Resources For Teachers and Teaching
History Trunks are not necessarily new and innovative resources, but they are portable, traveling history lessons that are literally treasure chests of touch-and-feel learning on a wide variety of topics for grades K-12. Many local education agencies, historical associations and related service organizations sponsor History Trunks and make them available on-loan (free and for rent) and for sale to teachers nationwide.
Educators seeking these special resources need to consider their geographical area and specific curriculum needs before searching the internet, but there are pages and pages of History Trunk resources to examine. Start by using the search terms "History Trunks" and/or "Educational trunks." Here are two excellent "Trunk" resources followed by a list of useful, related websites:
Guide to Educational Trunks in the Northern Rockies. Museum of the Rockies. Request copies from Gloria Weisgerber at 406-329-3094 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit: montana.edu to view and/or copy this excellent guide. Sample topics include: The Fur Trade; Explorers, Trappers and Traders of the Inland Northwest; Plains Indian Artifacts; Trappers, Traders and Trailblazers-Mountain Men in the Rocky Mountain West.
"List of Parks with Travelling Trunks" Created by the National Park Service, this on-line resource lists websites of parks nationwide. All of the parks offer a numerous trunks relevant to a wide range of topics including history. See, for example, the Trunk provided by Nez Perce National Historic Park in Idaho. Visit: nps.gov/learn/trunks.
Project West is a "Parks As Classrooms" program focused on Grade 4 learning (Though the materials are easily adapted to other grade levels too.) and sponsored by the National Park Service and Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Project West is a formal education program that explores the history, people and events of Wyoming and the American West through the Fort Laramie experience. No other single place has more to tell of that story or more involvement in its people and events than Fort Laramie. The fort will serve as a powerful tool for learning with the park becoming your classroom.
The project has four basic components: Teacher Guides, In-Class Programs, In-Park Programs and Internet & Media Resources. Each participating school also receives two video productions that serve to orient students to the fort and its place in history, as well as to prepare teachers and students for in-park activities.
Reservations for Project West Programs are available by calling Fort Laramie National Historic Site at 307-837-2221. Program features include the following resources:
Internet Learning at nps.gov/fola on the these topics:
- Virtual Tour
- Information on important people and events
- California, Mormon, Oregon Trail information
- Indian Nations
- Fur Trade, Frontier Army and more
In-Park Program Guides help take your class into these topics:
- Cultures At Crossroads: Fort Laramie and the Plains Indian Nations
- Trappers, Traders and Tribes: Fort Laramie and the Fur Trade
- Wagons West!: Fort Laramie and the Great Migrations
History Projects for Kids!: Family Projects at Home
This is a guide to fun and educational craft projects based on real historical objects.