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I grew up in Ann Arbor, just blocks away from the Exhibit Museum of Natural History and the Kelsey Museum of Anthropology. As a child, these destinations were second, only to the playground. I marveled at old and dusty things, with a child’s curiosity. I collected fossils, stamps and coins, as windows to an ancient world. I read books and drew pictures, of mummies, pyramids, ancient warriors and, of course, ships. My high school Humanities teachers, pulled everything together. They combined the art, literature, social science and history of ancient cultures, in an exciting and immediate way. It perpetuates my fascination, and work, to this day.


The following drawing projects, use boats and ships of the World as our main characters. The ships become our “Time Machines” as we explore the lifeways of the ancient, and more recent cultures which created them. Multiple-session workshops are available for all topics, resulting in 4-8 page books. These workshops emphasize and develop art, research and writing skills. Student drawings, and the stories they write from them, are REMARKABLE.

Select from the following topics, to introduce or compliment your World History Curriculum: You’ll find Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Explorers, Pirates, Whalers, and more…though, last year, my most requested World History Workshop was “TITANIC”. I wonder why?


1 . Egyptian Ship . 500 BC Pharaoh’s Power Expands From the Nile

2 . Greek Bireme . 500 BC Greek Influence in the Mediterranean

3 . Roman Galley . 40 BCE nd of the Republic and the Battle of Actium

4 . Roman Merchant . 50 ADExpanding Trade in a Growing Empire

5 . Viking Ship . 1100s Norse Exploration and Conquest

6 . Caravel . 11-1300s . High-Castled Ships of the English Kings

7 . Carrack . 14-1500s Early Explorers

8 . SANTA MARIA . 1492 Columbus’ Voyage to the New World

9  Spanish Galleon . 15-1600 sWealth of the New World to Spain

10 . Pirate Ship . 16-1700s Lifestyles and Lore of the Buccaneer

11 . Windjammer . 1800s World Trade, Cape Horn and the Orient

12 . Whaling Ship . 1800s Lifestyles of Whales and Whalers

13 . GREAT EASTERN . 1850s Largest Ship of Her Day-Sail and Steam

14 . TITANIC . 1900sTourism, Transatlantic Travel Tragedy at Sea

15 . WESTERN UNION . 1936-dateThe Last Cable Schooner-Communication


“Tom develops an immediate rapport with students. He inspires them to reach inside themselves, to discover their own potential…He creates a very accepting yet dynamic environment in which students are excited to try new things.”

– Mary Knight, Coordinator, Writer-in-residence, Suttons Bay Schools

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