What we teach

In 1860, 3,494 people called Austin, Texas home, 977 of them enslaved. As educators working with one of Austin’s few resources for pre-Civil War cultural heritage, we ask and explore questions about what life was like in Austin then, what was it like twenty years later, as Texas emerged from Reconstruction, and what it was like in the early twentieth century, when, for example, students flocked to the University of Texas at Austin in ever-increasing numbers.

Life in Austin and Texas from 1840 to 1930 forms the core of the educational program for K-12 students. The Neill-Cochran House witnessed the successes and failures of our community from 1855 onward. Drawing on the story of its builder, its original owner, and occupants from the State School for the Blind and the Federal War Hospital, renters, and on the Neills and Cochrans, we put the history of Austin and of Texas at young visitors’ fingertips through guided tours, hands-on explorations, and map reading activities.


TEKS alignments available! Download our educator packet for more information.

Field Trips and Educator Resources

Option A: 2 hours ($3/child)

Docent-led tour of Historic house and Dependency focusing on architecture and the history of Austin and Texas

Option B: 3 hours ($4/child)

Add to your visit with a map study workshop that leads students from the 1839 Waller Plan up through the 1980s

Option C: 4 hours ($6/child)

Incorporate a workshop to introduce students to the process of making homemade ice cream and lemonade.  Pairs well with lunch and play time on the museum grounds.  Maybe be done with the map study workshop or on its own.

We require at least one adult chaperone for every ten students. Chaperones attend free of charge.

Student Objectives

Use inference and observation skills to think about how different kinds of people lived in Austin during the 1800s.

Build map skills by looking at different kinds of maps made of Austin between 1839 and 1985.
Describe ways in which Austin has grown and changed over its history.

Locate and describe basic architectural features such as columns, symmetry, and millwork.

Guiding Questions

As Austin grew and changed, how did the lives of those who lived in the Neill-Cochran House change with it?

What can we learn about what life was like in the Neill-Cochran House by looking at how it was built? What can we learn about what life was like in Austin?

Book or Inquire about a Field Trip to the Neill-Cochran House Museum

Answer a few short questions below and a member of staff will be in touch within 2 business days. Questions? Prefer to work over email or by phone? Contact us by email or call our office at 512.478.2335.

This program is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.