Morning tours may be scheduled for up to 2 hours on Tuesday – Friday mornings, beginning at 9:15, 9:30, 9:45, or 10:00 a.m. Teachers may request 3 exhibit areas in the traditional part of the museum as well as the log house, and either the Children’s Discovery Center or the MacDonell House, our Victorian mansion which was built in 1893. If you would like to tour both the Children’s Discovery Center and the MacDonell House, then you may need to limit yourself to 2 exhibit areas in the traditional part of the museum.


The most requested areas in the traditional part of the museum are the pioneer and transportation areas, which are quite extensive. Other exhibit areas include the Mt. Vernon room, with its model of George Washington’s home, our Native American room, the general store, the fossil room, the rock and mineral room, local business exhibits, the farm room, and the Jess Sarber-John Dillinger exhibit.


We offer some tour flexibility in the Children’s Discovery Center. The four possible stations are the model railroad room, which focusses on the history of transportation and where we often offer a scavenger hunt; the general store, which offers some hands-on opportunities relating to general stores of the mid-1930s; the one-room school-house exhibit, where students learn what school was like in the 19th-century, and the Native American area, where students can try Native American games and sit inside our down-sized wigwam. Most tour groups tour three of these four areas while in the Discovery Center.


The ideal tour is for groups with 50 or fewer students, although we have done tours for as many as 100. The maximum number of groups we can accommodate is four, although the flow is better with three. In other words, if you bring 50 students, we will ask you to divide them into three smaller groups. Each group will start at a different location. Tours are led by volunteer docents.

Special Tours in the Children’s Discovery Center:


Teachers may request that we focus on the schoolhouse area only. While half of the group has a lesson inside the one-room schoolhouse exhibit, the other half writes with quill and ink. Then the groups switch.


Teachers with younger children may want their students to have a pioneer role-playing experience on the fun-house mirror side of the Discovery Center. Here they can tend to a garden, gather eggs, bake and cook in a fireplace, wash and iron clothes, carry water with a yoke, and play with reproduction toys from the era.


To book a tour or make inquiries, please contact Sarah Rish, Curator of Education, at 419-222-9426 or by

e-mail at srish@wcoil.com. Donations to the museum are much appreciated.


Adult tours may be booked Tuesday – Friday, between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Most tours last approximately 1½ to 2 hours, depending on what you would like to see. For bus tours, we first present a brief overview of the museum in the auditorium. Following the presentation, we allow your patrons to tour the museum at their leisure. Volunteer docents are located throughout the museum to answer any questions your patrons may have. If your bus group has requested the MacDonell House, then we will send half of the group over to the mansion after they have heard the museum overview. The second half of the group will tour the MacDonell House after they have toured the main museum. There is an elevator in the main museum, but none at the MacDonell House. (You must walk up a set of stairs to enter the MacDonell House.)


If you have a smaller adult group, you may want to request a guided tour of the main museum.


Tours of the MacDonell House are always guided tours.


Admission for the MacDonell House is $3 for those ages 9 and up. There is a suggested donation of $5 for the main museum.


To book a tour or make inquiries, please contact Sarah Rish, Curator of Education at 419-222-9426, or by

e-mail at srish@wcoil.com


The following traveling trunks are offered within Allen County to elementary age students and will vary somewhat depending upon grade level. The Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils presentation, the Westward Ho: The Oregon Trail presentation, and the Growing Up Amish presentation are most often requested for students in grade 3 or up. Traveling trunks may be scheduled for Tuesday – Friday mornings, as the schedule allows. Please contact Sarah Rish, Curator of Education, at 419-222-9426 or at srish@wcoil.com, to book a traveling trunk or make inquiries.

#1 – PIONEER LIVING: An Overview

    Discover what life was like for the early settlers of Allen County and Ohio. Envision the trip west, with all its challenges. Imagine daily life in a log cabin. Learn how the pioneers dressed, how they made their clothes, how they cooked their meals, where they slept, and where the bathroom was. Learn about chores on the family farm. Find out what school was like in nineteenth-century America. Finally, discover what the pioneers did for fun. Time will be allowed at the end of the presentation for hands-on exploration. 




    Learn the history of the toys, games, and sports that Native Americans play. Discover why they played these games and how they made their games using natural materials only. Throughout the presentation, your students will be given opportunities to play with the Native American games.



    Discover what school was like in nineteenth-century America. Learn how the teachers and students dressed, and what subjects they studied. Cipher nineteenth-century math problems with a slate pencil and slate; spell words from a nineteenth-century spelling book. Find out what discipline was like in the nineteenth century  - even the teachers had rules to follow! Envision the schoolhouse and all its furnishings. And lastly, learn about the students’ favorite “subjects” – lunch and recess.  At the end of the presentation, students may try some old-fashioned reproduction toys and games.



    Learn the difference between rocks and minerals. Find out ways to identify minerals – by streak color, hardness, etc. Understand the three classes of rocks and how they are formed. Discover some of the everyday uses of rocks and minerals. Learn what fossils are and how they are formed. 


  Specimens of both rocks and minerals are brought along for this experience. Most of the fossil specimens very good reproductions and include a mammoth tooth, a mastodon tooth, a Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth, and a Velociraptor claw, to name a few.    




    Discover what life was like for the pioneer families who headed west on the Oregon Trail, a trip that could easily last six months. Learn how they dressed, how they traveled, how they prepared their meals, and how they washed their clothes. Discover what life was like for the children who journeyed the Oregon Trail. Time for hands-on exploration is allowed at the end of this presentation.



    Imagine what life would be like if you had been born into an Amish family. Envision what an Amish house looks like. Learn how they dress, how they cook, and how they do chores, like washing and ironing clothes. Find out how they determine what appliances, clothing, etc., are acceptable or not acceptable. Discover what means of transportation they use. Understand that Amish communities – even those within the State of Ohio – are not all alike. Find out what school is like for Amish children. Learn what job opportunities are available for today’s Amish and how this has changed over the years. And finally, learn what Amish children do for fun.




    Discover how the celebration of Christmas has changed from colonial and pioneer times. Learn that different immigrant groups brought their Christmas traditions with them to America. Find out the history behind the Christmas tree and its ornaments, and more.






    This is an informal presentation, where I bring artifacts and the adults have fun guessing what the items are. This gives me an opportunity to cover a wide variety of topics, from hair jewelry to china painting.