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: $5.25 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 they 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: $5.25 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 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

* $10.50 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 routine of the Gage family allows students to explore the changes between then and now and how the lives of the Gages 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 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

* $10.50 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: $5.25 per student

Dundurn Castle - see location details

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

In 1837, Colonel Allan MacNab led the Gore Militia against a rising rebellion. Today, at both Dundurn Castle and The Hamilton Military Museum, students can discover how this rebellion developed and why MacNab opposed it. Students will investigate, analyze, and discuss key stakeholders, events, lifestyles and food-ways relevant to the Upper Canada Rebellion in this interactive, hands-on program.

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 will investigate beliefs and arguments that favoured and opposed the 1837 Rebellion and tour the home of Sir Allan MacNab, a key figure in the Rebellion’s suppression. In the historic kitchen students will explore food-ways while preparing a “Journey Cake” recipe that would have fed the soldiers in this conflict. At The Hamilton Military Museum, students will explore the lifestyle of soldiers as they try on reproduction uniforms and handle reproduction equipment. Students will use problem solving skills and map out a strategic defense around the grand home of Family Compact member Colonel Allan MacNab, on Burlington Heights.
Duration: 3 hours
Cost: $10.50 per student

Evolving Energy

Energy is best described as the ability to do work. Although technologies and devices have changed over time, the fundamental laws remain the same. Victorians had their own ways of producing, reducing, and reusing energy. This program will introduce students to the topic of energy and how it transforms. Students will be guided through Dundurn Castle to explore and experience the differences between modern and historic energy usage.

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 the MacNab family students will discover and discuss the various forms of energy and their transformations. Through visuals and hands-on demonstrations students will compare and contrast their own lives with the customs of those who lived many years ago. The program will include discussions on energy conservation, a reflection on how energy is used and what they can do to improve their own consumption habits.
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. In this program students are invited to search Dundurn Castle’s rooms and complete hands-on activities 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);Problem-Solving and Innovating (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 (1)
Program Components: Using their inquiry and problem-solving skills to follow maps and clues, students will explore parts of Dundurn Castle in their search for Fin. Using various hands-on activities students will learn about and create patterns, work together to sort reproduction objects into categories, play with historic toys, and practice their mathematical skills. Every program will end with meeting Fin himself!
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

Good Help is Hard to Find

In 1846, Wellington, Dundurn Castle’s butler, accompanied Sir Allan MacNab on the long journey to Montreal. In his absence, the remaining staff at Dundurn had to work much harder without him. Thirteen-year-old Sophia MacNab wrote in her diary that she helped set the table for dinner since her maid, “had a good deal to do now that Wellington is gone”. In this lively program, your students will compare their lives to those of the mid-19th century Ontario servant. Through hands-on activities they will learn if they have what it takes to be good help.

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): The Local Community (1); Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Living and Working in Ontario (3)
Program Components: Under the guidance of Dundurn’s cook demonstrators, students will prepare a recipe in the historic kitchen and explore Dundurn Castle during an interactive tour. Throughout the tour students will use hands-on objects, historic images, and games to explore the roles and responsibilities of servants in early to mid-19th century Ontario.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $8.25 per student

Growing in Hamilton

In 19th century Canada, children were encouraged to explore the wonders of gardening. In 1846, Sophia and Minnie MacNab began their own little plot in the Kitchen Garden. Led by costumed interpreters, students will compare their experiences with those of 19th century Canadians by getting their hands dirty in the garden and making a seasonal recipe in our historic kitchen.

Grade(s): Three (3)
Subject(s): Social Studies; Science and Technology
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity; Earth and Space Systems; Life Systems
Curriculum Topic(s): Communities in Canada, 1780–1850; Growth and Changes in Plants; Soils in the Environment
Program Components: This program encourages students to discover how our present society compares to 19th century communities in Canada. Led by costumed interpreters, students will engage with the Kitchen Garden through hands-on activities to learn about the importance of plants, soil, and composting. They will bring their knowledge of the garden and its produce into the historic kitchen and prepare a delicious seasonal recipe. A modified 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: $8.25 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.

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: $5.00 per student

* 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.


Sophia's Diary

In 1846 Sophia and her sister Minnie received a gift of a “beautiful little book” and wrote about her many responsibilities and roles as the daughter of Sir Allan MacNab. How different were the responsibilities and roles for children in the 1800s? How would the life of Sophia MacNab compare to your students today? Through hands-on activities students will explore these ideas in Dundurn Castle using Sophia’s “beautiful little book” as their guide.

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 interactive activities led by costumed interpreters, students will discover the relationships, roles, and responsibilities of Sir Allan MacNab’s daughters as well as his servants. While inside historic Dundurn Castle, students will walk back in time to compare and contrast their own lives with those of Dundurn’s residents. At the end of their visit each student will take their own “beautiful little book” of activities home as a memento of their trip to Dundurn Castle.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.50 per student

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


The Height of Battle - A joint program with the Hamilton Military Museum

Ever wonder how Burlington Heights looked before Dundurn Castle? Hidden within Dundurn Park are the mysteries of a British military base known as Burlington Heights! Thousands of soldiers lived and worked here transforming a beautiful pastoral homestead into a vital military stronghold. Discover the property’s history and role in the War of 1812 through guided tours of Dundurn Castle, The Hamilton Military Museum, Cockpit building, and parts of the Hamilton Cemetery. During this multi-site program, students will learn about the lives of soldiers, refugees, and Indigenous allies during the war.

Grade(s): Six (6); Seven (7)
Subject(s): Social Studies (6); History and Geography (7)
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (6); History (7)
Curriculum Topic(s): Communities in Canada, Past and Present (6); Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges (7)
Program Components: Students will explore Burlington Heights through inquiry-based guided tours focusing on visible remains of the war. At Dundurn Castle, students will see the existing 1812 features that Sir Allan MacNab incorporated into his Italianate villa. While touring both Dundurn Park and the Hamilton Cemetery, students will visit the rarely-seen archaeological excavation in the Cockpit building and explore remnants of earthworks throughout these sites. At The Hamilton Military Museum, students will dress as soldiers from the War of 1812, learn about the history of the site, and test their problem-solving skills as they defend Burlington Heights in an interactive mapping activity, just as the British did, with ships, earthworks, and cannons.
Duration: 3 hours
Cost: $10.50 per student
Available: April to June and September to mid-October.

* Please note this program has outdoor components; please dress for the weather and walking on uneven terrain.


The Height of Battle- Program Add-On: The Ancaster Trials - 1814 Bloody Assize

Students will explore some of the key personalities who played a role during this significant time by taking part in a recreation of an 1814 courtroom. A brief history of the trial will be presented with a discussion about civil rights during wartime, as well as the effect it had on the families of those accused.

Grade(s): Six (6); Seven (7)
Subject(s): Social Studies (6); History and Geography (7)
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (6); History (7)
Curriculum Topic(s): Communities in Canada, Past and Present (6); Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges (7)
Program Components: Students will explore some of the key personalities who played a role during this significant time by taking part in a recreation of an 1814 courtroom. A brief history of the trial will be presented with a discussion about civil rights during wartime, as well as the effect it had on the families of those accused.
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: $2.00 per student

* must be added onto The Height of Battle program


Vanishing Castle

A restored historic house provides an excellent atmosphere for student-driven learning. Using historic artifacts and documents will allow students to gain an increased understanding of the diversity of our past, and they 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: Under the guidance of a costumed interpreter, students will explore a wide range of ideas about various groups living in Canada from 1812 to 1855 using artifacts, and primary and secondary sources. Students will use historical documentation to 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

Experience the sights and sounds of Victorian Christmas inside the walls of historic Dundurn Castle. From the ornate drawing room to the servants’ hall, students will explore how the holiday season was celebrated in the 1850s.

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: In this condensed hands-on guided tour of Dundurn Castle students will discover the holiday traditions of the MacNab family and servants who lived in this lavish historic house. They will compare Victorian holiday traditions with their own and those of other communities in Canada today. For the full holiday experience, visit The Hamilton Military Museum for their Military Christmas program.
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: $4.00 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; 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 Strand(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 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

* $7.00 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 Strand(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 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

* $7.00 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 Strand(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 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

* $7.00 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: $5.25 per student

The Art of War 1814 - 1914

This program was based on a recent War of 1812 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 twodimensional 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 Strand(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 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

* $7.00 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: $5.25 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: $5.25 per student

Follow the North Star

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: $5.25 per student

Hamilton Childrens Museum - see location details

Digging Up The Past

Archaeologists are alot like detectives; they figure out how people lived in the past by looking at the objects that are left behind. These objects reveal clues about where people lived, what they ate, what jobs they might have 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 (1-5)
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 (1-5)
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); ); The Role of Government and Responsible Citizenship (5)
Program Components: Through hands-on activities, students will become archaeologists and interpret the past. In groups, students will uncover and catalogue artifacts, use inquiry- based skills to measure and record data, and finally try to determine who might have lived on the land in the past.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.00 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 food and bodies are just a few of the components included in this program
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.00 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 students to develop critical thinking skills while experimenting with media literacy. Students will examine how we communicate through media both in the present as well as in the past. 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: $7.00 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 become artisans for the day as they create and sell special art pieces at the market. Students will budget and purchase supplies, follow art ‘recipes’, price and package their items for purchase and finally manage their stall in the marketplace. Every student will create and bring home a hand-made piece of art.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.00 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): People and Environments (3-5); Understanding Life Systems (3-5); Understanding Structures and Mechanisms (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: $7.00 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 1922 and has remained parkland 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): Geometry and Spatial Sense (1); Number Sense and Numeration (1&2); Measurement (1&2); Data Management and Probability (1&2); Understanding Structures and Mechanisms (1); Understanding Matter and Energy (1); 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 hands-on 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: $7.00 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 program with Dundurn Castle

In 1837, Colonel Allan MacNab led the Gore Militia against a rising rebellion. Today, at both Dundurn Castle and The Hamilton Military Museum, students can discover how this rebellion developed and why MacNab opposed it. Students will investigate, analyze, and discuss key stakeholders, events, lifestyles and food-ways relevant to the Upper Canada Rebellion in this interactive, hands-on program.

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 will investigate beliefs and arguments that favoured and opposed the 1837 Rebellion and tour the home of Sir Allan MacNab, a key figure in the Rebellion’s suppression. In the historic kitchen students will explore food-ways while preparing a “Journey Cake” recipe that would have fed the soldiers in this conflict. At The Hamilton Military Museum, students will explore the lifestyle of soldiers as they try on reproduction uniforms and handle reproduction equipment. They will use problem solving skills and map out a strategic defense around the grand home of Family Compact member Colonel Allan MacNab, on Burlington Heights.
Duration: 3 hours
Cost: $10.50 per student

Bootcamp for Beginners

Do your students have what it takes to be a British soldier? During the War of 1812, Burlington Heights was an important centre of defense, supply, and refuge for the British Army. Thousands of soldiers called this place their home. While living here a soldier’s daily life consisted of discipline, drill, and the unwavering ability to follow orders. They practiced military skills and were educated in uniforms and equipment. This program will allow students to experience life as a soldier by performing hands-on activities related to the War of 1812.

Grade(s): One (1); Two (2); Three (3); Six (6); Seven (7); Eight (8)
Subject(s): Social Studies; History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity; History and Geography
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Communities in Canada 1780-1850 (3); Canada’s Interactions with the Global Community (6); Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges (7); Global Settlement: Patterns and Sustainability (8)
Program Components: New recruits will dress in period uniforms, learn about necessary equipment and the daily routine of a Redcoat. They will be put through their paces as they are taught British army drills outside in Dundurn Park (weather permitting). Older grades will use their problem-solving skills to plan a strategic defense of Burlington Heights in a military mapping exercise. Younger grades will use their inquiry skills in our hands-on 1812-themed Discovery Gallery. Please come dressed for the weather and wear appropriate footwear for marching.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

Camoflage and Courage

Enlist in the Forces! During the First and Second World Wars Canadians joined the Armed Forces in unprecedented numbers. New recruits learned how to dress and use equipment while adapting to new technologies and rapidly changing styles of warfare. These changes led to great losses and a need for formal remembrance. Students will experience life in the forces by dressing in period uniforms and handling original equipment while learning the importance of commemoration.

Grade(s): One (1); Two (2); Three (3); Six (6); Eight (8)
Subject(s): Social Studies; History and Geography
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (1-3); People and Environments (6); History (8)
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); Changing Family and Community Traditions (2); Communities in Canada 1780-1850 (3); Canada’s Interactions with the Global Community (6); Canada 1890- 1914: A Changing Society (8)
Program Components: Students will try on period uniforms while learning about how and why uniforms and equipment changed during the 20th Century. Older students will be challenged to identify the purpose of obscure military artifacts. Younger students will use their inquiry skills in our hands-on Discovery Gallery. All grades will construct a take-home creation during a guided component focusing on symbols of remembrance and the need to recognize the sacrifices of those who dedicated their lives to Canada.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

Guided Tour

Discover Canadian military history at The Hamilton Military Museum! Investigate the War of 1812 and the First World War, and explore our hands-on discovery gallery. Students will have the opportunity to dress in military costumes ranging from 1812 to 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.


Military Christmas

Christmas in the military was very different from traditional celebrations at home. This program allows students to learn about holiday celebrations of the past while exploring the experiences of soldiers overseas during the holidays, and their family members who remained at home.

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 soldiers 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 modern packages sent to soldiers overseas today. This program can be adapted to accommodate various curriculum topics and grade levels and can be paired with Dundurn Castle’s Victorian Christmas program for the full holiday experience.
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: $3.50 per student

The Height of Battle - A joint program with Dundurn Castle

Ever wonder how Burlington Heights looked before Dundurn Castle? Hidden within Dundurn Park are the mysteries of a British military base known as Burlington Heights! Thousands of soldiers lived and worked here transforming a beautiful pastoral homestead into a vital military stronghold. Discover the property’s history and role in the War of 1812 through guided tours of Dundurn Castle, The Hamilton Military Museum, Cockpit building, and parts of the Hamilton Cemetery. During this multi-site program, students will learn about the lives of soldiers, refugees, and Indigenous allies during the war.

Grade(s): Six (6); Seven (7)
Subject(s): Social Studies (6); History and Geography (7)
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present (6); Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges (7)
Program Components: Students will explore Burlington Heights through inquiry-based guided tours focusing on visible remains of the war. At Dundurn Castle, students will see the existing 1812 features that Sir Allan MacNab incorporated into his Italianate villa. While touring both Dundurn Park and the Hamilton Cemetery, students will visit the rarely-seen archaeological excavation in the Cockpit building and explore remnants of earthworks throughout these sites. At The Hamilton Military Museum, students will dress as soldiers from the War of 1812, learn about the history of the site, and test their problem-solving skills as they defend Burlington Heights in an interactive mapping activity, just as the British did, with ships, earthworks, and cannons.
Duration: 3 hours
Cost: $10.50 per student
Available: April to June and September to mid-October.

* Please note this program has outdoor components; please dress for the weather and walking on uneven terrain.


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: $7.00 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: $7.00 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.

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: $7.00 per student

Pumphouse Discovery

Hamilton’s First Pumphouse, now the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology, pumped clean water from Lake Ontario to the City of Hamilton. The Pumphouse worked smoothly thanks to workers occupying a variety of roles and the support of their families. Through story, exploration and play, students will discover the different people who worked cooperatively together at the Pumphouse.

Grade(s): Kindergarten (JK/SK); One (1)
Subject(s): Belonging and Contributing (K); Self- Regulation and Well-Being (K); Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours (K); Problem Solving and Innovating (K); Social Studies (1)
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (1); People and Environments (1);
Curriculum Topic(s): Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities (1); The Local Community (1)
Program Components: Students are introduced to the people who worked at the Pumphouse through a picture book story written from the perspective of Blair McFarlane, the Chief Engineer’s youngest son. Children also enjoy a free play exploration of a variety of toys and props with connections to the story. The program concludes with a visit to the museum featuring working steam engine models and a tour of the Pumphouse where they experience the places they learned about during storytime.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.00 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 10 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: $7.00 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: $7.00 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: $7.00 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: $7.00 per student

* Option 1 & 2 combined: 2.5 hours at $8.50 per student


Water: But at What Price?

Engineering at the Hamilton Waterworks was 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): Counting (2); Quantify Relationships (2&3); 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: $7.00 per student

Whitehern Historic House & Garden - see location details

Extend your visit!

Have lunch after your program followed by an interactive activity.

Grade(s): One (1); Two (2); Three (3); Four (4); Five (5); Six (6); Seven (7); Eight (8)
Program Components:
WHAT IS IT?/CRAFT/EYE SPY TOUR
Have you ever used a glove-stretcher or needed to blot your ink? Students handle different items from the past and try to guess their uses. This program extension includes a craft and an Eye- Spy walk through the museum.

SHIM SHAM/MUSICAL HOUSE TOUR
Students are encouraged to try a few steps from one of the original ‘Flash’-style line dances of the 1930s. Swing dancing has really made a come-back and dancers around the world dance the Shim Sham like they did during the era when Anne was the cook at Whitehern. Students will also engage in a musical trip through the house to enjoy music from the time the house was built and horse and carriages carried the McQuestens to parlor concerts through to 1968, when Calvin McQuesten could have heard Jimi Hendrix blaring through the transistor radios of passers-by.

MOVIES & POPCORN
Settle-in to the Stable for popcorn and fun movies from the 1920s and 1930s. Laurel & Hardy, The Little Rascals, Flip the Frog and Felix the Cat are some of the favourites! (Capacity is limited. Please inquire at time of booking)

TOPSY TURVY/SOUVENIRS
Why is there a cell phone on Hilda’s dresser? Students use their powers of observation to spot objects that do not make sense in the rooms of the house. Playing ‘Kim’s Game’ and chatting about souvenirs leads participants to a craft to help them ‘remember’ their visit to Whitehern.

BLOCK WALK
Rain or shine, the Durand neighbourhood is filled with interesting landmarks. Follow a Whitehern guide to different sites that the McQuestens were familiar with, like historic Central Public School, past MacNab Presbyterian Church, and step through the doors of the modern-day City Hall too.

Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student
Available: May through September

Home for the Holidays

Visit Whitehern and experience the traditions and celebrations enjoyed by three generations of the McQuesten family. Each generation had their own celebrations that reflected changes in food choices, decorating styles, the ages of the family members, and changes in financial circumstances.

Grade(s): Two (2); Three (3); Four (4); Five (5); Six (6)
Subject(s): Social Studies
Curriculum Strand(s): Heritage and Identity (2&6); People and Environments (3,4,5)
Curriculum Topic(s): 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); Communities in Canada, Past and Present (6)
Program Components: Through an interactive tour, students will be able to identify community celebrations that reflect their own heritage and 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 souvenir/decoration to take home.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.25 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 ground-breaking 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 how the lungs and diaphragm work together.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.00 per student

New! The Evolution of Entertainment

From paintings to photography, from radio to moving pictures with sound, technology changed the way that the McQuesten’s and their staff saw and heard the world around them. A visit to Whitehern shows students the different ways that people enjoyed themselves from the 1850s through the 1930s. Hands-on experiences, a few short films and radio broadcasts, and a flip-book project round this trip out.

Grade(s): Three (3); Four (4); Five (5); Six (6); Seven (7); Eight (8)
Subject(s): The Arts
Curriculum Strand(s): Visual Arts
Program Components: An interactive tour of the house has students Identifying drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs and viewing a 3D image through a stereoscope. Children will see an early cartoon and create their own flip books to understand how drawings create film strips. Students will see a Laurel and Hardy film, and maybe even get to hear a gramophone!
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $7.00 per student

One Good Churn

This is Whitehern’s most popular program, featuring games and ice cream! Hand-churning your own ice cream and playing some good, old-fashioned games is a great way to celebrate the warmer weather. While touring the historic home, children will be surprised to learn about how many fun activities they share with children in the past.

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, they will try their hand at games such as croquet, egg and spoon and potato sack races. Students will have an opportunity to make and taste hand churned ice cream using a traditional ice cream maker.
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $8.00 per student
Available: May through September

Teddy Bears' Picnic

This is a wonderful and fun way to introduce young children to historic homes! Searching for teddy bears will take children on a visual exploration of Whitehern. Familiar objects, stories, activities and a craft help kindergarten students 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 Goldilocks and the Three Bears and make a tangram bear. Using a variety of materials, children will create a unique cardboard bear to take home. The program can be modified for a Christmas visit.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student

* (an extra 15 minutes can be added for a snack break)


Time Savers & 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 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: $5.25 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 tour the McQuesten home and learn about the three-tiered system of government in Canada.

Grade(s): Five (5)
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 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: $7.00 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 and will enjoy doing ‘chores’ using childsized tools and household items.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $5.25 per student