Days/Hours of operation: The Governor Ross Plantation is open on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4. The last tour begins at 3:30 p.m. because it takes a minimum of 1 hr. to tour the mansion only. Student groups may make arrangements to tour the plantation at other times by contacting the office manager of the Seaford Historical Society @302-628-9828 Mon.-Thurs. 10-4 and Sunday 1-4. The length of student tours may be scheduled depending on what activities will meet curriculum needs. The student tours can range from 1 hr. to 2 ½ hrs. For more details see the website.
Guided lesson/tour: Available. Please call at least two weeks in advance to reserve a time if you will be visiting as a group of 10 or more. You may also visit anytime during posted hours if you are in a group of five or less. This will be a docent led tour. The Gov. Ross Plantation is a site on the Delaware History Trail. Signage for many of the buildings is located near each structure and may be read independently if visiting during non-operational hours. The plantation and the Seaford Museum are also both geocaching sites. Inpiduals with limited mobility may view a video of the 2nd floor of the Ross Mansion since an elevator is not available.
In addition to touring the Gov. Ross Mansion completed in 1860, visitors can tour the only documented log Slave Quarter in Delaware, an A.J. Downing Ross cottage, and learn about farm practices of the 19th century by touring the Granary, a Smokehouse, and privy. Also on the plantation are corn cribs, a stable, and an ash house foundation. Pre-arranged student tours may also include playing Victorian games, a boy and a girl dressing in Victorian period costumes, and hands-on activities grinding coffee and shelling corn. The Governor Ross Plantation tells the story of family life during the mid-19th century. This includes farming and the importance of slavery on a plantation, Civil War involvement as a Southern sympathizer, economic and political factors of the time period, as well as social events of a prominent family in Western Sussex County,
Programs/exhibits: Tour guides lead groups through the Ross Mansion telling stories of a wealthy family during the Victorian Era. The mansion displays Victorian Period furnishings, some of which belonged to the Ross family. Outbuildings display a large assortment of artifacts that add to the story of farming and slavery during the time period of the Civil War. Educational tours can be structured to enhance elementary through high school Common Core with advanced notice. As many as 100 high school students may visit the plantation for an all-day experience. Students would be separated into 8 groups to rotate through 8 distinct stations to gain an in-depth understanding of plantation life during the mid-19th century. Fifty to sixty elementary students may tour the plantation for 2 ½ hrs. They would be pided into 4 groups to rotate through 5 stations for several hands-on experiences: tour the mansion, play Victorian games and grind coffee, tour the only documented log Slave Quarter in DE and shell corn, play Victorian field games, and participate in a demonstration of children’s Victorian clothing. Students may bring lunches to eat on the grounds. For large groups, modern port-o-potties are available. After spending 2 ½ hours at the plantation and eating lunch, students may travel less than 2 miles to the Seaford Museum for a 1 ½ to 2 hour tour before returning to school.
Ages/Grade levels: The Ross Plantation has designed tours that can interest all school age youth. However, targeted programs to meet Common Core are best suited for grades 3- 10. Materials relating to the time period may be purchased at the Gift Shop located at the mansion. General information is available at the website. Student tour information and tour requests are available on the Kids and Students and Registration left hand tabs on the website.
Cost: Adults $5 each. A combination ticket for both the plantation and the museum is $8. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Children over 12 are charged $5 each at each site and $8 each for a combination ticket. The following prices apply to student pre-arranged tours lasting 2-2 1/2 hours at the plantation and 1 1/2-2 hours at the museum: Students are charged $3 each at each site, but a combination tour for both the plantation and the museum is $5. One chaperone for every 10 students is required. Staff members are free but additional chaperones are charged $3 each. Educators wanting to bring groups of students and request an all-day tour of the plantation are charged $5 each. One chaperone for every 10 students is required. Staff members are free but additional chaperones are charged $5 each.