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Education at MOHAI

MOHAI’s wide range of hands-on, educational programs make local history come alive for students at every grade level. Diverse offerings include on-site museum field trips, off-site Portable Museum rentals, and digital experiences, with scholarship funding support available for those that qualify.

At the Museum

We are excited to welcome student groups back to MOHAI beginning in October of 2021.

The health and safety of our guests, staff, and volunteers is MOHAI’s highest priority. Therefore, MOHAI has limited the amount of student groups that we can host per day and will be offering our self-guided visits as the only on-site field trip option for the 2021/2022 school year.

MOHAI’s field trip calendar books up quickly- be sure to request a reservation early. Reservations are required for all student group visits.

Scholarship and bus reimbursement funds are available to schools that qualify.

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Field Trips

Self-Guided Field Trips

A self-guided field trip is ideal for groups who wish to bring their own activity and explore at their own pace. Grade Level: Pre-K–Grade 12.

MOHAI educators greet groups, offer storage for lunches and coats, provide a quick orientation to the space, and are available to answer questions throughout the visit. Activities are required for self-guided field trips, and MOHAI-made scavenger hunts are also available for use in small, chaperone-led groups.

Grade Level: Pre-K–Grade 12

Price: $50 per group of 10-30 students

Duration: Any (2 hours is recommended)

Available: October 2021–June 2022; Monday–Friday, 10 am–4:30 pm

Accommodations: Up to 60 students; one chaperone for every six students required, up to one chaperone for every two students (additional chaperones must pay regular admission rates)

Visits must be booked at least two weeks in advance to guarantee availability.

Please note:

Request a school year field trip

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to the most commonly asked questions when planning a field trip to MOHAI.
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Bus Parking Information

Find out where to park buses and ways to navigate South Lake Union.
Learn More

Make a Field Trip Request

Request to book a field trip at MOHAI and discover history in new ways.
Request a Field Trip

In the Classroom

Portable Museum Programs

MOHAI’s Portable Museum Program provides hands-on learning to students using primary source materials, as well as standards supporting lesson plans and additional content for educators. Portable Museum Trunks and Kits, as well as Digital Trunks, can be booked alone or paired with a MOHAI field trip.

Portable Museum Trunks and Kits contain artifacts, historical photographs, documents, slideshows, digital media, and an extensive Teacher’s Manual with lesson plans and activities that can be modified to meet individual class needs.

Trunks cover more expansive content areas and include two weeks’ worth of lesson plans. Kits include fewer, more targeted lessons focused on particular topics. Lesson plans target specific grade levels depending on the trunk or kit topic, but contents are suitable for all ages of K-12 students and materials can be adapted to any grade level.

Portable Museum rentals must be scheduled a minimum of two weeks in advance. Late change and cancellation fees apply.

Museum Trunks

Coast Salish Culture

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 5

Explore the rich cultural history of the Coast Salish people of the Pacific Northwest, through art, stories, historic events, and the objects of daily life.

Contents of the Coast Salish Culture Portable Museum Trunk

Coast Salish communities have a unique and deep history in the Pacific Northwest. Through independent and collaborative primary source investigations, students learn about Coast Salish life in past times and today.

Grade Level: Grade 5

Size:  18″ x 18″ x 20″

Cost: $50 for two-week rental; $25 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Sample Trunk artifacts:

  • Blue glass trade bead
  • Bone awl
  • Handwoven blanket
  • Western cedar bark
  • Fish club

View Trunk Overview | Book Now

Exploration and Trade

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 4

Explorers from around the world came to the Pacific Northwest to gather information, claim lands, and trade. Students learn who they were, how they traveled, and what they traded.

The contents of the Exploration and Trade Portable Museum Trunk

Explorers embarked on journeys to chart territory and trade for valuable items. Students learn about who notable explorers were, what drew them to the Pacific Northwest, and how they navigated through waterways and over land. Primary resources guide collaborative investigations that challenge students to see a new perspective and engage in hands-on learning.

Size: 18″ x 18″ x 20″

Cost: $50 for two-week rental: $25 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Sample trunk artifacts:

  • Peace and friendship medal
  • River otter fur
  • Sextant
  • Flint and steel with tinderbox
  • Tea brick

View Trunk Overview | Book Now

Settlement in Puget Sound

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 4

The Oregon Trail brought many people to the Pacific Northwest. Learn about the daily life of early settlers and the reasons that ultimately brought them out West.

Settlement in Puget Sound Portable Museum Trunk contents

Settlers who came to the Pacific Northwest along the Oregon Trail made the journey for many different reasons. Students use artifacts and other primary resources to study the people that made the journey, what motivated them, and what day-to-day life was like. In addition, students discuss the complex early encounters between settlers and the Native American communities already living there.

Supports Educations Standards and Skills: Grade 4

Size: 18″ x 18″ x 20″

Cost: $50 for two-week rental; $25 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Sample Trunk artifacts:

  • Cornhusk oil
  • Buffalo chip
  • Butter mold
  • Seed spreader disk
  • Washboard

View Trunk Overview | Book Now

The Years of Growth and Change

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 7

The Pacific Northwest experienced significant growth and change between the years 1870 and 1910. Students uncover innovations in daily life and industry.

The Years of Growth & Change Portable Museum Trunk contents

Daily life changed as innovations were made in household chores, food, homes, and transportation. Students dive into an interactive investigation of day-to-day life during these years, comparing and contrasting the changes that shaped the growth of this region.

Grade Level: Grade 3

Size: 18″ x 18″ x 20″

Cost: $50 for two-week rental: $25 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Sample Trunk artifacts:

  • Stereopticon
  • Carbide lantern
  • Sears catalog
  • Cylinder record
  • Railroad spike

View Trunk Overview | Book Now

The WWII Homefront Experience

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 7

World War II brought global distress, but how did these events shape Seattle? through artifact investigations, students explore the home-front experience.

The WWII Homefront Experience Portable Museum Trunk contents

The home-front experience during World War II brought many changes to daily life in the Pacific Northwest. Students use primary resources to investigate workforce changes, the effects of rationing, and how each person was urged to “do their part.” This trunk also includes an introduction to Japanese American Incarceration and recommendations for additional resources on this topic.

Grade Level: Grade 7

Size: 18″ x18″ x 20″

Cost: $50 for two-week rental; $25 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Sample Trunk artifacts: 

  • Air raid handbook
  • Ration and food stamp books
  • Blackout lightbulb
  • Gas mask
  • Life and Family Circle magazines

View Trunk Overview | Book Now

Seattle Innovations

Recommended Grade Level: Grades 4-5

Innovation has defined our region as long as humans have lived in this place. From local tribes utilizing the resources found here to build complex societies, to the modern-day tech boom, people have been working to meet or exceed the needs of their community. As Seattle has become more networked, local innovations have made global impacts. What is it about this place that creates the environment necessary for such an outsized amount of amount of innovation to occur?

Students will explore the tradition of innovation in our region, see themselves as innovators, and gain skills necessary to solving the next set of challenges that we face.

Grade level: Grades 4-5

Size:  18″ x 18″ x 20″

Cost:  $50 for two-week rental: $25 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Sample Trunk artifacts: 

  • Seattle Foot
  • Coast Salish Canoe Paddle Models
  • Hypercolor T-Shirt
  • Carbon Fiber Composite Material
  • Cedar Bark Mat

View Trunk Overview | Book Now

Museum Kits

Discovering Seattle Stories Early Learning Kit

Grade Level: Recommended for Pre-K–Grade 1

Discover the history of Seattle through the Great Seattle Fire in 1889 using artifacts and an interactive story.

Discovering Seattle Stories Early Learning Kit contents

This Kit introduces students to basic artifact analysis, and tells the history of Seattle using objects from the era. Students make and share their objects as part of an interactive story and learn the history of Seattle from settlement through the Great Seattle Fire. This lesson takes approximately 40 minutes and includes additional extension activities using the artifacts.

Grade Level: Recommended for Pre-K–Grade 1

Size: 23.5” x 35” x 23.5”

Cost: $30 for two-week rental; $15 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

View Kit Overview | Book Now

The Years of Growth & Change Dig Deep CBA Kit

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 4

The years from 1870-1910 marked a time of change in the Puget Sound region. Discover the innovations and industries that altered the way Washington residents lived their everyday lives.

Use primary sources to dig deeper into years of rapid growth and change in Seattle’s past, and learn what daily life was like for early settlers during the time of railroad expansion, the growth of many industries, and the Great Seattle Fire. This kit is a smaller variation on the Years of Growth & Change Trunk, and was developed in partnership with the Bellevue School District specifically for use with the Dig Deep and People on the Move Classroom-Based Assessments. Kit is available to all school districts July 1 through February 28.

Grade Level: Grade 4

Size: 15” x 18” x 11”

Cost: $30 for two-week rental; $15 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

View Kit Overview | Book Now

Century 21 Exposition Kit

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 5-12

Grades 5-12 — Uncover the history and themes of Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair as it relates to both the city’s past and future using images, events, and objects from this historic events.

Century 21 Exposition Kit contentsThe 1962 World’s Fair was a pivotal turning point for Seattle as it gained global recognition and made iconic changes to the physical and cultural landscape of the city. Students analyze the history, context, and broader cultural themes of this significant event, as well as the differences between it and the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909.

Grade Level: Recommended for Grades 5-12

Size: 15” x 18” x 11”

Cost: $30 for two-week rental; $15 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

View Kit Overview | Book Now

Maritime Kit

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 5-8

Examine the maritime history of Puget Sound, nautical communication methods, shipyards.

Maritime Kit contents

The Maritime Kit is offered in partnership with the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society. Topics include the history of trade and immigration, maritime signal flags, knot tying, and nautical charts. Students develop skits, complete an art project, go on a treasure hunt, and more.

Grade Level: Recommended for Grades 5-8

Size: 22.5” x 16.5” x 16.5”

Cost: $30 for two-week rental; $15 for additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

View Kit Overview | Book Now

Digging the Lake Kit

Recommended Grade Level: Grade 3-8

Students are introduced to the various themes that make up the history and geography of an urban lake, using the Lake Union Underwater Archaeology Project as a focus.

Digging the Lake Kit contents

The Digging the Lake Kit is offered in partnership with the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society and the Center for Wooden Boats. The construction of Lake Union was an integral part to the economic development of Seattle. Photos, videos, maps, suggested activities, and even real dive gear help students to learn about methods of historical research, and the role of underwater archaeology.

Grade Level: Recommended for Grades 3-8

Size: 18” x 31” x 14”

Cost: $30 for two-week rental; $15 for additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

View Kit Overview | Book Now

Elementary Seattle Film Kit

Recommended Grade Level: Grades 4- 7

This Kit focuses on film’s role in history and how Seattle’s history and events have been represented on film.

By practicing primary source analysis and examining film clips, students consider the intentions behind films and whether they are meant to be true representations of people and events or dramatic reinterpretations. Students then consider what kind of film they would create to tell a historical story, and work in groups to develop a film project.

Grade Level: Grades 4-7

Size: 15” x 18” x 11”

Cost: $30 for two-week rental; $15 for additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

View Kit Overview | Book Now

Secondary Seattle Film Kit

Recommended Grade Level: Grades 8-12

This Kit focuses on film’s role in history and how Seattle’s history and events have been represented on film.

Students investigate the intentions behind films, the legitimacy of representations and interpretations of people and events during primary source analysis and examining film clips. Students then consider what kind of film they would create to tell a historical story, and work in groups to develop a film project.

Grade Level: Grades 8-12

Size: 15” x 18” x 11”

Cost: $30 for two-week rental; $15 for additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

View Kit Overview| Book now

Digital Museum Trunks

Exploration and Trade

EALR alignments: Grade 4 — Explorers from around the world came to the Pacific Northwest to gather information, claim lands, and trade. Students learn who they were, how they traveled, and what they traded.

Explorers embarked on journeys to chart territory and trade for valuable items. Students learn about what drew these explorers to the Pacific Northwest, and how they navigated through waterways and over land.

This trunk explores:

  • Mapping & nautical exploration
  • Overland and U.S. exploration
  • Fur trade & trading companies

All trunks include:

  • Slideshow of historic images, documents, and artifacts with item descriptions
  • Background information and resources
  • Lesson plans for primary source analysis
  • Supporting handouts and activities

To access a digital trunk, please submit a booking request. We will email you a link within 2 business days.

Book Now

Settlement in Puget Sound

EALR alignments: Grade 4 — The Oregon Trail brought many people to the Pacific Northwest. Learn about the daily life of early settlers and the reasons that ultimately brought them out West.

Settlers who came to the Pacific Northwest along the Oregon Trail made the journey for many different reasons. Students use primary resources to study the people that made the journey, what motivated them, and what day-to-day life was like.

This trunk explores:

  • Moving west on the Oregon Trail
  • Early settlements
  • Treaties & reservations

All trunks include:

  • Slideshow of historic images, documents, and artifacts with item descriptions
  • Background information and resources
  • Lesson plans for primary source analysis
  • Supporting handouts and activities

To access a digital trunk, please submit a booking request. We will email you a link within 2 business days.

Book Now

Coast Salish Culture

EALR alignments: Grade 5 — Explore the rich cultural history of the Coast Salish people of the Pacific Northwest, through art, stories, historic events, and the objects of daily life.

Coast Salish communities have a unique and deep history in the Pacific Northwest. Through independent and collaborative primary source investigations, students learn about Coast Salish life in past times and today.

This trunk explores:

  • Geography & natural resources
  • Art & material culture
  • Storytelling
  • Treaties & sovereignty

All trunks include:

  • Slideshow of historic images, documents, and artifacts with item descriptions
  • Background information and resources
  • Lesson plans for primary source analysis
  • Supporting handouts and activities

To access a digital trunk, please submit a booking request. We will email you a link within 2 business days.

Book Now

Years of Growth and Change

EALR alignments: Grade 7 — The Puget Sound region experienced significant growth and change between the years 1870 and 1910. Increased railroad access to the Pacific Northwest resulted in drastic changes to industry, population, and landscape as Washington entered statehood and Seattle became an industrialized city.

At the same time, technological innovations in transportation, entertainment, and communication drastically altered urban life. By looking at primary sources, students uncover some of the many factors that led to immense changes in this period and how they impacted daily life in Seattle.

This trunk explores:

  • WA territory, statehood, and urban development
  • Early industries and innovations
  • Immigration, migration, and community

All trunks include:

  • Slideshow of historic images, documents, and artifacts with item descriptions
  • Background information and resources
  • Lesson plans for primary source analysis
  • Supporting handouts and activities

To access a digital trunk, please submit a booking request. We will email you a link within 2 business days.

Book Now

Collection Connections Live

Can’t make it to MOHAI? Bring MOHAI to your classroom, virtually! Reserve this new virtual primary source investigation program with a MOHAI Educator direct in your classroom.

Request Connection Connections Live Now

This new virtual program allows you to choose a topic and time period and a MOHAI Educator will guide your students through a primary source or artifact investigation. Sharpen your critical and historic thinking skills as we notice, question, and draw conclusions! This program is a good complement to a Portable Museum, or can stand on its own.

Select from the following topics:

  • Transportation: Explore how transportation innovations have shaped the way goods and people have moved to and within Washington state.
  • Homes: Explore home life and neighborhoods of different communities around the Puget Sound throughout history.
  • Salmon: Explore the cultural and economic importance of salmon in the Seattle region, and the impacts our growing cities have on the health of salmon populations.

Grade Level: 3rd – 12th

Price: Free for autumn bookings (October – December 2021)—limited availability; $75 January- June.

Duration: 45 minutes per group; up to 3 sessions a day, 15 minutes between sessions.

Primary Source Analysis

Primary Sources such as objects, documents, or photographs, provide a first-hand account of an event or time. At MOHAI, we use primary source investigation and object-based inquiry, to create multi-disciplinary learning experiences that stretch students’ critical and creative thinking skills. Below are a variety of fun ways to bring the MOHAI collection and object-based inquiry to your students.

Collection Connections: Objects in Question Videos

This video series is all about what we can learn about historic items, just by looking at them! Click here to view the full playlist of available Collection Connections videos.

Practice making observations and inferences with your students with these bite-sized history lessons that highlight different objects in our collection. New videos will be shared monthly – let us know what subjects or objects you and your students might be interested in!

Click on the links below to view: 

Collection Connections – Early Northwest Explorers (5:58)

Collection Connections – Coast Salish Cedar Weaving (5:39)

Collection Connections – Early American Settlers (6:09)

Collection Connections – Years of Growth & Change (7:15)

Collection Connections – Seattle Jazz (7:56)

Collection Connections – The Great Seattle Fire (7:28)

Collection Connections – Building & Construction (7:14)

Collection Connections – WA Industries (6:16)

Collection Connections – Traditional Coast Salish Homes (5:49)

Collection Connections – Music As Entertainment (7:33)

Collection Connections – Railroads (7:02)

Collection Connections – Coal Mining (7:52)

Collection Connections -1962 Seattle World’s Fair (9:21)

Collection Connections – WWII Home Front (8:59)

Collection Connections- Community Health & Safety (9:04)

Collection Connections – Coast Salish Wool Weaving (8:40)

Collection Connections – Aviation Innovations (10:02)

Collection Connections – Seattle Style (8:10)

Collection Connections – B-1 (5:41)

Collection Connections – Wawona (9:53)

We want to hear your thoughts and feedback! What topics and objects should we explore next? Email your thoughts and suggestions to education@mohai.org.

Introduction to Primary Source Analysis

Use these worksheets to encourage students’ historical thinking by asking questions about what they see, think, and wonder about objects in our collection.

MOHAI Online Collection Galleries and Suggested Activities

Did you know that you can access an extensive part of MOHAI’s collection online? There is a lot to explore, so we have specially selected items focusing on three themes and created inquiry and creative thinking prompts for student exploration.

Educator Workshop: Using the Online Collection

If you can’t bring your students to MOHAI this year, bring our collection to them!

Join MOHAI educators as we explore MOHAI’s digitized collection and how you can use it to support remote learning. Learn how to conduct research using MOHAI’s collection, build tools that support object-based inquiry, and create multi-disciplinary learning experiences that stretch students’ critical and creative thinking skills.

Click on the link below to view: 

Educator Workshop: Digital Distance Learning (1:06:38)

This is a condensed live recording from our Educator Workshop: Digital Distance Learning.

MYA Online Collection Scavenger Hunt

The MOHAI Youth Advisors have designed a scavenger hunt through the MOHAI online collection that familiarizes students with the online collection portal and common search strategies.

Designed with high school students in mind, the hunt explores photos of young people getting involved in their community throughout Seattle history. Use it to introduce independent research assignments or to encourage further exploration following an experience with MOHAI.

Download the Scavenger Hunt (PDF)

Youth and Family

Looking for creative ways to learn about history with the young people in your home? Explore and have fun with activities that help inquisitive minds explore our region’s stories.

Bite-sized History

Bite-sized history activities for distance learning.
Learn More

Online Curriculum

Use history curricula made by MOHAI educators for the classroom.
Learn More

Education FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions about our Education programs.
Learn More

Scholarships

Each year, over 200 schools from over 30 school districts participate in MOHAI’s school-based education programs. Costs associated with visiting the museum can create barriers for some schools and educational groups, though. MOHAI’s educational scholarships help provide greater access to the museum and the history of the Puget Sound region.

MOHAI offers scholarships to schools and student groups for both field trips and Portable Museum program rentals. The scholarship program serves learners to ensure no student is ever turned away because of financial limitations.

Education Program Supporters

Thank you to these generous sponsors for supporting MOHAI’s educational programming.

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