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Photo: Daniel Sheehan

Education at MOHAI

MOHAI’s wide range of hands-on, educational programs make local history come alive for students at every grade level.

At the Museum

Unfortunately, due to new capacity guidelines, in-person field trips are cancelled for the remainder of the year, or until Washington State Phase 4 is reached in King County. In the meantime, MOHAI’s Education Team has created digital curriculum for your use, so that your students still can explore local history using MOHAI’s fun and engaging activities. We welcome your feedback so we can continue to create curriculum that is relevant and engaging.

When we set a date for restarting in-person fieldtrips, we will notify our mailing list and update this webpage. If you would like to be added to that mail list, please click the sign up button below.

Our programs support Washington’s educational standards and skills, and use authentic historic materials to promote teamwork, creativity, communication, visual literacy, critical thinking, observation, and problem-solving skills.

We look forward to inviting your classes back into the museum when it is safe to do so, and hope to remain a partner in your students’ learning experience.

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In the Classroom

Portable Museum Programs

Bring inquiry-based learning into your remote classroom with selections of primary sources and supporting materials from MOHAI’s Portable Museum Program. Our Digital Trunks contain historical photographs, documents, and slideshows, plus lesson plans and activities that can be modified to meet individual class needs. Lesson plans target specific grade levels depending on the topic, but materials can be adapted to any age.

Book a Digital Trunk for access to downloadable resources and stay up to date on expanded offerings. Physical Portable Museum Trunks and Kits are currently unavailable for rental.

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

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)

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

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.

Bite-sized History

Bite-sized history activities for distance learning.
Learn More

At Home Activities

Fun ways to explore history with young people at home.
Learn More

Online Curriculum

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

D.V. and Ida J. McEachern Charitable Trust

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