Students (Pre-K through 12th grade) investigate Oklahoma’s past at this dynamic museum. A grant program allows Oklahoma public, private and homeschool groups of 10 or more who schedule their field trips at least two weeks in advance to receive free admission for students, teachers and chaperones. Their Traveling Trunk program brings the museum to the classroom for free while History Alive! Outreach offers living history programs for kids of all ages for a cost of just $50 to $150.
History continues to be shared at Oklahoma History Center, despite the pandemic. The many new programs that the museum’s education staff have implemented, with the support of several important
grants, help continue history education for students across the state. Here’s more about how your family can take advantage of these programs, as provided by Education Director Sarah Dumas.
How has the Education Department at OHC morphed to meet the needs of families and kids during the pandemic?
In some cases, we’re expanding programs that already existed and for others, we’ve had to completely re-think programming. For example, thanks to the support of BancFirst, we’ve greatly expanded our Traveling Trunk Program which provides a museum experience to students and teachers unable to visit the museum. Each trunk contains lesson plans, hands-on activities and three-dimensional artifacts for students to see and touch. Trunks
also may include DVDs, CDs and related trade books. Each trunk curriculum includes activities appropriate for K–12 students.
While social studies are a primary curriculum focus, the trunks also are used by language arts, math, science, physical education, art, music and gifted program teachers. All trunks directly address Oklahoma Academic Standards and correlate with OHC exhibits. These may be reserved for a week at a time and used for small class situations or even shared virtually with the class. Each trunk is thoroughly sanitized between uses.
Many of the museum’s educational programs have been modified to online and virtual programs, thanks to the generous support of the Inasmuch Foundation. One example is their living history performances featuring actors in period dress who utilize storytelling, music and dance to portray people and professions from the past as they teach historical lessons. Discover their extensive online programming at khistory.org/historycenter/education. Collaborations with other organizations also play a significant role in extending learning opportunities to the public. As a Smithsonian Institution (SI) Affiliate, the OHC is distributing an activity guide published by the SI targeting virtual teachers, parents and students entitled “Winter from Home.” This guide suggests ways to structure various in-home tasks as educational exercises and learning experiences. In addition, parents can find online videos and movies that are offered to the public through the museum.
National History Day, both statewide and nationally, is a competitive event that engages over half a million middle- and high-school students in history-based research. Some students work for a year on their projects for an opportunity to present their best work at this event. Our museum is recognized as the hub for Oklahoma students and the last step before competing nationally. We successfully moved this to a virtual-based competition, thanks to the support of the Ad Astra Foundation.
While we look forward to getting back to hosting field trips at some point, we are also excited to provide all of these accessible programs to teachers and students, both now and in the future.