Coming Soon to a Classroom Near You! A behind-the-scenes look at our newest educational program

February 21, 2022

Thanks to your support, History Box has started travelling to schools across Canada. This program sends History Boxes — filled with 25 carefully selected authentic and reproduction objects, along with backgrounders and lesson plans — to classrooms from coast to coast. And, thanks to you, this inquiry-based learning experience is being offered to schools at no charge.

Students looking at artifacts with teacher

Students with History Box – CMH 2021-0087-0017-Dm

Based on the Canadian War Museum’s highly successful Supply Line program, development began on this exciting, hands-on program in 2018. To determine the objects to be included, we formed a National Teacher Advisory Group. The feedback was loud and clear: teachers wanted touchable, handmade artistic items to help them teach Canadian History.

“Teachers are really interested in the artistic pieces – craft pieces, anything that is ‘made.’ That really inspired the objects in the kit,” says Dr. Katie McDade, Museum Learning Specialist.

Eventually, 25 items were selected, representing different regions and peoples across Canada. Sample objects include a Métis floral design, Inuit snow goggles, a Ukrainian Easter egg, and 22 other treasures to represent our living, breathing cultural history.

“The original plan was to have the historical items reproduced in-house,” continues Katie. “We quickly realized that it would be far more authentic if some of the items were made by artists using traditional techniques.” As a result, all Indigenous objects, for example, were crafted by Indigenous artists.

Many of these artists also provided background information that will be shared with students — in writing and through video — about their processes, their lives, and how they connect with the objects they have produced. We also reached out to the descendants of the people whose stories are reflected in some of the objects, and they were thrilled to provide information and share a loved one’s item in the History Box.

 “Working with descendants and artists has been the most rewarding part of the project,” adds Katie. “Working with people from the communities the items came from, and hearing their stories, has turned it into something really special. It’s beyond objects. It’s the people and stories that are coming alive in a way I wasn’t even anticipating.”

 The development of this program has been generously supported by the Wilson Foundation, the Crabtree Foundation, Power Corporation of Canada, the Carolyn Sifton Foundation, Good Foundation Inc., and many individual donors across Canada. Thank you, we are deeply grateful for your generosity.