The Plymouth Scene by Lowell School in Philadelphia PA

Dan E. Paul
Plimoth Patuxet Museums Collections
Children dressed in costume in a field dressed to replicate a Plymouth scene.


In a time when many students were children of immigrants, teaching about Thanksgiving was seen as one way to help Americanize them. Each November, school children made stereotypical “Pilgrim” and “Indian” costumes with black hats and white cardboard collars, and feathered headdresses. They often put on plays or pageants telling the story of The First Thanksgiving.

Discussion Questions

  • What is happening in this photo?
  • What story(ies) are the students telling about the 1621 harvest celebration?
  • What is missing from this photo?
  • After reading the eye witness account of the harvest celebration, what did these children get right?
  • What changes would you recommend to make the scene more accurate?
  • If you were to take this photo today, what would you do differently?