Mission Statement: Providing the methods and means of presenting
McHenry County History to enrich life.
Pioneer Activity Kits
Let’s step away from our screens and step into history for a hands-on pioneer adventure! This kit geared toward 3rd - 5th graders will have them planning their pioneer adventure, packing a pioneer wagon, imagining and drawing a new area to settle, growing a garden and even creating a pioneer toy! The Pioneer Activity Kit includes an activity script and all materials needed for the activities.
How do I get a kit?
1.Email to request the kit:
Karolina Kowalczyk, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
2. Schedule a Pioneer Activity Kit pick up date and approximate time
3. Contactless pick up! The kit will be left outside the office in time for your chosen pick up date and time.
Pick up location:
McHenry County Historical Society and Museum
6422 Main St
Union, IL 60180
Please note we are currently limiting the field trips to 10 students.
The museum tours and West Harmony programs are free to schools whose townships and/or municipalities become governmental members of the Society. Programs at schools located in non-member areas cost $3 per student.
At the Museum
Times: 9 to 11 a.m.; 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. to noon.
Come visit our museum and get a personal tour from our museum docents. Students will be divided up into four rotating groups, each with a different hands on experience. They will be taught a mini lesson in our West Harmony School, learn all about Native Americans, get to search out answers in our new exhibit: "Prairie Trails to Strange Tails" and do pioneer chores and games at our 1843 Gannon Log Cabin. We can accommodate up to four classrooms at one time, or about 100 students. We suggest taking two days for larger groups..
Run Time: 2 Hours, Thursdays and Fridays Grades: 3rd-5th Price: $3 per Student*
* The museum tours and West Harmony programs are free to schools whose townships and/or municipalities are governmental members of the Society. Programs at schools located in non-member areas cost $3 per student. Home-schooled students, as well as those working on special research projects, may qualify for free admission to the museum.
IN SCHOOL PROGRAMS
The Society has begun doing in-school programming where a museum staff member will come into the classroom and give a 45-minute presentation about the following historical topics.
Each presentation is designed for each grade and is geared towards each classrooms specific interest.
Learn all about the Native Americans who lived in McHenry County. A staff member from the McHenry County Historical Society will come in to talk to your class with real Native American artifacts. We’ll talk all about how they lived, what their homes were like, what food they had and even their interaction with Voyagers.
Run Time: 45 Minutes Grades: 1st-5th Price: $2 per student *
McHenry Now and Then
Have you ever wondered what children were doing in McHenry County over 100 years ago? With this fun program, you’ll be able to see and hear all about children’s lives in the late 1800’s. What they did for fun, what school was like and even what chores they had to do. A staff member from the McHenry County Historical Society will come in to teach your class and let your students touch artifacts over 100 years old! They’ll be able to ask questions and see photos to truly understand how different life was back then, and how in a lot of ways was the same!
Run Time: 45 Minutes Grades: 1st-3rd Price: $2 per student *
Learn all about the lives of pioneer children from a staff member from the McHenry County Historical Society. In this program, we’ll discuss the challenges pioneers face along with what chores had to be done, schooling and what they did for fun! Students will get to see photos, ask questions and even play with pioneer inspired toys.
Run Time: 45 Minutes Grades: 1st-3rd Price: $2 per student *
Ever wonder how hard life was for the Pioneers? This program is a great hands on experience for students to truly understand the struggles of Pioneer Life! The Program will begin with a brief introduction to who the Pioneers were and what type of struggles they went through. The second half students will be put into groups, where they with have to make choices as they work together to pack a pioneer “Wagon” before coming to Illinois. A staff member from the McHenry County Historical Society will present and guide your class though their journey.
Run Time: 45 Minutes Grades: 3rd-6th Price: $2 per student *
* Discount field trip admissions for students whose schools are located in jurisdiction of a Governmental Member. These schools pay $1 per student, rather the $2.
Additional Educational Resources
A 40- minute video, titled "The History of McHenry County," is available through your local library or the regional school superintendent’s office in Woodstock. It and a DVD on McHenry County barns also may be borrowed from historical society.
We may be able to supply speakers/presenters for classrooms on topcial areas of interest about McHenry County, provided arrangments are made well in advance. Call the office about availability and desire topics.
Home-schooled students, as well as those working on special research projects, may qualify for free admission to the museum. For information or to set up a research appointment contact the office. Our “Life Before Series
,” available here under the Research Library menu, provides short accounts of everyday life experiences with a local slant.
Please peruse our website for additional programs and/or projects during the year, or call us at 815-923-2267.
The 1895 one room West Harmony School has been part of the McHenry County Historical Society Museum since March of 1988. It is a representation of the type of building and local education system that prevailed in this county until just after World War II. In 1945 this county had 127 separate school districts, each with the authority to levy a tax for school purposes. Teacher packets, containing this information and more, will be made available once you reserve a tour date.