Idaho State Historical Museum Education Programs
Summer Camp Fun
Photo Credit: ISHS
Come discover Idaho’s past with some fun summer camps at the Idaho State Historical Museum. Explore the Museum’s programs and exhibits with camps that include history, crafts, nature walks and storytelling. We offer camps for elementary students entering 2nd grade through 6th grades, as well as collaborations with the Boise Art Museum and Zoo Boise.
June 17-June 21
Julia Davis Park Explorers: Art, Animals and History (Entering grades 2nd-7th) 9am-3pm
Be an active explorer of artwork, history, and animal wildlife! This camp highlights some of the cultural institutions in Julia Davis Park and gives students a chance to learn more about each organization through hands-on activities and interactive experiences. Each day will be spent discovering the unique features of a new location, including the Boise Art Museum, Zoo Boise, and the Idaho Historical Museum. Participants will begin and end each day at the Boise Art Museum. Members of the participating institutions may receive the discounted member rate for this camp. Please indicate institution membership on registration form. Register at www.boiseartmuseum.org. Pre-registration required by Friday June 7, 2013. Cost: FoZB Passholders/BAM Members/ISHM Members $150, Others $180.
Idaho at 150-Weird Animals, Wild History, and Birthdays Oh My (Entering Grades 3rd-6th) 9am-4pm
Idaho is 150 years old, come celebrate by spending the week at Zoo Boise and the Idaho State Historical Museum. At the zoo, observe all kinds of weird animals including walkingsticks, legless lizards, and poop-eating animals. We’ll play the island game to determine why weird animals live on isolated isles, create treats for animals that have weird mouths, have a dung rolling contest and meet some weird animals up close. In the afternoon you will turn into history detectives and unearth weird and wild events that helped shape our state. Invent your own state seal, discover odd trivia, compete in potato sack races, boat races and other quirky activities as we celebrate Idaho. Register at http://parks.history.idaho.gov or by phone, call Fort Boise Community Center at (208) 608-7680Cost: FoZB annual passholder $155, Boise City Residents $165, Non-residents $175 Activity Number: FoZB annual passholders 430940-01, Boise City Residents & Non-residents 430440-01
July 22 – 26
Moccasins to Rocket Ships – Idaho at 150 (Entering 2nd – 3rd grade) 9am-12am
Explore how life has changed in Idaho over the years. Travel by foot, boat, motorcar, and spaceship with crafts, games and stories. Register on-line or by calling the museum at (208) 334- 2120, ext. 21. The cost per camp is $75 for members of the Museum or $85 for non-members.
July 29 – August 2
Mad Dash 150 (Entering 4th – 6th grades) 9am-12am
Dash through the history of Idaho with 150 years with fun activities, games and adventures as we explore Native Indians of Idaho, Lewis and Clark, Gold Mining, Quirky Idaho and more. Register on-line or by calling the museum at (208) 334- 2120, ext. 21. The cost per camp is $75 for members of the Museum or $85 for non-members.
Campers should bring a healthy snack and a bottle of water. To receive a refund (less $50 fee per student, per camp), you must cancel at least two weeks before the first day of the camp. No refunds will be made during the two weeks before each camp. If the Idaho State Historical Museum cancels a camp, a full refund will be made.
The museum is a great way to get students excited about history. Visitors can tour the museum as a self-guided group or choose one of our many hands-on programs. Reduced group admission is available. To make reservations call (208) 334-2120 ext. 11.
To schedule your visit, we'll need your preferred trip time and date, contact information, number in group (1adult per 8-10 students suggested), any special needs your group might have, and preferred program. Groups requesting a program must have a minimum of 10 participants.
Please read our program descriptions listed below and choose a program that is suitable for your interests and age group. If you wish to come self-guided, we still ask that you make a formal reservation with our education staff.
You can also download a short guide for your visit with a few suggested self-guided activities.
If you can't make it to the museum, it's possible the museum education program can come to you. The museum staff makes a limited amount of trips to schools each year based on time and distance. Almost any program available at the museum can be brought to you. Contact us to inquire about availability.
For over thirty years the museum marionette shows have been delighting school children. Using vintage puppet and hand-crafted sets, the marionette troop performs shows that are both educational and entertaining. Unlike many of other program, the marionette shows are only offered on specific days.
Bertha Goes West
October and November only, Thursdays 9:30 a.m. and 10:20 a.m.
A pioneer family, complete with their talking cow, show you what it was like to travel to Idaho on the Oregon Trail.
45 minutes. Grades 2-4. Typically combined with one of our other pioneer education programs.
Pigtails and Goldpans
March and April only, Thursday 9:30 a.m. and 10:20 am
Find out what early Boise Basin was like from the point of view of two Chinese cousins.
45 minutes. Grades 3-6. Typically combined with one of our other pioneer education programs.
The museum programs are not lectures. They are participatory learning experiences for students. These programs use a combination of hands-on demonstrations, close-up examination of artifacts, and thought-provoking explanations by our docent staff to bring history alive for your students.
Pioneer Life - Spinning
What was life like for pioneers? Learn the process of wool spinning from sheep to sweater. Students get to try their skill at hand weaving.
20-30 minutes. Grades 2-5.
Pioneer Life - Dairy
Find out how important the cow was for an early pioneer farm and then try out some old fashioned butter-making.
20-30 minutes. Grades 2-5
Pioneer Life - Toys
How did children entertain themselves in late 1800's Idaho? Examine some early toys and then try out your favorites.
20-30 minutes. Grades 2-4.
Native America Hunting and Gathering
Learn the history of hunting and gathering in Idaho through the examination of Native American tools. Try your hand at corn grinding with authentic basalt mortars and pestles.
20-30 minutes. Grades 1-6.
In the early 1800s, the only Europeans in the Idaho region were fur trappers. Learn about the lives of these brave mountain men through an examination of museum artifacts.
30-45 minutes. Grades 4-5.
Lewis and Clark and the Indians
As the Corps of Discovery made their epic journey across the west, they crossed land occupied by 50 different Native American tribes. Learn how Lewis and Clark communicated with the people they encountered and play a short game that illustrates the difficulty of conversing without spoken language.
30-45 minutes. Grades 4-6.
The Oregon Trail
In the mid-1800s thousands of pioneers passed through Idaho on the Oregon Trail. In this program we will discuss the hardships of the pioneer lifestyle and closely examine some of the artifacts they might have brought with them on the trail by playing a challenging game of "What is it?"
20-30 minutes. Grades 3-6.
Mining in Idaho
Learn how the discovery of gold was important to Idaho's statehood and examine artifacts used for mining in Idaho's past. Try your hand at panning for "gold."
20-30 minutes. Grades 3-6.
The Chinese in Idaho
In the late 1800s many Chinese settlers came to Idaho to try their luck during the gold rush. Yet little remains to tell the story of their lives. This program combines a slide show with an examination of Chinese clothing and cultural items from the museum collections.
30-45 minutes. Grades 4-12.
Cowboys and Ranching
Take a close look at the clothing and equipment of a classic cowboy and then learn the ins and outs of cattle roping in an outdoor lasso demonstration.
30-45 minutes. Grades 3-6.
The History of Boise
Take a quick tour of Treasure Valley history. This program features a kid-friendly slide show and a few museum artifacts to illustrate what life was like in old Boise.
30-45 minutes. Grades 3-5.
Using Artifacts to Teach History
Students are used to learning history from lectures, textbooks, and the internet. Many don't realize that museum artifacts are also a useful resource for learning about the past. Learn the importance of artifacts in history by looking at some unusual and rare objects from our collection. Then break into groups and play an identification game to see what you can learn from artifacts.
45-60 minutes. Grades 4-12.
The museum offers additional education programs on some First Thursdays, Hands-on History weekends during the summer, and other times. Check our calendar for more information.