Hamilton Civic Museums - Field Trip Planner


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Battlefield House Museum & Park - see location details

Holiday Traditions with the Gage Family

Many of our 21st century Christmas activities find their origins in holiday traditions from 200 years ago. Through hands-on, inquiry-based activities, students will explore the Christmas traditions of the Gage family and will experience the sights, scents and sounds of an early 19th century Christmas

Grade(s): Kindergarten (SK); Two (2); Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Communities in Canada, 1780-1850 (3)
Program Components: An interactive experience at one of Ontario’s oldest historic homes allows students to engage in their learning goals by analysing and evaluating the way of life in Canada at the beginning of the 19th century, describe some of the changes between that era and the present day and investigate some of the challenges that different groups and communities faced and the key measures taken to address these challenges. Hands-on activities such as playing with early settler toys, cooking, and making a traditional craft, bring to life the experiences of the Gage family and help students to compare some traditions and celebrations among diverse groups and at different times.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student
Available: mid-November through December

Many Hands Make Light Work

James and Mary Gage and their 10 children worked hard to ensure that their farm provided them the necessities of life. Members of a family living 200 years ago had specific roles that changed with each day and each season and had to rely on one another to meet these responsibilities. Participation in hands-on, inquiry-based activities associated with work and play allows students to explore the comparisons between their lives and those of the Gage family and gives students an appreciation of the role a museum plays in a community.

Grade(s): Kindergarten (JK, SK); One (1)
Subject(s): Social Studies (1); Science and Technology (1)
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity; Understanding Life Systems; Understanding Matter and Energy; Understanding Earth and Space Systems
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities; Needs and Characteristics of Living Things; Energy in our Lives; Daily and Seasonal Changes
Program Components: An interactive experience at one of Ontario’s oldest historic homes allows students to engage in their learning goals by investigating, analysing and evaluating the needs and characteristics of plants and animals, the impact of seasonal changes on living things, how a person’s roles, responsibilities and relationships change over time and how different types of energy are used in daily life. Hands-on activities such as cooking and other activities relating to the particular season of the year bring to life the experiences of the Gage family and help students to draw conclusions about their own lives and experiences.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student
Available: September to November and January to June

The American Occupation of Stoney Creek During the War of 1812

June 6, 2013 marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Stoney Creek, an event that had a great impact on the lives of the Gage family. The War of 1812 brought the battlefront to the home front in Upper Canada. On June 5, 1813, approximately 3,000 American troops occupied the Gage house and property. In the early morning hours of June 6, 1813, 700 British soldiers attacked under cover of darkness, resulting in the withdrawal of the American troops. Participation in hands-on, inquiry-based activities allows students to interpret and analyse the hardships and realities of the War of 1812 and the challenges faced by the soldiers, militia and civilians of the time.

Grade(s): Seven (7)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges
Program Components: An interactive experience at one of Ontario’s oldest historic homes with a focus on the Battle of Stoney Creek, the program encourages students to use their schema to analyse and evaluate some of the challenges facing individuals and groups in Canada between 1800 and 1850, discuss factors leading to some key events that occurred in the Canadas between 1800 and 1850 and to learn about significant individuals and groups in Canada during this period, discussing their impact on the development of the country. Students learn about the life of a soldier of the War of 1812 and how this event affected Canada and Canadians through hands-on activities such as encampment life and cooking, writing with a quill pen and examining a British soldier’s clothing and equipment. A visit from a uniformed 1812 soldier may be possible, subject to scheduling.
Duration: 1.5 or 3 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

* $9.00 per student for 3 hour program


The Gage Family: The Settlement of the Community of Saltfleet

The Gage family settled in Saltfleet Township (Stoney Creek) in the 1790s, at a time when Upper Canada saw an increase in immigrants from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe. During the settlement years of the early 19th century, James and Mary Gage cleared and worked the land with their ten children, facing significant social and environmental challenges. Participation in hands-on, inquiry-based activities associated with the daily way of life of the Gage family allows students to explore the changes between then and now and how the lives of this family influence the way we live today.

Grade(s): Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Communities in Canada, 1780-1850
Program Components: An interactive experience at one of Ontario’s oldest historic homes allows students to engage in their learning goals by analysing and evaluating the way of life in Canada at the beginning of the 19th century, describe some of the changes between that era and the present day and investigate some of the challenges that different groups and communities faced and the key measures taken to address these challenges. Hands-on activities such as cooking, writing with a quill pen and dressing up in reproduction clothing bring to life the experiences of the Gage family and help students to draw conclusions about their own lives and experiences.
Duration: 1.5 or 3 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

* $9.00 per student for 3 hour program


Whirl and Spin

In 1789, the Gage family came to Upper Canada from the United States. With family origins in Ireland and Wales, they brought with them traditions that would remind them of home as they adapted to their new surroundings. Participation in hands-on, inquiry-based activities associated with work and recreation allows students to explore and evaluate elements of early 19th century technology and family traditions and celebrations and compare them to their own lives today.

Grade(s): Two (2)
Subject(s): Science and Technology; Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Structures and Mechanisms; Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Movement; Changing Family and Community Traditions
Program Components: An interactive experience at one of Ontario’s oldest historic homes allows students to engage in their learning goals by investigating, analysing and evaluating some mechanisms that include simple machines and enable movement, and to compare some traditions and celebrations among diverse groups and at different times. Hands-on activities such as cooking, examining how a spinning wheel works, playing a period game and experiencing an early Canadian traditional dance, bring to life the traditions and celebrations of the Gage family and the simple machines that assisted and entertained them in their daily lives.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

Dundurn Castle - see location details

1837: Rebellion on the Rise! - A joint propgram with The Hamilton Military Museum

The causes of the Rebellion of 1837 are examined in this interactive, hands-on program. Students will explore, investigate and discuss key personalities, events, lifestyles and food-ways relevant to the Upper Canada Rebellion. *Note: This program does not include a full tour of Dundurn Castle. A full tour can be added for $2.50 per student. Please allow for an additional .5 hr

Grade(s): Seven (7)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): Canada 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges
Program Components: At Dundurn Castle, students will investigate beliefs and arguments that favoured and opposed the rebellion, and explore food-ways while preparing a ‘Journey Cake’ recipe in the historic kitchen. At The Hamilton Military Museum, students will explore the lifestyle of soldiers as they try on reproduction uniforms and handle reproduction equipment, and will map out a strategic defense around the grand home of Family Compact member, Colonel Allan MacNab, on Burlington Heights.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $8.00 per student

Energy Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Everything that happens is a result of using some form of energy. Although technologies and devices have changed over time, this governing law remains the same. Victorians had their own ways of reducing and reusing energy. This program will introduce students to the topic of energy and energy transformations. Join costumed interpreters for a tour of Dundurn Castle, and experience how energy was used in the past, while comparing its use to the present day.

Grade(s): Five (5)
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Earth and Space Systems
Curriculum Topic(s): Conservation of Energy and Resources
Program Components: While touring the home of Sir Allan MacNab, students will discover and discuss forms of energy, laws and resource use. Through visuals and hands-on demonstrations students will compare and contrast their present lives with the lives of those who lived in the past. The program will include discussions on energy conservation, challenging the students to think about how they use energy and what they can do to improve or change their consumption habits. Students will then complete a small project drawing a floor plan of their own home, showing ways energy and resource use can be changed and/or reduced in each room.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.00 per student

Find Fin

While in Montreal, Sir Allan Napier MacNab bought two poodles for his daughters Sophia and Minnie, which they named Mr. Fin and Finette. In 1848, their beloved pet Fin went missing! Eager to find him, the MacNab family advertised in The Daily Spectator and offered a reward for his safe return. Today, we ask students to help search Dundurn Castle’s rooms and complete hands-on activities in order to find Fin.

Grade(s): Kindergarten (K), One (1)
Subject(s): Belonging and Contributing (K); Self-Regulation and Well-Being (K); Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours (K); Language (1); Mathematics (1); Social Studies (1)
Curriculum Strand(s): Oral communication (1); Reading (1); Number Sense and Numeration (1); Geometric and Spatial Sense (1); Patterning and Algebra (1); Data Management and Probability (1); Heritage and Identity (1)
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities
Program Components: While in search of Fin, students will explore the former home of the MacNab family. Along the way, students will use their inquiry and problem-solving skills to follow clues, navigate the home using maps and complete hands-on activities. They will help the Butler plan a dinner party while practicing their mathematical skills. With costumed interpreters guiding them, students will learn about patterning, sort reproduction objects into categories, and play with old-fashioned toys.
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: $4.00 per student

* For groups over 60 an additional .5hr is needed. This program includes a tour of the main and upper floor of the museum - for a full house program, an additional .5hr can be booked for an additional $1.50 per student


Good Help is Hard to Find

Do your students have what it takes to be 'good help'? Dundurn Castle was dependant on hard working servants above and below stairs. Castle servants in 1855 worked hard to ensure that the MacNab's were provided with every necessity, comfort and luxury available. By exploring - comparing and contrasting - their own lives with servant's lives in mid-19th century Ontario, students gain perspective on the significance that traditions, rules, respect, roles, responsibilities, nature and technology have on one's identity.

Grade(s): One (1); Two (2); Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (1&2); People and Environments (1&3)
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); The Local Community (1); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2) Living and Working in Ontario (3)
Program Components: Students prepare a recipe in the historic kitchen, view historic drawings and paintings on an educational tour of the home and explore the impact that nature and technology had on the traditions, roles and responsibilities of a servant’s daily life in early to mid-19th century Ontario.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $8.00 per student

Growing in Hamilton

In 1846, Sophia MacNab wrote in her diary: “Minnie and I began our gardens today. We are going to try and see who will have the nicest one.” During the 19th century, children were encouraged to experience the wonders of gardening, and a formal education often included the study of botany.

Grade(s): Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies; Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): People and Environments, Earth and Space Systems; Life Systems
Curriculum Topic(s): Living and Working in Ontario; Growth and Changes in Plants; Soils in the Environment
Program Components: Students will discover and develop an understanding of how our present society compares to 19th century communities in Canada through this combination Social Studies and Science program. While exploring the Kitchen Garden through hands-on activities, students will learn about the importance of plants, soil, and composting. They will also have the opportunity to plant seeds to bring back to the classroom. To complement the study of the garden and its produce, students will use what they have gathered in the garden to prepare a delicious seasonal recipe in the historic kitchen. A tour of Dundurn Castle will frame the ideas discussed in the garden and kitchen. Portions of this program take place outside in the Kitchen Garden. Please dress appropriately.
Duration: 2.25 hours
Cost: $8.00 per student

* Allow an extra .5 hour for groups with over 60 students


Guided Tour

Dundurn Castle, a grand Italianate-style villa, was the home of Allan MacNab, one of Canada’s first Premiers. On a guided tour of more than 40 rooms on three floors, students will gain perspective on the life of the MacNab family and their servants working below stairs. Students will also explore the rich history of the property including the War of 1812. Burlington Heights, where Dundurn now stands, was the location of a large British Military post in 1812. During the military occupation the landscape was drastically altered. Some of these elements were later incorporated by MacNab into his home, and will be seen during the tour. *This tour can be matched with the one-hour visit to The Hamilton Military Museum located on the same site. * Please note that this is a private tour and can be adjusted to meet your curriculum needs.

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: $5.00 per student

Sophia's Diary

In 1846 Sophia and her sister Minnie received a gift of a “beautiful little book” to be used as a diary. During that year Sophia MacNab spent hours writing in her diary about her family, friends, servants, outings, trips and experiences. Sophia’s days were filled with order, responsibility and rules which were common to children growing up at that time.

Grade(s): One (1)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities
Program Components: Through an interactive, hands-on tour of Dundurn Castle each student will be given a “beautiful little book” to complete different activities and exercises while learning about the relationships, rules and responsibilities of Sir Allan MacNab’s daughters Anne-Jane, Sophia, and Minnie as well as Sir Allan’s servants. At the end of their visit each student will take their book home as a memento of their trip.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

* please allow for an extra .5 hr for groups over 60.


Urban Life

In 1846 the once rural town of Hamilton became a city, yet how did this once rural area grow and become an urban area? The survival and growth of a city is dependent upon its geographic location, industries, community services, and businesses. Using a variety of techniques such as timelines, students will explore the growth from a farming community to a city.

Grade(s): One (1); Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (1); People and Environments (1&3)
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); The Local Community (1); Living and Working in Ontario (3);
Program Components: In a mapping activity, students will use basic map skills to gain an understanding of the local community, including how people lived, worked and interacted in early Upper Canadian communities. Students will discuss the development of urban areas in a 19th century context during an interactive tour of Dundurn Castle.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.00 per student

Vanishing Castle

A restored historic house provides an excellent atmosphere for student-driven learning. Using historic artifacts and documents students gain an increased understanding of the diversity of our past, and will be encouraged to cultivate their historical inquiry skills and communicate their new discoveries.

Grade(s): Seven (7)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): Canada 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges
Program Components: With the aid of a costumed interpreter, the students will explore ideas about various groups living in Canada from 1812 to 1855. Using historic artifacts in context, primary and secondary sources and architectural elements of the historic house, students will explore a wide range of topics relevant to the history of Canada. Incorporating the teenaged diary of Sophia MacNab, letters and reports concerning the activities of Sir Allan MacNab and discussion of the life of the servants in the house, students will contrast their modern life with the dramatic events and challenges of the past. Students will view familiar topics from a historical perspective, discuss multiple viewpoints and consider their personal reactions and connections to these events.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.00 per student

Victorian Christmas

Have you ever wondered where Christmas holiday traditions came from? Why do some people decorate Christmas trees and hang stockings? Where does the tradition of gift giving come from? For the most part we have the Victorians to thank for our modern Christmas traditions. During the holiday season Dundurn Castle is decorated in the tradition of an 1855 Hamilton family Christmas. This program can be adapted to accommodate various curriculum topics and grades.

Grade(s): Two (2); Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Communities in Canada 1780-1850 (3)
Program Components: This program incorporates a number of elements that enhance specific curriculum expectations. Students will learn how Victorian holiday traditions such as food, decorations, games and symbols have been shared and passed down to future generations. As well, students will examine life in Upper Canada and compare it to present day communities.
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: $3.50 per student
Available: December to January

Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum - see location details

Camouflage Collage

This project allows students to organize their artworks to create a specific effect using the elements of design; identify negative and positive shapes in works of art, and identify how shading of shapes can be used to create the illusion of depth.

Grade(s): Five (5)
Subject(s): The Arts
Curriculum Topic(s): Visual Arts
Program Components: The program consists of two parts. During the participatory workshop portion of the program students will create collages, using various paper sources that demonstrate colour opposites, moods and positive and negative shapes. Examples of camouflage in nature will add a playful element to this fantastic program! A visit to the museum exhibition space will enhance their experience and give them an opportunity to learn how to look at and critique art objects in a museum setting.
Duration: 1.5 or 2 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

* $6.00 per student for the 2 hour option


Paper Quilt

This project allows students to explore working in two dimensions, to recognize and name the primary and secondary colours, and to identify and describe a variety of textures in the picturesque museum setting. Through a visit to the museum exhibition space students will also learn how to look at and critique art objects.

Grade(s): Two (2)
Subject(s): The Arts
Curriculum Topic(s): Visual Arts
Program Components: The program consists of two parts. During the participatory workshop portion of the program, students will review the colour wheel and work with textured papers in primary and secondary colours to create a stylized stained-glass quilt that they will be very proud of! A visit to the museum exhibition space will enhance their experience and give them an opportunity to learn how to look at and critique art objects in a museum setting.
Duration: 1.5 or 2 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

* $6.00 per student for the 2 hour option


Texture Boxes

This project allows students to explore different textures and to work in a three-dimensional medium in the picturesque museum setting. They will also explore their response to their own and others’ art work, and relate this to their own experiences. Through a visit to the museum exhibition space students will also learn how to look at and critique art objects in a museum setting.

Grade(s): One (1)
Subject(s): The Arts
Curriculum Topic(s): Visual Arts
Program Components: The program consists of two parts. During the participatory workshop portion of the program, students will create hanging, three-dimensional, decorative boxes using specific elements of design including colour, shape, form, space and texture, and discuss their responses to the piece. Through a visit to the museum exhibition space students will also learn how to look at and critique art objects.
Duration: 1.5 or 2 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

* $6.00 per student for 2 hour option


The Ancaster Trials - 1814 Bloody Assize

During the War of 1812, more than 200 men in Upper Canada alone would eventually be accused of treason. By the spring of 1814 there were 19 men, captured or arrested in various parts of the province for treasonous acts, awaiting trial. Explore what life was like in a developing British colony, identify the theme of patriotism which brought so many people to Canada, and explore some of the key personalities who played a role during this significant period of our history

Grade(s): Seven (7)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): New France and British North America, 1713-1800
Program Components: Students will explore educational and visual props and learn of the war loss claims of Ancaster residents whose farms were among those used to supply the troops stationed at Burlington Heights. Through interactive discussion they will be asked to determine if the actions taken by the military were justified. They will then take part in a re-creation of an 1814 courtroom and learn of the fate of the accused. A brief history of the trial will be presented, along with a discussion about civil rights during wartime and some of the key people connected with Ancaster Bloody Assize as well as the effect it had on the families of those accused.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

The Art of War 1814 - 1914

This program was based on a recent War of1812 Bicentennial exhibition mounted by Fieldcote. Original 19th century caricature cartoons as well as WWI posters, will be used to demonstrate causes, consequences and grievances associated with the conflict. Students will produce their own two-dimensional works of art to communicate their ideas for a specific purpose or about a specific topic important to them. This exercise is part poster, part cartoon, and part personal propaganda. Students will view the caricatures and posters, and identify elements of design, both artistic and ideological, used to convey messages. By exploring the exhibition as well as their own art work and ideas, students will learn to identify the elements of design used for expressive purposes.

Grade(s): Four (4)
Subject(s): The Arts
Curriculum Topic(s): Visual Arts
Program Components: The program consists of two parts. A Power Point demonstration will explore how complex ideas and causes can be expressed, with the use of symbols and colour to influence a point of view. A discussion of the ideas behind the art follows. During the participatory workshop portion of the program, students will be able to create and take away their own one-of-a kind `artwork’.
Duration: 1.5 or 2 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

* $6.00 per student for the 2 hour option


Griffin House - see location details

An African-Canadian Settler Home

Come to Griffin House, once home of Enerals Griffin, an African- American immigrant in early Upper Canada. Explore the life of Enerals and his family, their part in the community and the landscape of the Dundas Valley. Learn about the black community in early Hamilton. Compare life in the Griffin family home to our home life today.

Grade(s): Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Communities in Canada, 1780-1850
Program Components: Students will participate in a tour of Griffin House and explore the life of its occupants and their community, describing their origins as early settlers in Upper Canada around 1800. Using a map showing pattern of settlement, pictures, vocabulary list and hands-on archaeological objects (with a brief explanation and diagram of how an archaeological dig is conducted), students will explore the Griffin story and Enerals’ life as a farmer in relation to local natural resources. A brief history of African- Canadian settlement will be presented. The story of “Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt” will be told which traces the life of Clara from slavery to freedom in Canada on the Underground Railroad.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

Early African-Canadian Settlers in Upper Canada

Come to Griffin House, home of Enerals Griffin, an African-American immigrant from Virginia who found a new life in Canada on a beautiful 50-acre farm in the Dundas Valley. Explore the life of Enerals, his migration to Canada from the United States and his life as an early settler. Discover why early African-Canadians tended to support the British Loyalist cause. Explore what life was like in a developing British colony, identify the theme of the Underground Railroad which brought so many people to Canada, and explore some of the key personalities who played a role during this significant period of our history, such as Harriett Tubman. Learn about the establishment of the African-Canadian community in early Hamilton.

Grade(s): Seven (7)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): New France and British North America, 1713-1800
Program Components: Students will participate in a tour of Griffin House and exploration of the life of its occupants as early settlers in British North America, describing their origins and examining key characteristics of life in English Canada. They will take part in an interactive component which explores the Griffin story accompanied by a map showing pattern of settlement, pictures, and hands-on archaeological objects (with a brief explanation and diagram of how an archaeological dig is conducted). A brief history of African-Canadian settlement will be presented, along with a discussion about civil rights and some of the key people connected with the movement from its beginnings in the cause of abolition (e.g. Harriett Tubman). Students will take home a handout on Griffin House and a quiz to be completed in the classroom.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

Follow the North Star - Griffin House

The colony of Upper Canada became home to many African- Americans fleeing the institution of slavery in the United States. Some stayed in Canada after emancipation while others returned. This program explores the ancient civilisation of Mali and then looks at the nature of slavery with its roots in Africa and examines how it was practiced in the United States and Canada in the 19th century as well as the trials and tribulations of those who fled its grip in search of a better life in our region.

Grade(s): Three (3); Seven (7)
Subject(s): Social Studies (3); History and Geography (7)
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (3); History (7)
Curriculum Topic(s): Communities in Canada, 1780-1850 (3); New France and British North America, 1713-1800 (7)
Program Components: Students will participate in a tour of Griffin House as an example of the simple domestic architecture available to newcomers to Ontario in the early to mid-19th century. Students will take part in an interactive component which explores the institution of slavery as practiced in both Canada and the United States, accompanied by maps showing patterns of the slave trade, early African-Canadian settlements, as well as pictures, early photographs and a vocabulary list. The famous Hamilton case of runaway slave Jesse Happy and his successful bid to remain in Canada will be discussed.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

Hamilton Childrens Museum - see location details

Digging Up The Past

Archaeologists are a lot like detectives; they figure out how people lived in the past by looking at the objects people have left behind. The objects that archaeologists dig up show us clues about where people lived, what they ate, what jobs they had and even what they did for fun. There is a-lot we can learn by ‘digging up the past’.

Grade(s): Kindergarten (JK/SK); One (1); Two (2); Three (3); Four (4); Five (5)
Subject(s): Personal and Social Development (K); Mathematics (K-5); Social Studies (1-4)
Curriculum Strand(s): Number Sense and Numeration (K-5); Measurement (K-5); Data Management and Probability (K-5); Heritage and Identity (1-3); People and Environments (1-4)
Curriculum Topic(s): Social Development (K); Emotional Development (K); Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); The Local Community (1); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Global Communities (2); Communities in Canada, 1780--1850 (3); Living and Working in Ontario (3); Political and Physical Regions of Canada (4)
Program Components: Through hands-on activities, students will become archaeologists and interpret the past. In groups, students will uncover and catalogue artifacts and use inquiry-based skills to measure and record data, and will then try to determine who might have lived on the land in the past.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Life by the Great Lakes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work and live on a ship? Through hands-on, inquiry-based activities and self-guided play, children will explore how to meet their basic needs in an unfamiliar environment.

Grade(s): Kindergarten (JK/SK); One (1); Two (2)
Subject(s): Belonging and Contributing (K); Self-Regulation and Well-Being (K); Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour (K); Problem Solving and Innovating (K); Science and Technology (1-&2), Social Studies (1-&2)
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (1-&2); People and Environments (1-&2); Understanding Life Systems (1-&2); Understanding Structures and Mechanisms (1-&2); Understanding Matter and Energy (1); Understanding Earth and Space Systems (2)
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); The Local Community (1); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Global Communities (2); Needs and Characteristics of Living Things (1); Materials, Objects and Everyday Structures (1); Energy in Our Lives (1); Growth and Changes in Animals (2); Movement (2); Air and Water in the Environment (2);
Program Components: Children will be guided through hands-on learning activities based around living on a ship. The science behind navigation, buoyance and healthy foods and bodies are just a few of the components included in this program.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Media Detectives

Get out your media magnifier and get ready to explore, discover and examine the meaning in media! The interactive and creative environment will help to develop critical thinking skills while experimenting with media literacy. Students will examine how media texts are constructed and why a particular media text is produced. This will help students understand the significance of media products in popular culture and to respond to these products critically, in order to distinguish between fact and opinion.

Grade(s): One (1); Two (2); Three (3); Four (4); Five (5)
Subject(s): Language; Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (1&2); People and Environments (3-5)
Curriculum Topic(s): Media Literacy (1-5); Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Living and Working in Ontario (3); Political and Physical Regions of Canada (4); the Role of Government and Responsible Citizenship (5)
Program Components: By exploring media literacy, students will engage in several hands-on activities designed to use a range of critical and creative thinking processes. This interactive program will assist them in making connections, planning and setting goals, analyzing and solving problems, and evaluating their choices. Students will also create a simple media piece.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Shipwrecked!

Welcome aboard the the HCM Eugenia! Your adventure aboard the ship will be cut short when our vessel is shipwrecked! What will you save from the ship? Where will you choose to settle? How will you rebuild your new society? Students will use inquiry-based skills to cooperatively survive in unchartered lands.

Grade(s): Three (3); Four (4); Five (5)
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Life Systems (3-5); Understanding Structures and Mechanisms (3-5); Understanding Matter and Energy (3&4); Understanding Earth and Space Systems (3)
Curriculum Topic(s): Growth and Changes in Plants (3); Strong and Stable Structures (3); Forces Causing Movement (3); Soils in the Environment (3); Habitats and Communities (4); Pulleys and Gears (4); Light and Sound (4); Human Organ Systems (5); Forces Acting on Structures and Mechanisms (5)
Program Components: Children will engage in hands-on science activities about being shipwrecked. Using critical thinking skills, they will determine where and how they should rebuild their new community.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

The Artisan Market

Welcome to the Hamilton Children’s Museum artisan market! Here you will find wild and wonderful crafts, hand-made by our student visitors. Come and see what unique and distinctive treasures you’ll want to take home!

Grade(s): One (1); Two (2), Three (3); Four (4); Five (5)
Subject(s): Mathematics; The Arts
Curriculum Strand(s): Number Sense and Numeration (1-5); Visual Arts (1-5)
Program Components: Students will create their own wares to sell in the museum marketplace, and will be responsible for getting their crafts ready for the market; selecting their craft, purchasing their supplies in the general store, measuring out the quantities and making the final product
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

The Great Escarpment Debate

The Niagara Escarpment, affectionately known as ‘the mountain’ in Hamilton, is recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. As a result, all Hamiltonians need to work together to balance the need for conservation with the need for development.

Grade(s): Three (3); Four (4); Five (5)
Subject(s): Social Studies; Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Structures and Mechanisms (3&5); People and Environments (3-5); Understanding Life Systems (3-5); Understanding Matter and Energy (3-5); Understanding Earth and Space Systems (3-5)
Curriculum Topic(s): Living and Working in Ontario (3); Growth and Changes in Plants (3); Strong and Stable Mechanisms (3); Forces Causing Movement (3); Soils (3); Habitats and Communities (4); Light and Sound (4); Rocks and Minerals (4); Political and Physical Regions in Canada (4); Role of Government and Responsible Citizenship (5); Human Organ Systems (5); Forces Acting on Structures (5); Properties and Changes in Matter (5); Conservation of Energy and Resources (5)
Program Components: All students will participate in a mock debate centering on the importance of balancing preservation with urban growth. In small groups, students will role play and use critical thinking skills to create arguments that either support or oppose the projected development somewhere on the escarpment. Each group will present their reasoning to the mock Niagara Escarpment Council, also made up of students, who will then make a final decision regarding the proposal.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Whose Park is it Anyway?

Gage Park, one of Hamilton’s largest parks, was not always a green space for public use. Before the land was sold to the City in 1918, the Gage family operated Jubilee Farms on the property and lived in the farmhouse that is now the Hamilton Children’s Museum. Gage Park officially opened in 1924 and has remained park land to this day.

Grade(s): Kindergarten (JK/SK); One (1); Two (2)
Subject(s): Belonging and Contributing (K); Self-Regulation and Well-Being (K); Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours (K); Problem Solving and Innovating (K); Mathematics (1&2); Science and Technology (1&2); Social Studies (1&2)
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Structures and Mechanisms (1); Understanding Matter and Energy (1); Geometry and Spatial Sense (1); Number Sense and Numeration (1&2); Measurement (1&2); Data Management and Probability (1&2); Understanding Earth and Space Systems (1&2); Understanding Life Systems (1&2); People and Environments (1&2)
Curriculum Topic(s): Needs and Characteristics of Living Things (1); Materials, Objects and Everyday Structures (1); Energy in our Lives (1); Daily and Seasonal Changes (1); The Local Community (1); Growth and Changes in Animals (2); Air and Water in the Environment (2); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2)
Program Components: Students will venture outside and explore the natural environment to learn about the relationship between living things and the land. Through various handson activities, students will examine human impact on the environment in the past, present and future. Students will also create a take-home piece designed to preserve our natural environment for future generations. This program is offered year-round and includes an outdoor component so please dress accordingly.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Hamilton Farmers' Market - see location details

Self-guided tour

The Hamilton Farmers’ Market is fully accessible, is located next door to the Central Public Library, and is just minutes from the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the James Street arts scene. Teachers are asked to please register all self-guided tours in advance. Free seasonal Hamilton Farmers’ Market colouring pages and picnic areas for break/lunch available upon request.


Hamilton Military Museum - see location details

1837: Rebellion on the Rise! - A joint propgram with Dundurn Castle

The causes of the Rebellion of 1837 are examined in this interactive, hands-on program. Students will explore, investigate and discuss key personalities, events, lifestyles and food-ways relevant to the Upper Canada Rebellion.

Grade(s): Seven (7)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): Canada 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges
Program Components: At Dundurn Castle, students will investigate beliefs and arguments that favoured and opposed the rebellion, and explore food-ways while preparing a ‘Journey Cake’ recipe in the historic kitchen. At The Hamilton Military Museum, students will explore the lifestyle of soldiers as they try on reproduction uniforms and handle reproduction equipment, and will map out a strategic defense around the grand home of Family Compact member, Colonel Allan MacNab, on Burlington Heights.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $8.00 per student

Guided Tour

Discover Canadian military history at The Hamilton Military Museum! Investigate the War of 1812 and the First World War. Explore our hands-on discovery gallery. Students will have the opportunity to dress in military costumes ranging from 1812- 1945. This tour can be matched with the one-hour visit to Dundurn Castle to accommodate large groups.

Subject(s): Social Studies; History and Geography
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: $3.50 per student

* Please note that this is a private tour and can be adjusted to meet your curriculum needs.


Home from Flanders

Students are invited to participate in a unique program that recognizes the sacrifices of Canadian men and women of the armed forces focussing on the First World War. Exploring trench life through pictures, the written word and art, students will learn why it is important to commemorate and recognize the contribution made by those who served during the war to end all wars.

Grade(s): One (1); Two (2); Six (6); Eight (8)
Subject(s): Social Studies; History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (1&2); People and Environments (6); History (8)
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Canada’s Interactions with the Global Community (6); Canada 1890- 1914: A Changing Society (8)
Program Components: Students discuss the realities of warfare and the need for a day of remembrance. In our First World War gallery space student will explore the meaning of the poem "In Flanders Fields" in a hands-on activity. Students will also have a chance to dress in period uniforms and handle reproduction equipment
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.00 per student
Available: November

Life in the Army

In this program, students explore elements of the life of men and women serving in the army, navy and air force from the War of 1812 to World War II.

Grade(s): One (1); Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1), Communities in Canada 1780-1850 (3)
Program Components: Students will participate in fun, hands-on activities. They will learn basic military drills (weather permitting), handle reproduction equipment, dress-up like soldiers and spend time in the popular hands-on discovery gallery. Students are introduced to a variety of resources and tools to discover, explore and process information about rules people follow in daily life compared to those of soldiers. This program contains an outdoor military drill component. Please come dressed for the weather and wear appropriate footwear for marching.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.00 per student

Military Christmas

Christmas in the military was very different from traditional celebrations at home. A Military Christmas allows students to learn about holiday celebrations of the past. This program can be adapted to accommodate various curriculum topics and grade levels.

Grade(s): One (1); Two (2)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1), Changing Family and Community Traditions (2)
Program Components: Students will learn about holiday traditions from the past by dressing up like a soldier and playing with traditional 19th century games and toys. Students will use the inquiry process to identify and sort gifts that soldiers would have received in a First World War hamper, and in a modern package sent to a soldier overseas today.
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: $3.50 per student

Red Coats and Muskets

Come to Burlington Heights to explore the War of 1812. Students will develop their skills of inquiry and research by using both primary and secondary sources to evaluate both the causes and effects of the War of 1812 on early Upper Canadian settlements.

Grade(s): Seven (7)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges
Program Components: Students have the opportunity to experience the daily life of a soldier during the War of 1812, and will learn about uniforms, lifestyle, and discipline. In a mapping exercise, students are asked to design a strategic defense of Burlington Heights. Weather permitting, students will practice military drills outdoors. Please come dressed for the weather and wear appropriate footwear for marching.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.00 per student

Tanks, Trenches and Turmoil

The effects of war were so far-reaching they impacted the lives of every Canadian regardless of the time period the war took place. Through exploration and engaging visits to exhibits Our Hamilton: Through Their Eyes based on Hamiltonians' experiences during the First World War, and Blood Ties to a Gentle Landscape focusing on the War of 1812, students will compare the immense changes in technology, uniforms and equipment between the two wars.

Grade(s): Eight (8)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): Canada 1890-1914: A Changing Society
Program Components: Students will dress in uniforms from the First World War and 1812 periods to assess changes in military clothing and equipment. They will test their skills of inquiry in a hands-on activity during which they will play the role of historian to identify original First World War artifacts. Students will discuss modes of communication available during the First World War, examine original letters from the museum collection then create their own written accounts. A lively trivia game based on the program components will round out the visit.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.00 per student

The Heights: A War of 1812 Tour

Dundurn Castle is built on the history of the War of 1812. Burlington Heights, where Dundurn now stands, was occupied by the British military from 1813 until 1815. Your journey will begin at The Hamilton Military Museum to uncover the history surrounding the property and dress in 1812 era military costumes. Discover evidence of military fortifications as the tour takes you outdoors to The Hamilton Cemetery and Dundurn Park then use this information to map out a strategic defense of the site. The guided tour will end with a look inside Dundurn Castle focusing on the 1812 architectural features which Sir Allan MacNab later incorporated into his Italianate Villa. This tour contains outdoor components; please come dressed for the weather and for walking on uneven terrain.

Grade(s): Six (6); Seven (7); Eight (8)
Subject(s): Social Studies; History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity; History and Geography
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: $8.00 per student
Available: April - June

* This program does not include a full tour of Dundurn Castle. A full guided tour can be added for $5/student. Please allow for an additional 1 hr.


Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology - see location details

Bridging the Gap

Since ancient times, engineers have designed bridges to withstand all the forces of nature. Through discussion, demonstration and experimentation, students will investigate bridge design and the forces that act upon them. The weight the bridges have to carry, the distance they have to span, their height, cost and location are all considerations in bridge design that will be discussed.

Grade(s): Three (3); Five (5); Seven (7)
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
Curriculum Topic(s): Strong and Stable Structures (3); Forces Acting on Structures and Mechanisms (5); Form and Function (7)
Program Components: Students are introduced to five different bridge types and the internal and external forces acting upon them. The roles of struts, ties, keystones, posts, levers and various loads will be discussed. Through demonstrations and a hands-on activity, students will participate in an engineering exercise to test their design skills. An interactive tour of the 1859 Waterworks identifies 19th century design principles and the use of appropriate materials: wood, cast iron, wrought iron, brick and stone.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

* Pairs well with WAHC At Work, At Home (Grades 1-3)


Discovering Diversity

The construction of the Hamilton Waterworks in 1859 brought new opportunities for immigrants from all over the world. Unfortunately, not all immigrants were treated equally by the 1910 Canadian Immigration Act. In this program, students will take on the roles of families trying to immigrate to Canada, and will learn how Canada’s historical requirements for citizenship affected people with diverse abilities, cultures, and backgrounds.

Grade(s): Eight (8)
Subject(s): History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): History
Curriculum Topic(s): Canada 1890-1914: A Changing Society
Program Components: By using artifacts, documents, and the historical inquiry process, students will create profiles of people from various countries and cultures who were attempting to immigrate to Canada. They will then identify the push and pull factors that would influence these people to move. Using primary sources including the 1910 Canadian Immigration Act, students will determine whether these families would be granted citizenship – or if prejudice may have kept them from entering Canada. A tour of the 1859 Waterworks will focus on the working conditions faced by some immigrants to Canada, and on the role immigration played in the development of Canadian industry.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

* Pairs well with WAHC The World in a City (Grade 6)
Grade connection with WAHC Hamilton: The Workers City (Grades 8 & 10)


Powerful Pulleys and Great Gears

Pulleys and gears are amazing machines! They can help change direction, speed and force and make difficult tasks easier to accomplish. Building the 1859 Waterworks steam engine required the use of pulleys and gears to lift the massive cast iron pieces into place to assemble the engines. A hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and working steam driven factory models are included to identify and investigate powerful pulleys and great gears!

Grade(s): Four (4)
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
Curriculum Topic(s): Pulleys and Gears
Program Components: The program includes a hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and working steam factory model, and experiments with pulleys and gears. Watching the interconnected parts of a steam driven factory, students see pistons turning cranks turning wheels on axles; pulleys and belts transferring and changing the directions of force, to drive tools. Students will work in groups to build a winch using gears that will allow them to experiment with various pulley systems.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Simple Machines in Motion

A simple machine simplifies a difficult task, making it easier to perform. Using a complex interaction of simple machines - wheels, axles, pulleys, levers and gears – the 1859 Waterworks was able to pump 12.5 million litres of water to the city ten kilometres away, every day! This program examines simple machines and looks at their interactions together in more complex machines. A hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and working steam-driven factory models are included to identify and investigate machines in motion.

Grade(s): Two (2)
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
Curriculum Topic(s): Movement
Program Components: The program includes a hands-on tour including 70-tonne steam engines, a demonstration of a working steam factory model, and experiments with machines. Watching the interconnected parts of a steam-driven factory, students see pistons turning cranks turning wheels on axles; pulleys and belts transferring and changing the directions of force, to drive tools. Students use model water pumps to learn the parts of the water supply system, and work together to build model machines out of simpler components to solve a problem. During a tour of the 1859 Waterworks’ engines and pumps, each student uses a lever to move a 22-tonne weight.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

* Grade connection with WAHC At Work, At Home (Grades 1-3)


Solid, Liquid, Gas

The effect of changing states of matter – water to steam, molten metal to cast iron – was essential to the operation of the 1859 Hamilton Waterworks. Hot liquid iron was poured into sand moulds and cooled to become the cast iron engine parts we see today; cool water was heated up and changed into steam, a gas that expands and powers the engine. Through hands -on science experiments, and by observing the power of steam in action, students will identify the different properties of solids, liquids and gases, and explore the changing states of matter.

Grade(s): Two (2); Five (5);
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Matter and Materials
Curriculum Topic(s): Properties of Liquids & Solids (2); Properties of and Changes in Matter (5)
Program Components: This program involves hands-on science experiments examining the properties of solids, liquids and gases, and how chemical reactions and temperature can change matter from one state to another. Models will be used to demonstrate a live steam-powered factory, and how changing water into a gas transfers energy and force. Students will then tour the original steam engines and see them in motion to understand the entire process from casting iron to pumping water.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

* Grade connections with WAHC At Work, At Home (Grades 1-3)


The Water Cycle

Hamilton’s 1859 water pumping station is a rare example of a walking beam steam engine in its original building. By utilizing the power of compressed steam, the station ensured that clean drinking water was available to the citizens of Hamilton for over 150 years. This program explores the water cycle and how it works within the natural environment, but also how steam engines work and how steam can be used as a source of power for many purposes.

Grade(s): Two (2)
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Earth and Space Systems
Curriculum Topic(s): Air and Water in the Environment
Program Components: Through a series of experiments, students will investigate stages of the water cycle and learn about examples of each in their own lives and in the environment. The program also includes a hands-on tour and demonstration of a working steam factory model and 70-tonne steam water pumping engines, focusing on how the changing states of water were used as a source of power.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

* Grade connections with WAHC At Work, At Home (Grades 1-3)


Water Management and Conservation-Systems in Action

Our basic water cycle program is expanded to include water science and problem solving. Students explore over 150 years of water and waste water treatment in Hamilton. The need for clean potable water will be examined as well as the process in which the city obtained it.

Grade(s): Eight (8)
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Earth and Space Systems; Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
Curriculum Topic(s): Water Systems; Systems in Action
Program Components:
Option 1
This program involves a hands-on activity where students will experiment with filtration and how water can be cleaned. Students see changes in urban management from 1859 to present. Through the use of models and a hands-on tour of the 1859 Waterworks, students compare successful water supply systems for the 19th and 20th centuries.
Option 2
Students will investigate the systems that pumped water to Hamilton over 150 years ago, and also discuss the changes that have occurred since then. A guided tour of the 1859 Waterworks examines how these 45- foot steam engines were built and assembled in the 1850s and how these engines worked to pump water. Students will then problem solve with a series of materials to create a system in action that will pump water today.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

* Option 1 & 2 combined: 2 1/2 hours at $7.50 per student


Water: But at What Price?

Engineering at the Hamilton Waterworks is simply not possible without mathematics. Basic math skills were used here every single day in order to determine how much water was pumped, how much coal was burnt, and most importantly – how much money people in Hamilton would be charged to receive fresh, clean running water. In this program, skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and money sense will be tested with real-life simulations.

Grade(s): Two (2); Three (3)
Subject(s): Mathematics (2&3)
Curriculum Strand(s): Number Sense and Numeration (2&3)
Curriculum Topic(s): Quantity Relationships (2&3); Counting (2); Operational Sense (2&3)
Program Components: This program includes a hands-on simulation activity where students will determine a family budget using play money. Using estimation skills, as well as addition and subtraction, students will be challenged to stay within their budget while ‘purchasing’ a historic house in the Hamilton area, and choosing the water-consuming amenities they want for their home, like bathtubs, livestock, and vegetable gardens. A tour of the 1859 Pumphouse will highlight how citizens in Hamilton were charged for their water consumption, and how basic math skills were essential to operating the Hamilton Waterworks.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Whitehern Historic House & Garden - see location details

Home for the Holidays

Visit Whitehern and experience three generations of traditions and celebrations. First, experience how Dr. McQuesten’s sons’ first Christmas was spent in their brand new downtown mansion. Later, witness the changes made when the youngest son moved into his childhood home with his wife and their six young children. Students will view Christmas cards, stocking stuffers, tin toys, and gold-gilded china.

Grade(s): Two (2)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Changing Family and Community Traditions
Program Components: Through an interactive tour students will be able to identify community celebrations that reflect their own heritage and/or their Canadian identity. Students will be encouraged to compare and contrast their own home and family life with that of the McQuestens. An examination of various Christmas decorations and gifts will encourage students to formulate questions and discuss how traditional items are passed down from parents and grandparents. Students will create a one-of-a-kind holiday decoration to take home.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.00 per student
Available: mid-November through December.

McQuesten and Son

Before becoming involved in manufacturing Dr. Calvin McQuesten practiced medicine in the United States. Following in his father’s footsteps, his oldest son also became a doctor and set up practice in New York City. Though primitive compared to our time, these physicians were practicing groundbreaking techniques on the front lines. Their experiences, equipment, essays, photographs and text books are a window into the workings of the human anatomy.

Grade(s): Five (5)
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Life Systems
Curriculum Topic(s): Human Organ Systems
Program Components: An interactive hands-on tour of the historic home will analyse the impact of human activities and technological innovations on human health. Using primary sources such as photographs, essays, letters, artifacts, models, and anatomy drawings students will investigate the structure and function of the major organs of various human body systems. A hands-on activity will demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of human body systems and interactions within and between systems.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.50 per student

McQuesten Traditions

The McQuestens lived at Whitehern for over 100 years. Throughout those years, names, keepsakes and traditions were passed on to each subsequent generation. During their lifetimes they celebrated Canada Day, Victoria Day,Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day. We Canadians have many celebrations and traditions unique to our heritage. Where did these holidays originate and how did the McQuestens celebrate them at Whitehern?

Grade(s): Two (2)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Changing Family and Community Traditions
Program Components: Students will visit the McQuesten home and look at the postcards the family sent each other in celebration of various traditions. Students will be encouraged to inquire and discuss what sort of traditions a holiday entails such as special foods, songs, and clothing, and will create a postcard honouring one of their own family holidays or traditions.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.00 per student

One Good Churn

This is an exciting program for the end of the school year! The warm weather is here and what better way to celebrate than by hand churning your own pail of ice cream using traditional ingredients. While touring the historic home, students will learn about the games the McQuesten children played and how they spent their leisure time. Students will also have time to play traditional 1930’s games too.

Grade(s): Three (3), Four (4), Five (5), Six (6), Seven (7), Eight (8)
Subject(s): Health and Physical Education
Curriculum Strand(s): Active Participation
Program Components: Students will learn about the three generations of the McQuesten family that lived at Whitehern and their leisure activities. Using the family’s old tennis court, students will try their hand at games such as croquet, egg and spoon and potato sack races. Following the house tour and games students will have an opportunity to make and taste hand churned ice cream using a traditional ice cream maker.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.50 per student
Available: May through June

Teddy Bears' Picnic

Many children’s toys and games remained the same for generations. The McQuesten family kept many of their original toys including their childhood teddy bears. On a visit to Whitehern, searching for teddy bears takes children on a visual exploration of the historic home. Familiar objects and stories help young children relate to children of the past.

Grade(s): Kindergarten (JK, SK)
Subject(s): Mathematics; The Arts
Program Components: Children will visit the McQuesten home and play an “eye spy” game to look for teddy bears placed in the rooms. Children will also recall the familiar story of the Three Bears and make a tangram bear. Using a variety of materials, children will create a unique paper bear to take home. The program can be modified for a Christmas visit.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

Time for Tea

The McQuesten home provides a wealth of examples of the use of pattern in daily life. Tea time was a tradition that all three generations of the family enjoyed. At Whitehern, tea involved repeated patterns and roles determined by etiquette. A tea party program at the McQuesten home is the perfect way to discover visual, verbal, and active patterning.

Grade(s): Kindergarten (JK, SK); One(1)
Subject(s): Mathematics; Social Studies; The Arts
Curriculum Strand(s): Patterning; Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Patterning and Relationships; Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities
Program Components: A visit into the museum will emphasize the use of pattern in home decoration and through hands-on discovery boxes. Students will learn how the McQuesten family enjoyed tea and how the making and drinking of tea changed over time. The program includes inquirybased activities, a “tea” (juice) party emphasizing manners and etiquette, and students create a patterned paper tea pot to take home.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Time Savers and Spiffy Gadgets

Imagine living in a home without electric light, telephones or indoor plumbing and then having these items installed for the very first time as new inventions. While living at Whitehern over 100 years, three generations of the McQuesten family watched their world become more technologically complex. Many of the labour-saving devices and entertainments that we take for granted were, for them, brand new luxuries. Developments in Canadian society such as urbanization and industrialization, as well as technical innovations, all changed family life.

Grade(s): One (1)
Subject(s): Science & Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Understanding Matter and Energy
Curriculum Topic(s): Energy in our Lives
Program Components: An interactive house tour will allow students to compare and contrast their own homes and lifestyles with the life experiences of the McQuesten family. Students identify the changes in the lives of the family as electricity and other forms of technology came into daily use, and have an opportunity to play with toys from different time periods that do not require electricity. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own use of energy and consider changes they might make to conserve it.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student

Vote for Tom

Thomas McQuesten was born in 1882 and eventually rose to become one of Ontario’s greatest contributors to municipal works. His childhood home, Whitehern, stands as a testament to his works of beautification in the City of Hamilton while his involvement in provincial government impacted the Ontario we see today. In this program, students will have the opportunity to tour the McQuesten home and learn about the three-tiered system of government in Canada.

Grade(s): Five (5)
Character Education Connections: Interrelationships; Cause and Consequence, Perspective, Significance
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Peoples and Environments
Curriculum Topic(s): The Role of Government and Responsible Citizenship
Program Components: Through an inquiry based house tour, students will learn of the government -implemented works in the 1930s which include Transportation Laws, Language Rights, and Municipal Beautification Projects. Students will tour the historic McQuesten home, and participate in a mock vote. The conclusion of the trip includes a visit to City Hall where students will have an opportunity to ask questions and experience the municipal level of government first hand.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $6.00 per student

Work and Play

The McQuesten children’s lives were affected by a change in the fortune of the family and although they enjoyed some leisure time, they also had to take on many practical tasks in the home. Their responsibilities might be similar to those of children today but the technology and expectations were quite different.

Grade(s): One (1)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities
Program Components: Students enter the historic home of the McQuesten family and are asked to imaginatively compare the lives of the family to their own experiences. They will get a hands-on look at the kinds of toys the McQuestens played with.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $4.50 per student