Our hands-on history boxes are programs designed to immerse students in one particular period of Virginia history. The boxes include replicas of artifacts, manuscripts, and images for students to touch and examine up close. These programs take place in The Story of Virginia galleries. Teachers may request a hands-on history box as a supplement to their SOL tour.
We offer history box programs at the museum or in your classroom, space and staff permitting. Programs at the museum are free; those we bring to your classroom cost $75 per program and are only available in central Virginia.
The following programs are available at the museum or in your classroom.
By learning about Pocahontas and the roles of men, women, and children in Powhatan communities, students will gain a better understanding of the lives of Virginia’s original inhabitants. Students will investigate animal pelts, pottery shards, stone tools, and other objects to bring the experiences of the Powhatan people to life.
Voices of the Revolution
Using replica artifacts, documents, and images, students will learn about the contributions made by Virginians—male and female, white and black, rich and poor—during the fight for independence. By examining these resources, students will gain insight into the lives of the patriots and loyalists who are often overlooked in textbooks.
3rd grade and up
In the 1800s, roughly one million Virginians left our commonwealth for the great unknown of the western territories. While looking at objects that might have been found in a pioneer family’s covered wagon, students can discuss the hardships those people faced and the hopes they carried with them.
The Civil War Soldier: A Common Man
Learn about our nation’s deadliest war through the eyes of a young Civil War soldier. By focusing on aspects of camp life—such as clothing, food, and letters from home—students will be able to understand better the roles of Virginians in this national conflict.
4th grade and up
Slavery in Virginia: A Journey toward Emancipation
This program explores the lives of enslaved Virginians between the arrival of the first Africans in 1619 and the creation of the Emancipation Proclamation. In addition to examining replica artifacts, students will study documents, images, and manuscripts to include the perspectives of abolitionists and free black Virginians in a discussion about one of the most challenging aspects of our nation’s history.
Recommended group size: 30 students
4th grade and up
History Detectives: Snapshots from the Past
Explore a changing Virginia during the turn of the twentieth century by investigating photographs from the era. By unveiling the historical clues hidden in these images, students will learn how new technologies, urbanism, and social changes shaped the growth of Virginia during this exciting time.