School Programs

kids in cut-out

The Peterborough Museum and Archives offers a variety of programs for classes and community groups. Our programs include hands-on activities for a more immersive learning experience. Depending on your choice of program, activities may take place in our permanent exhibition space or multi-purpose classroom. You can contact our Education Officer if you are wishing to book an education program.

Are you looking for new educational activities for the virtual classroom or at home? Check out our new blog series "Museum Classroom"!  Each month we will feature a new activity to bring a little piece of Museum programming to you. 

Learning Resources for Teachers

Virtual learning can be challenging to say the least - let us help! We have developed two new educational resources that are suitable anywhere, anytime whether you are teaching virtually or in person.  Each provides layered learning opportunities for a variety of ages and make for a perfect "end of the year" activity! 

 Class Museum Program

Class Museum Program Title PageEnd the year off, by making your very own Class Museum! This fun project, is suitable for Grades 3-8 and is customizable to suit your learning goals. The program includes videos to introduce each activity and corresponding PDF work sheets to guide student work. Together your class with choose a museum theme & go through the step-by-step process of creating their own mini exhibits. Access the program by hitting the button below and we will send the materials right to your inbox.

Class Museum Program

COVID Junk Journal 

COVID Junk Journal Title PageThe Peterborough Museum & Archives wants to document & preserve our community’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and we need your help! In this program students will create their own "junk journal" or scrapbook to document their lived experience as kids during the pandemic. This activity is suitable for grades 1-8 as it's easily to modify based on the expectations for each grade level. 

Click the button below to access the "COVID Junk Journal" activity, which includes an introduction video from our Education Officer and a PDF with instructions, journal prompts, learning goals, success criteria and fun pictures to cut and paste. 

COVID Junk Journal Activity

When students are finished with their junk journal, whether it's weeks, months or years  from now,  they can send them to the Peterborough Museum to be added to our Archives and preserved for years to come!

 In- Person School Programs

The Peterborough Museum & Archives is currently closed for in-person school programming, as part of the provincewide shutdown. We are counting the days until we can welcome you back, but until then please refer to our growing list of educational resources found in our blog series Museum Classroom

Booking details

Here is some important information to keep in mind before booking your group to come to the museum.


  • Programs are approximately 1.5 to 2 hours long
  • Education programs can be booked in the morning or afternoon
  • Bookings can accommodate bussing requirements

Group Size

The maximum number of students / participants for any program is 10, due to current COVID-19 restrictions.

Program Fees

  • $10 per student / participant
  • Minimum of $60 per group
  • Evenings and weekends are minimum $120 per group
  • No charge for supervisors


A subsidy may be available for City and County of Peterborough schools. Please enquire when booking.


At least one day's advanced notice is required to avoid payment of full fees. Exception applies on days of bus cancellations. Please call to rebook.

kids with archeaology equipmentElementary school programs

The following programs are available for booking any time during the school year.

Archaeology – grades 3, 5 and 6

In this popular program, students experience the excitement of a real dig as they uncover traces of six Peterborough and area communities. Students will work within groups to follow the steps of an archaeological dig, as well as discover the stories behind their artifacts. The program concludes with a tour through our galleries and an opportunity for students to share their findings.

  • Ontario curriculum for social studies 2018: 'Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present'

"Excellent program. Very suitable for our grade 4/5 medieval / ancient civilizations program."

Early settlement – grade 3

Students travel back in time to explore life with the Anishinaabe First Nations, and then pack their bags for a voyage on the immigrant ship 'John Barry'. The journey continues as one of Peter Robinson's settlers, as they make a new home in the backwoods of Upper Canada. Through drama and activity centres, students will explore the experience of early settlers in Peterborough/Nogojiwanong.

  • Ontario curriculum for social studies 2018: 'Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada 1780-1850'

"This program was amazing! It was a direct link to the curriculum we just learned. The kids knew all of the theory, but they wouldn't get the hands-on from the books, so it was great!"


History mystery – grade 5 and 6

The adventure begins with a map to your very own treasure chest! Students use primary source documents such as maps, photographs and artifacts to investigate and tell the stories of Peterborough's heritage.

  • Ontario curriculum for social studies 2018: social studies concepts and the inquiry process

"This program was excellent, and I truly liked all of it. Hands-on mapping was an excellent way to learn about our streets in Peterborough."

Immigration stories – grade 6

The story begins in the museum's permanent galleries with indigenous migrations, Treaty 20, and the arrival of the region's earliest European settlers. Students then discover the personal stories of the 1825 Peter Robinson immigrants from Ireland through role playing and exploring archival documents detailing their journey to the backwoods of Upper Canada.

  • Ontario curriculum for social studies 2018: 'Heritage and identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present'

Jump into geometry – grades 1, 2 and 3

Let's do some math at the museum! Through our quilt collection, students will become detectives as they search for a variety of shapes and patterns. With the eye of a curator, they will search for the "bigger" pictures and help us solve an old mystery. The program concludes with four hands-on math centres exploring patterns and shapes.

  • Ontario curriculum for mathematics 2020 : 'Social and Emotional Learning Skills and Mathematical Processes, Patterns and Relationships, Spatial Sense' grades 1 to 3

Literacy at the museum – grade 4, 5 and 6

Fascinating artifacts from our collection generate ideas for storyboards, reports, letters, drama and storytelling.

  • Ontario curriculum for language: grades 4, 5, and 6

Simple machines – grade 2

What is it? How does it work? Through a variety of hands-on learning activities, students will decode the ways in which wheels, pulleys, levers, and screws combine to make 'work' easier.

  • Ontario curriculum for science and technology: 'Understanding Structure and Mechanisms', 'Movement': grade 2

Playtimes past – kindergarten and pre-school

In this gentle introduction to museums, young children enjoy the simple pleasures of a wide variety of games and toys. Traditional indigenous and early settler life is explored with a focus on play.

kids investegating

Secondary school programs

Custom programs may be designed for secondary students using our significant textile, military, photographic and archival collections.

Frozen moments – grades 7, 8 and 10

Using a selection from the Balsillie Collection of Roy Studio Images, students will learn about how to "read" a photograph through careful and critical examination. The images from this collection offer a comprehensive visual history of Peterborough.

Photo waiver

In the course of all program activities, photos will be taken and audio and/or visual recordings may be made. We reserve the right to use all photographs and videos of our programs, participants, special events and facilities for promotional purposes. Children's names are not used. Please advise the Instructor of any children whose parents have indicated that they are not have their picture taken.