School Programs

History San José offers a variety of programs that meet state and national standards and spark students’ curiosity about the world. Every year more than 10,000 elementary school students join our highly trained staff on interactive excursions across our sites, from our historic homes and building in Downtown San José and History Park to scavenger hunts in our Collections Center. 

Registration opens August 8, 2022 at 8:00 am

Due to COVID-19, HSJ has adapted in-person school programs so that they adhere to current public health protocols and state curriculum standards. Masks are required for all in-person school programs, regardless of vaccination status.

History Park

1650 Senter Road | San Jose, CA 95112

Early to Rise: Child’s Work and Play in Early San Jose (Grades 2-3)
Mondays – Fridays
9:30 am – 10:45 am & 11:10 am – 12:25 pm
24-50 students | 6 chaperones

$13.00 per student (Minimum payment: $286)
When did a child’s day begin in the mid-1800s? This interactive program is an immersive experience for students to compare their lives today and the lives of rural Santa Clara County children of the 1870s. Students do laundry in an 1860s washing machine, milk a cow, gather eggs and grind coffee beans for breakfast at the Umbarger House. They also get to mind their manners, read from a 19th-century primer, practice writing on slates, and explore the Santa Ana One-Room Schoolhouse.

Historic Tranportation Experience (Grades 2-3)
Thursdays & Fridays
9:30 am – 10:45 am & 11:10 am – 12:25 pm
24-48 students | 6 chaperones
$13.00 per student (Minimum payment: $286)

How has travel and transportation changed over the years? During this immersive program, students get to utilize different modes of transportation and learn to recognize the methods people have used to move themselves and their goods from one place to another. At History Park, they will get to brush a model horse and fit its shoes, fix a wooden wheel of a covered wagon, and ride the park’s historic trolley. In the end, students will understand how the invention of wheels and innovations in technology have shaped how they get around today.

History Park Tour (Grades 4-12+)
Mondays – Fridays
9:30 am – 10:45 am & 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
10-30 students | 2-6 chaperones
$10.00 per student (Minimum payment: $120)

Today Santa Clara Valley is the global center for high technology and innovation. San José, however, has been at the forefront of social and economic change since the 1860s. The tour offers students the opportunity to explore the grounds of History Park and learn about the ways in which people worked and lived in San José from 1850 to 1970. Through this tour, students discover how people utilized the valley’s resources to reshape their environment and transform the region into a global innovation center.

Immigration: What’s Your Story? (Grades 4-8)
Mondays – Fridays
9:30 am – 11:45 am
20-36 students | 4-6 chaperones

$13.00 per student (Minimum payment: $286)
Students step into the shoes of four immigrants—a Chinese boy in the 1890s, a Portuguese girl fleeing a volcanic eruption in the 1950s, a Mexican guest worker in the 1950s, and a Vietnamese refugee mother in the 1980s—and ponder how immigration policies and cultural identity shape a person’s life in San José. Throughout this innovative field trip students explore historic artifacts to compare the motivations, challenges, and triumphs most immigrants face when moving to a new country.

Grant funding available for this program through the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project.

Valley of Heart’s Delight (Grades 3-5)
Mondays – Fridays
9:30 am – 11:30 am
20-36 students | 6 chaperones

$13.00 per student (Minimum payment: $286)
How did Santa Clara County farmers utilize innovations and technologies of the Second Industrial Revolution to improve production and turn the valley into the hub of the fruit canning industry? During this program, students flex their engineering, graphic design, and math skills to gain an appreciation for the valley’s agricultural history and the most well-recognized companies of the 20th century—Del Monte, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Bank of America. Students complete hands-on challenges by placing themselves in the shoes of an 1880s family farmer, a turn-of-the-century cannery worker, and a 1930s business owner and learn what it takes to turn the region into the Valley of Heart’s Delight.

Westward Ho! (Grades 5)
Mondays – Fridays
9:30 am – 12:00 pm
20-36 students | 6 chaperones

$13.00 per student (Minimum payment: $306)
What motivated people to trek overland in the 1840s and 1850s and what challenges did they face along the way? In this highly interactive experience, school groups plan and prepare for a trip West in a covered wagon. They experience the many hardships travelers faced, the tasks they had to do to ensure a successful trip, and what kids did to entertain themselves on the trail. Students also learn how this historical phenomenon affected indigenous communities already in the West and how the transcontinental railroad transformed westward migration in the 1870s.

Collections Center

1661 Senter Road | San Jose, CA 95112

History Detectives (Grades 5-8)
Tuesdays & Thursdays
20-32 students | 4-6 chaperones

$13.50 per student (Minimum payment: $286)
What does it take to be a great historian? During the History Detectives programs, students collaborate and think critically to solve a mystery in the HSJ Collection Center. They actively investigate clues left from the past—primary sources and artifacts—asking questions and synthesizing all the evidence to test out a hypothesis about 19th-century San José. Also included is a lively, inquiry-based treasure hunt through the vast Collection Center.

Gonzales/Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site

Adobe: 184 W. Saint John Street | San Jose, CA 95110

Historic House: 175 W. Saint John Street | San Jose, CA 95110

Adobe Days (Grade 4)
Mondays – Fridays
9:30 am – 12:00 pm
20-35 students | 5-6 chaperones

$13.00 per student (Minimum payment: $286)
Students travel back to El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe in 1797 and explore the oldest house in San José, getting to see a hammock made of hide, a whale-bone chair, and other artifacts from the Spanish and Mexican periods. Through interactive activities such as making a candle and corn husk dolls, designing a cattle brand, grinding corn, and roping a model cow, students experience life in Alta California. They gain an appreciation for what it takes to build a community and connect with the joys and struggles of daily colonial life for the early Spanish settlers of San José.

Gracious Living: Victorian Women and Culture in San José (Grade 3-4)
Mondays – Fridays
9:30 am – 12:00 pm
20-36 students | 6 chaperones

$13.00 per student (Minimum payment: $286)
Students explore the home of Carmela and Thomas Fallon, experiencing the social customs of the Victorian era. Inside the “fanciest house in San José,” students immerse themselves in the lives of both domestic servants and Fallon family members, setting the table, practicing Victorian etiquette, and celebrating Isabella Fallon’s 9th birthday in 1870. Through this program, students increase their awareness of how gender and class norms of the late 19th century continue to influence the habits and behaviors of people in the present.

Gonzales/Peralta Adobe & Carmela & Thomas Fallon House Tour (Grade 4-12+)
Mondays – Fridays
9:30 am – 10:45 am & 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
10-18 students | 2-4 chaperones

$10.00 per student (Minimum payment: $120)
Students get to experience San José before cars, computers, and smartphones. They are welcomed into the Gonzales/Peralta Adobe and Carmela & Thomas Fallon House, two restored historic homes in the heart of San José. There, they journey through the past and see how San José transformed from El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe in the late 1770s to California’s first state capital in 1850. Through the tour, they explore why people moved into the region and changed the world around them.

Planning Your Visit

Funding Assistance Programs

Title I Grant
Thanks to the generosity of the Hugh Stuart Center Charitable Trust, Title I Schools are eligible for a grant that covers all the HSJ program fees and reimburses groups up to $300 in transportation costs for onsite school programs. When registering for school programs, please indicate that your group is eligible and would like to be considered for the grant. 

Immigration: What’s Your Story Grant
The Chinese History & Cultural Project offers a grant to public schools in the Santa Clara Valley that attend the “Immigration: What’s Your Story?” onsite and virtual programs. The grant covers the program fees and reimbursement of up to $300 per visit to HSJ site.

Chaperones

Chaperones play a significant role in the success of the group’s educational program and are essential to creating a positive experience.  Chaperones are expected to assist with HSJ’s hands-on stations and enhance the educational experiences of all of the students. Prior to your visit, talk with chaperones about the importance of their participation and cooperation.

Buses and Parking 

History Park:
Please plan on arriving 10 minutes early to unload. Buses and cars should unload at the group entrance located at 1650 Senter Road between Alma and Phelan Streets. Museum educators will greet your group at the gate and provide parking passes to all drivers.

Gonzales/Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site 
Please plan on arriving 10 minutes early to unload. If traveling by bus, unload at the entrance of the historic site on W. St. John Street. If traveling by car, park at the Market and San Pedro Square Garage at 45 N. Market Street.

Roberto Adobe & Suñol House
Please plan on arriving 10 minutes early to unload. If traveling by bus, unload in front of the house on Lincoln Avenue. If traveling by car, limited parking is available in the back lot of the house. Please check with the museum education staff before choosing this option.

Lunch

History Park has several picnic tables and lawn areas to enjoy your lunches. Groups visiting our historic downtown sites can use the outdoor tables available for picnic lunches at the San Pedro Market. 

Groups participating in our “From Tamien Nation to Gold Country” program, there is no designated lunch area but you can eat in the courtyard. There is a “trash-in/trash-out” policy. This means that ALL TRASH must be removed by the group from the property. Groups that don’t comply will accrue a $50 fine. 

Accessibility

History San José seeks to serve every school and every student. To discuss any particular approaches you’d like to take with your students, please speak with our staff educators via email at education@historysanjose.org or through the phone at 408.918.1040.

Cancellation and Rescheduling

If you are unable to attend the school program, please contact us at education@historysanjose.org as soon as possible to reschedule. Rescheduling slots are limited at the end of the school year so HSJ needs to know early to be able to meet your needs. Should you choose to cancel your school program, your deposit is non-refundable.  In case of inclement weather or public health emergency, we reserve the right to cancel your school program and will notify you as soon as possible. We will make every effort to reschedule your visit. 

Registration

  1. Read the description of HSJ’s school programs and decide which program(s) fit your needs.
  2. Register online at historysanjose.org. Please indicate if you would like to stay for lunch, if you are eligible for grant funding, and if you need accommodations for students with learning and physical disabilities or if there are students that will require a language advocate. 
  3. Receive a confirmation email from HSJ within 3 weeks of your online registration. The confirmation email will include your program date, program description, and deposit information. Please note that we charge a minimum rate for our programs. 
  4. After you submit your 50% non-refundable deposit, you will receive a confirmation email with the resources you will need to attend the program. 
  5. Pay the remainder of your balance two weeks before your visit. HSJ accepts check or credit card payments.  Our museum educators do not accept money the day of the program. 

Questions? 

HSJ’s Education Staff is happy to answer any questions you may have. Email education@historysanjose.org or call 408.918.1040.