Portable Museum Programs

Erin Chen, Seattle World School

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.

Portable Museum Trunk Topics

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 resource investigations of authentic materials from native communities, students learn about Coast Salish life in past times and today.

EALR alignments: 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
  • Hand woven blanket
  • Western cedar bark
  • Fish club

Exploration and Trade

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

Explorers embarked on perilous journeys to chart territory and trade for valuable items. Students learn 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.

EALR alignments: 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:

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

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 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 here.

EALR alignments: 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 doll
  • Buffalo chip
  • Butter mold
  • Seed spreader disk
  • Washboard

The Years of Growth & Change

EALR alignments: Grade 3 — The Pacific Northwest experienced significant growth and change in the Pacific Northwest between 1870 and 1910. Students uncover innovations in daily life and industry.

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.

EALR alignments: 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

The WWII Homefront Experience

EALR alignments: 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 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 Internment and recommendations for additional resources on this topic.

EALR alignments: Grade 7

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:

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

Portable Museum Kit Topics

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.

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 2 week rental; $15 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

The Years of Growth & Change Dig Deep CBA Kit

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.

Grade Level: Grade 4

Size: 15” x 18” x 11”

Cost: $30 for 2 week rental; $15 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Century 21 Exposition Kit

Grade Level: Recommended for 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

The 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 2 week rental; $15 per additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Maritime Kit

Grade Level: Recommended for Grades 5-8 — Examine the maritime history of Puget Sound, nautical communication methods, shipyards, and navigation.

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 2 week rental; $15 for additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Digging the Lake Kit

Grade Level: Recommended for Grades 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

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 2 week rental; $15 for additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Elementary Seattle Film Kit

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 2 week rental; $15 for additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Secondary Seattle Film Kit

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 2 week rental; $15 for additional week. Late returns are subject to a fine.

Portable Museum Guidelines

Answers to the most commonly asked questions when when booking a Portable Museum Program.
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Portable Museum Reservations

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