School Tours

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Mission Statement:  Providing the methods and means of presenting
McHenry County History to enrich life.

FIELD TRIPS

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.

West Harmony School
Step back in time with this great hands on program in our One Room School, West Harmony. Children will get to experience what school was really like while being taught by a full costumed interpreter. They will learn reading, writing, arithmetic and follow rules while experiencing life in the early 1900s. The two-hour experience features lessons, music and games at recess. We can accommodate about 32 students. We provide suggestions for costumes that we encourage students to wear.  Prior to your visit, you will receive a cover letter. Post activities are available.

 

Run Time: 2 Hours           Grades:  3rd-5th           Price: $3 per Student*

Museum Tour
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         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. All of these programs use artifacts that the students will be able to touch. Each presentation is designed for each grade and is geared towards each classrooms specific interest.
 
Native Americans
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 *

Pioneer Life
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 *

Packing Pioneers
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.

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.

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.


Teaching Materials

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.

TO READ MORE  Download PDF

Scouting Opportunities

A Night in the Museum

Group tours and volunteer opportunities are available  for Scout troops. Eagle Scout project opportunities. Contact the museum for details.

Downloadable Tour Materials

Student looking at the historical post office

(shown above) Students visit our historic Post Office inside our historical museum in Union.

 Click to Download PDFs:

Illustrated Student Sheet (handout)

Self-Help History Test (handout)

Student Sheet ACTIVITIES for Docents, Teachers or Parents