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School Programs

Virtual Programs

19th Century Daily Life: The life of a 19th century child is fascinating to children of today. Discover this world in the 1837 home of Dr. John Hutchison, one of Peterborough’s first resident physicians. Students will gain insight into such facets of daily life such as food and food preparation, medical practices, communications, tasks and responsibilities, pastimes and recreation and more.

Pre-recorded: This presentation is done in Google Slides with pre-recorded audio and some video. $65

Live: This presentation is done in Google Slides and is presented with a live interpreter going through the presentation over zoom with a period of Q&A at the end. Other viewing programs can be discussed. $85

Medicine Bags: This presentation is done in Google Slides with a live interpreter. Compare how we take medicine today vs. the 19th Century and make a cold remedy using 4 common garden herbs. Supplies for this activity can be picked up at the museum prior to the program date. Please arrange pick up with the museum staff. Stand-alone $40 or $20 if done in conjunction with either the pre-recorded or live 19th century daily life programs.

In House School Programs

Over 600 students and supervisors took part in a wide range of curriculum-based educational programs at the museum in 2010.

Every program includes a minimum of two hands-on components. Programs are flexible and can be tailored to meet specific needs.


Let’s Have Lunch: $8.50 per person (temporarily unavailable)
All other programs: $5.00 per child
There is no charge for child supervisors.

** Please contact the museum office for up-to-date confirmation of fees. **

For more information about the Hutchison House School Program, please call 705-743-9710, or call Toll Free 1-866-743-9710.

School group holding dream catchers created in a Hutchison House Museum program

Let’s Have Lunch (temporarily unavailable)

Students will help prepare a full meal in the 1840s Keeping Room. The menu consists of stew with all the peeling and slicing done by students and cooked in an iron pot over the fire. They will make oatmeal and molasses bread from scratch and shake up cream to make butter. The students will also bake a cake in the Dutch oven by the fire, based on a recipe used by Catharine Parr Traill. Students will create and perform their own settler skits while their food is cooked.

Grades 1-8
Curriculum Links: History, Social Studies, Drama, Science and Technology
Program Length: Length 3 – 4 hours

Sir Sandford Fleming

Sandford Fleming came to Peterborough in 1845 and lived with his cousin Dr. John Hutchison. He went on to become a significant figure in the history of Canada, highly skilled in a multitude of areas including engineering, map making and sketching. He was also famous for his extensive work on the Canadian Pacific Railway and the invention of Standard Time Zones. A choice of two program options are offered. Students can can either research aspects of Fleming’s life and put together a classroom exhibit or they may learn about Fleming’s life through writing, design and invention.

Grades: 6 and 7
Curriculum Links: Visual Arts, Language Arts, Science, History

All aboard – The Expansion of Canada’s West

The difficult path of building a cross country railroad will be explored through fun, insightful activities. Students will learn about the development of the Canadian Pacific Railroad and the colourful cast of characters, including Peterborough’s own Sir Sandford Fleming, who were involved in the project. Also discussed will be the impact of the railroad on ordinary citizens and how the railroad changed their lives forever.

Grade 8
Curriculum Link: History
Program Length: 2 hours

Daily Life of Settlers

The life of a 19th Century child is fascinating to students today. Discover this world in the 1837 home of Dr. Hutchison, one of Peterborough’s first resident physicians. Through a variety of activities, students will gain insight into such facets of daily life as food and food preparation, medical practices, transportation systems, communications, clothing, tasks and responsibilities, pastimes and recreation. This program is offered year round, however activities may vary according to season.

Grade K-8
Curriculum Link: History, Social Sciences and Health
Program Length: Length 2 hours

19th Century Christmas

Did you know that families such as the Hutchisons would not have had a Christmas tree? Students can learn how Christmas and the New Year were celebrated in early Victorian Peterborough by touring the traditionally decorated museum, cooking special Yuletide treats on the hearth, and making seasonal crafts. Similar programs for other holidays may be arranged.

Grade: K-8
Curriculum Links: History, Social Studies, Visual Arts
Program Length: 2 hours

Community Life

Students will explore the community that surrounded Hutchison House in the mid-1800’s by taking an outdoor walking tour. They will learn about Peterborough’s history and personalities, industry and business, religion, architecture and transportation by seeing actual heritage buildings and sites. Early maps of Peterborough will help students discover how the community has changed over the years. This tour is offered year round, but weather appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn.

Grades: 3-8
Curriculum Links: History, Social Studies, Geography, Science

Language, Reading and Writing

Students of today will experience student life of yesterday. They will tour Hutchison House and participate in language, reading and writing activities. Students will discover that people in the past spoke differently than us, what they wrote about in their diaries and letters, what they wrote with and the fascinating stories they told.

Grade 4
Curriculum Links: Language, Health and Physical Education
Program Length: 2 Hours

Roles and Responsibilities

Kids will always by kids! Learn through hands-on activities how children in 19th Century homes were expected to behave, what rules and responsibilities were expected of them, and what has changed. Did girls always cook and do laundry? Was it always a boy’s job to bring in the firewood or empty chamber pots? Through a combination of action and instruction, children will learn what it was like to be young a long time ago, and have fun at the same time.

Grade 1
Curriculum Links: Social Studies, Language
Program Length: 2 hours

Scottish Traditions

Students will learn about Scottish Traditions through four areas of focus- clothing (tartans and what they represent), food (shortbread etc), celebrations (Hogmanay) and culture (Highland games, etc). This program can be modified to include traditions of people from other cultures who lived in the Peterborough are when the Hutchisons did.

Grade 2
Curriculum Links: Social Studies, Language
Program Length: 2 hours

Down to the Letter

What would you do if you couldn’t call friends and family on the telephone, or send them an email? How could you hold on to your special memories without photographs or home movies? Students will experience how people communicated over 150 years ago. They will find out how Sir Sandford Fleming sent a message to his family from the Atlantic Ocean. They will also create a personal notebook to collect stories and botanical specimens.

Grade 3  
Curriculum Links: Drama, Oral Communication, Social Studies, Science
Program Length: 2 hours

Spectacular Silhouettes

Can you imagine a world without photographs? Take a creative leap back in time and discover the ancient technique of silhouette making. For hundreds of years, before photographs and digital technology made taking a person’s picture easy, artists used light and shadow to trace a person’s profile, to capture their appearance on paper.

Grade 4
Curriculum Links: Visual Arts
Program Length: 2 Hours

Scottish Halloween

Did you know people used to carve turnips at Halloween to help guide the dead and protect their homes? Students will learn the old Scottish traditions and superstitions surrounding the celebration of Halloween. Students will take a “spooky” tour of the museum, learn about the harvest and create shrunken heads and play traditional divination games.

Grade K-8
Curriculum Links: History, Social Studies, Visual Arts
Program Length: 2 Hours