School Program Descriptions

Education Department


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Programs at History Park

(1650 Senter Road, San Jose)
Prices quoted are per student

Then and Now: Childhood in the 1800s (Grade 2)
Tuesday/Thursday $10
How different was a child’s life in the 19th century from what it is today? In this highly inquiry-driven program, students explore the parlor room, kitchen and bed chambers of the Umbarger House and learn about the lives of the family who lived in the home. A trip to a one-room schoolhouse further enables students to make vivid comparisons between schooling and life then and now.

Historic Transportation Experience (Grade 2)
Thursday $10
Students experience transportation of yester-year when they ride in an authentic trolley car and learn about how wheels made life easier for early San Joseans.

Kids on trolley

Early to Rise: Child’s Work and Play in Early San Jose (Grades 2 and 3)
Tuesday/Thursday $10
When did a kid’s day begin in the 1800s? Students will have the chance to roll up their sleeves and perform everyday chores on a California farm–such as washing the family’s clothes, collecting eggs as well as practicing script writing on slate boards during lessons in a one-room schoolhouse — all the while, drawing parallels between the lives of children 100 years ago and their own lives.

People At Work (Grade 3)
Tuesday/Thursday $10
How did people earn a living and meet their essential needs in early San Jose? Students role-play, taking up occupations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as those of printmaker, blacksmith, horse groom and doctor. In addition to handling tools of the trade, your class will learn about real people living in the past and how their work contributed to community life.

Valley of Heart’s Delight: San Jose’s Agricultural Roots (Grades 3-4)
Wednesdays $10
In 1868 famed naturalist John Muir described the hills bordering the Santa Clara Valley as “robed with the greenest grass and richest light I have ever beheld, colored and shaded with millions of flowers, of every hue.” During its height of production Santa Clara County, known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” was the largest fruit production and packing region in the world with 39 canneries. In this signature HSJ field trip, students practice observation and critical thinking skills as they take a look at the Valley’s natural resources from the perspective of those who farmed the land, from the Valley’s first settlers to migrant farm workers. Activities include gathering and weighing fruit and designing a crate label.

The Immigrant Experience (Grades 4-6)
Fridays $10
What would it be like to leave the only home you’ve known and move with your family to a new country? What would your new home look like? Consider which customs would be similar or different. Imagine learning a new language. Through a variety of hands-on activities, students relate to these experiences and build historical empathy towards immigrants who sought a fresh start in a new land.

Westward Ho! (Grade 5)
Monday/Wednesday/Friday $12
A boy playing hoop during the Westward Ho school programInspire the pioneer in your students! In this highly interactive experience classes plan and prepare for a trip West in a covered wagon. They learn about the many hardships pioneers faced as well as what pioneer kids did to entertain themselves on the trail: making prairie candy and hoop rolling are part of the fun.

History Detectives (Grades 4-6)
Tuesdays $10
History San José invites you and your class inside the Museum Collection Center with more than a half million artifacts! Students work alongside Museum staff and carefully examine primary source documents and historic artifacts to vividly learn about people, places, and events from the past.

School Programs at Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site

(Peralta Adobe located at 184 W. Saint John Street; Fallon House located at 175 W. Saint John Street in downtown San Jose)

Victorian Days (Grade 3)
Tuesday-Friday $12
Students step back in time and experience life in the Fallon family house. Where did Mr. and Mrs. Fallon’s six children sleep? What did they do for fun? Who polished and spruced up the house? Children take on the roles of Victorian children, domestic servants and upper society guests all in one visit. This is a memorable chance for children to get their hands on history–one they won’t soon forget.

Adobe Days (Grade 4)
Tuesday-Friday $12
Transport your class to the 1778 El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. Students explore the oldest house in San Jose and experience life in Alta California. Following a brief history and tour of the adobe, students “see, do and taste.” They “see” artifacts and primary sources from Early California; they “do” hands-on activities including candle-making, forming adobe bricks, and creating corn husk dolls; and they “taste” hand-made tortillas and yerba buena tea.

School Group at History Park

Other Tours

History Park Tour
$8 person/$5 for seniors
Classes are divided into groups for docent-led tours of select buildings in History Park. These tours provide snapshot views of different lifestyles and occupations in Santa Clara Valley’s history. All students will not visit the same buildings. No hands-on activities offered.

Adventures at Your School

Gold Rush Adventure Kit (Grade 4)
2 weeks, $175
The kit contains everything you need to integrate your curriculum while creating your own “Boom Town.” The kit contains gold panning materials, enough for one class. Through the use of photographs, maps, diaries, and other documents, you will be able to tell the story of the California Gold Rush through the eyes and words of those who lived it.

Home School Programs and Scout Leaders

Let us customize a program for multiple ages in your home school group. If you see a program that might fit one of your themes, please call us at 408.918.1047 to discuss possibilities. Programs can deal with Early California History, Westward Expansion, Gold Rush era, immigration, and the Victorian era or industrial revolution.

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