School Programs

kids in cut-out

The Peterborough Museum and Archives is excited to offer in-person learning this fall! We offer a variety of educational programs for classes and community groups, with opportunities to practice archaeology, discover mathematics through quilts and even analyze simple machine artifacts.

Each program addresses specific Ontario Curriculum requirements, and offers exciting hands-on learning opportunities. Depending on your choice of program, activities may take place in our permanent exhibition space or multi-purpose classroom. Please contact our Education Officer if you are wishing to book an education program.

See below under the heading "Secondary Schools" for information on our new virtual program "Portrait of a Soldier." This meaningful learning opportunity includes a virtual lesson with our Archivist and step-by-step instruction on how to utilize the Library and Archives Canada website to research a World War One Service Member. 

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

Program Fees

  • $6 per student / participant
  • Minimum of $60 per group
  • Evenings and weekends are minimum $120 per group
  • No charge for supervisors
COVID 19 Protocols
  • All educators will complete COVID-19 screening, are fully vaccinated and will wear a medical grade mask
  • All participants are required to a wear a well fitted mask indoors for the duration of the program
  • Frequently touched surfaces including, but not limited to, washrooms, doorknobs, light switches, handles, sports equipment, toys and water fountains will be disinfected a minimum of twice daily. 
  • Participants are not required to be fully vaccinated 
  • The Museum will maintain a record of all individuals participating in the booked programs including name and contact information for contract tracing purposes


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.

campers in the gallery

Secondary school programs

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

Portrait of a Soldier (Virtual Program) - Grade 10, 11, 12 history 

The Peterborough Museum and Archives is compiling information on World War One Service Members, and we need your help!

Together with our archivist, students will learn how to access and utilize research tools like the Library and Archives Canada website to research and compile a report on a local service member. With the permission of the student, this report will eventually be added into our reference collection at the Peterborough Museum and available for future researchers to discover.

This meaningful program will teach students how to conduct research using primary sources as they uncover the true story of a World War One Service Member by following the "paper trail." A story that has likely never been told! 

As a new educational program (and our first virtual program) we are offering it at no cost to the first five classes that register. Please see below for a step by step breakdown of how this program works. 


 Step 1: Reach out to our Education Officer to book the program
Email our Education Officer, Faryn Stanley at to express your interest in this program. Together you can select a date for your virtual lesson with our Archivist and Faryn will send you a "How to Prepare" package. 
 Step 2: Virtual lesson with the Archivist (total time 1 hours, 40 minutes). 

The virtual lesson with our Archivist can be broken down into three components:

Part 1 (20 minutes): Our Archivist will virtually meet your students and introduce them to the program. He will walk them through the process of how to use the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website to research a World War One Service Member and then model how to use this information to create a research report. This lesson will take approximately 20 minutes and each student will require use of a laptop to follow along. 

Part 2 (1 hour): Students will practice the skills just taught to them, by using the LAC database to locate a pre-researched Service Member. We will provide a list of names to choose from as well as a worksheet with assigned questions and helpful hints in advance of this lesson for the teacher to distribute. During this work period, students will follow the "paper trail" of their assigned Service Member answering the questions on the worksheet and using our helpful hints to guide them towards the correct answers. 

Part 3 (20 minutes): Our Archivist will re-join the group at the end of the work period to debrief the activity, answer questions and introduce the next part of the program - researching a self-selected local Service Member. 

 Step 3: Research report on a self selected Service Member

Students will now get to select a local Service Member to compile a research report on. This could be someone in their family, or someone they distantly know. The only requirement is that the person must be Canadian in order to be found in the LAC directory. Note that they must also be local to Peterborough to be added to our reference collection.

If the student is unsure of who to research, we can also provide the teacher with a list of Peterborough Service Member names for the student to select from. 

Once a name is chosen, students will go through the same steps as before by utilizing the LAC website to answer a series of questions and compile a report on their unique Service Member.

 Step 4: Submitting the report to our Archivist

If willing, the student or teacher can submit these reports electronically to our Archivist, where they will eventually be added to our reference collection. A World War One Service Members database is currently in the development stage, but will incorporate the information researched by the students.  

There are many World War One Service Members whose stories have never been told. Help us honour and remember those who sacrificed and served Canada by telling their story. 


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.

Online Resources

 Class Museum

Together your class will choose a museum theme & go through the step-by-step process of creating their own mini exhibits! This fun project, is suitable for Grades 3-8 and is customizable to suit your learning goals. The program can be taught virtually or in-person, and includes videos to introduce each activity and corresponding PDF work sheets to guide student learning.  Access the program by hitting the button below and we will send the materials right to your inbox.

Class Museum 

 Museum Classroom Blog
Our blog series "Museum Classroom" is a great resource to discover new programming ideas, activities and more! Whether you are learning in a classroom, the kitchen table or the great outdoors please use the resources found here as you see fit. 

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.