In addition to its fascinating Gold Rush past, the Sacramento area is rich with an amazing array of state-of-the-art museums and historic sites that offer visitors the chance to explore California’s fine art, history, science and wildlife treasures.
In addition to being open to the public most days all year long, many of the 30 members of Sacramento Area Museums offer group tours, hands-on activities and interpretive experiences tailored for local students that help to extend learning and add depth to topics covered in the classroom.
Following is a sampling of some of the school tour offerings for the 2018-2019 school year.
California Automobile Museum
The California Automobile Museum offers a variety of school programs for kindergarteners through eighth grade. Their programs support Common Core Standards and are designed to educate students about the way automobiles – and the science and history behind them – have helped shaped our society. Tours are interactive and designed to engage the imagination of students. Students can even participate in an assembly line exercise as part of the popular Motor Works tour. For more, visit www.calautomuseum.org.
The California Museum’s education programs and field trip tours offer engaging, interactive learning opportunities for K-12 grade students corresponding with exhibits on the state’s history, arts and culture of diversity for 50,000 participants each year. Aligned with History-Social Science, Common Core English Language Arts, Civics outcomes and CASEL Core Social-Emotional Learning Competencies, all programs include lesson plans, activity sheets and free teacher admission, plus reduced student and chaperone admission. Available for classes of 30 or more Tuesday through Friday year-round by advance reservation. For details or to book, visit http://www.californimuseum.org/field-trips.
California State Railroad Museum
The California State Railroad Museum is offering a variety of school tours in 2018-2019 that include the following: Horses to Horsepower Program for fourth and fifth grades; Interpretive Handcar program for grades fourth through sixth; Emigrant Train Program for fourth and fifth grades; School Train Program for grades K through 12 and the Eagle Theatre Student Melodrama Program (where students have an opportunity to participate in a real melodrama while learning about the history of Sacramento and the Eagle Theatre) for fourth and fifth grades. Plus, the Museum is offering special Homeschool Activities on Oct. 19. For group tour reservations, call 916-323-9274 or email email@example.com. For more information, visit www.californiarailroad.museum.
Folsom History Museum
The Folsom History Museum serves nearly 4,500 school children each year through their tour program that is offered to all children, but focused around curriculum for third to fifth graders. Students begin at the History Museum then visit the nearby Pioneer Village to get a more hands-on experience with gold panning and blacksmith demonstrations. Folsom History Museum also offers classroom visits with their mobile “tales and trails” program. For more information, please visit www.folsomhistoricalsociety.org.
Museum of Medical History
All year long, the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society Museum of Medical History provides fascinating group tours for students (typically for fourth and fifth graders), high school and college students, and even some adult and senior groups, too. To date in 2018, the museum has provided 25 group tours that served about 550 individuals. For more information about arranging a group tour, visit www.ssvms.org/museum.aspx.
Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum
The Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum welcomes school groups for old-fashioned lessons that show what school was like before technology – no electronics or running water. Students spend an hour writing, reading, doing arithmetic as well as learning about life in the 1800s. To make a reservation, call 916-939-7206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For general information about the Schoolhouse and special activities, contact email@example.com.
Powerhouse Science Center
Each year, the Powerhouse Science Center provides approximately 1,175 school tours for nearly 50,000 students. A few of the tour group offerings for the 2018-2019 school year include the following: a Challenger Simulated Space Mission for grades fifth through eighth that was designed in cooperation with NASA; a Digging Up The Past experience that is an outdoor simulated archaeological dig for grades fourth through eighth; and Hands-On Labs that are fully aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for fourth through eighth grades. For more information, visit www.powerhousesc.org.
Sacramento Children’s Museum
The Sacramento Children’s Museum offers approximately 115 field trips per year that serve more than 3,000 students annually. The Museum offers group tours for preschool through second grades along with their Van Go Mobile Museum where they visit local classrooms, with topics determined by grade. A few of the preschool program include the Five Senses, Food Lab and Sound Explorers. Their programs for kindergarteners through second grade include Building & Engineering, Air & Flight and Color Lab. The museum also offers periodic Homeschool Days, an all-ages class offered exclusively to Homeschool Students during the Museum’s open hours. For more information, visit www.sackids.org.
Sacramento History Museum
Serving 13,500 students a year, the Sacramento History Museum provides year-round school history programs and tours from kindergarten to college level. Students can immerse themselves in the Gold Rush, the Nisenan culture, and the land and sea routes to California. They can pan for gold, and use scavenger hunts to discover the museum and Old Sacramento. They can even tour below ground where Sacramento used to be, and find out why the city was lifted up. Learn more at www.sachistorymuseum.org.
Sutter’s Fort State Historic ParkSutter's Fort State Historic Park offers a variety of field trip and educational programs that serve more 50,000 students every year. The most iconic of the educational programs is the Environmental Living Program (ELP), which for over 40 years has been providing fourth and fifth grade students with a once-in-a-lifetime experience of spending 24-hours at the Fort learning and participating in pioneer skills (such as carpentry and rope-making) as well as cooking and eating all of their meals on site. Other programs offered are the Environmental Studies Program (a daytime only version of ELP), Sutter’s Fort or Bust (an innovative and low-cost field trip option for elementary school students grades four through six), and a new joint program with B Street Theatre where students attend a performance at B Street and then participate in an interactive one-hour program at Sutter’s Fort building on the themes of the performance. For more information, visit https://suttersfort.org/educational-programs/