” in the process. Learn about life on the celebrated ships of the steam age by examining postcards, photographs, maps, and other artifacts from the Morse Ocean Liner Collection at the Osher Map Library.

Grade Levels: 4-12

Time Allotment: 45-50 minutes for classroom visits; 90-100 minutes for field trips

Maine Social Studies Standards:
   D1: Geographic Knowledge, Concepts, Themes, and Patterns
   E1: Historical Knowledge, Concepts, Themes, and Patterns


Intended to be completed in the classroom before the scheduled field trip or class visit, the pre-teaching activity will give students some familiarity with the terms, ideas, and visuals, that they will see during the actual visit.

PDF Introduction to Steamships Worksheet
PDF Answer Key

Guided Inquiry Exercise

During this portion of the visit, students will be asked to look closely at twelve to twenty maps that fit within the curriculum theme. Each student will need to find: (1) something they recognize from previous class lessons or from the pre-teaching activity; (2) something they find interesting and want to point out to their classmates; (3) something they would like to know more about.

Examples of Items Used:
(Set of maps will likely vary from visit to visit)

Interactive Activity

OML curriculum themes have optional hands-on activities or group-games that can be done in conjunction with the Guided Inquiry exercise.

    Ocean Liner Game


To schedule, please email Renee Keul at rkeul@usm.maine.edu or fill out a visit request form.

*For large groups or groups with a flexible time frame, take a peek at our related partnership program,
Transportation and Tourism, with Victoria Mansion!

Return to Field Trips & Class Visits Page