Educational Programs

Consider Guelph Civic Museum and McCrae House your community classroom, where history comes to life in inspiring and enriching ways. For school groups, our programs are designed to support the learning objectives of the Ontario curriculum through inquiry-based learning practices. For community groups, our programs provide unique, engaging life-long learning opportunities.

To book your program

Complete the downloadable form below and send to [email protected].

Educational Program Request Form

Direct any questions to [email protected] or 519-836-1221 ext. 3552

Subscribe to our Educational Programming Email List

We Are Connected

Grades K – 3 | 75 MINS

Reflecting on the history of the place we now call Guelph, students will connect the past to the present to understand change over time. Through community connections, and centered in local perspectives, students will explore the history of natural and built features of the local landscape while discovering their own relationship with the land and water around us. Learning modules include Where the Rivers Meet, the City Gallery, the City Lookout, and a Community Beehive creative activity.

City Gallery map of Guelph

Curriculum Links

  • Kindergarten: Understanding the natural world and the need to care for and respect the environment
  • Grade 1: Characteristics of local community and change over time
  • Grade 2: Investigate traditions of multiple communities and celebrating their own
  • Grade 3: Development of municipalities in Ontario, and early steps of reconciliation

Available year-round

Location: Guelph Civic Museum

World Storytelling Week: Second Edition

Grades 4 – 6 | 90 MINS
$8 per student | Teachers & chaperones free

Sophia Lawson Mallotte and Myrtle Mallotte (Guelph Museums 1998.33.12)

Oral History, folklore, and creative storytelling curricula come to life with hands-on experiences, in collaboration with the Guelph Guild of Storytellers

Inspired by the theme of Building Bridges, learn how the power of storytelling can impact and connect us all at the intersection of art and everyday life. Students will examine artifacts to discover their stories; explore ‘Folklore’ — an exhibition that considers diverse traditions, beliefs, customs, and stories in the place we now call Guelph; and experience world stories told by guest tellers

Curriculum Links:

  • Grade 4: Identify non-verbal communication strategies through story.
  • Grade 5: Develop an understanding of historical context through a variety of perspectives.
  • Grade 6: Analyze effective listening skills and identify bias perspectives

Available: May 27-31, 2024

Location: Guelph Civic Museum 

Choice and Change: Yesterday & Today

Grades 4 – 6 | 90 MINS

Guelph Museums, 1979.76.1 and 3, Black and white voting marbles and white ballot box with drawer used circa 1900.

Through a community-centered lens, students will discover the history and present-day function of local government. Different levels and types of government, role of government, and responsible citizenship are all explored to better understand the power of choice to make the changes they wish to see in their communities. Learning modules include Indigenous rights to self-government, finding your voice, and steps towards change

Curriculum Links

  • Grade 4: identify and describe social relationships and systems of structure within local communities
  • Grade 5: assess the effectiveness of actions taken by one or more levels of government
  • Grade 6: identify various communities in Canada and how they contributed to the development of the country

Available year round.

Location: Guelph Civic Museum

No Word For Art: Exploring The Indigenous Roots of Creativity

With Chippewas of Nawash artist Naomi Smith (Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario)

Grades 4 – 8 | 120 MINS
$15 registration, plus $15 material fee per student
Teachers & chaperones free; $15 material fee if they wish to make their own bracelets.
Maximum 30 participantsImage of human hands in a circle and on a wooden table. Each wrist has a beaded bracelet.

Taught through the history and practice of traditional beadwork, participants will explore Indigenous creative processes and teachings. Naomi Smith will lead the students on a journey  through historical and contemporary beadworks. The students will then create their own hair-pipe bracelet.

Curriculum Links

  • Grades 4-6: Heritage and Identity: understanding connections between the past and present; interactions within and between diverse communities; impact of colonialism
  • Grade 7: New France and British North America, 1713–1800; Canada, 1800–1850: Conflict and Challenges
  • Grade 8: Creating Canada, 1850–1890; Canada, 1890–1914: A Changing Society

Available: SOLD OUT.

Location: Guelph Civic Museum

History in the Making

Grades 7 – 8 | 120 MINS
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM | 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Maximum 30 participants

Guelph Museums, 1998.34.4, Photograph of the Bollen Sisters, circa 1906.

An exploration of how history is uncovered, shaped, and told.

This program introduces students to the process of researching and telling stories from history. Students will explore Guelph Museums’ feature exhibitions, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museums’ collections, and use primary sources to learn about the lives of diverse preteens who lived in Guelph between the years 1827 and 1914.

Museum educators will guide students in an interrogation of the subjectivity and bias that have traditionally affected the telling of historical stories. The program will culminate with an activity in which students look at their own lives and experiences as their own piece of history.

Curriculum Links

  • Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges
  • Understanding historical context, events, and consequences
  • Investigation of historic events, developments, and ideas

Available year round

Location: Guelph Civic Museum

Doctor, Soldier, Poet: The McCrae Story

Grades K – 4 | 75 MINS
Grades 5 – 8 | 90 MINS

Guelph Museums, M1998.9.1, Postcard of John McCrae & Bonneau, circa 1916.

A program centered in remembrance and the enduring legacy of Lt. Col. John McCrae.

Offered year-round at McCrae House, this program is centred in diverse understandings of the First World War, including lived experiences of Lt. Col. John McCrae, doctor, soldier, and author of “In Flanders Fields.” Recognizing that remembrance and reflection are practiced at all ages, this program is specifically designed for two age brackets: K to Grade 4 and Grades 5 to 8.

All students will explore McCrae House, engage images and artifacts of the First World War, and experience the Memorial Gardens. K to Grade 4: students will learn about the origins of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance through a hands-on planting activity. Grades 5 to 8: students will learn how wartime writers, past and present, use poetry and spoken word to express their experiences of war.

Curriculum Links:

Grades K to 3:

  • Understanding local and global communities, investigating
  • Citizenship through community, identity, relationships, respect, stewardship
  • Past and present traditions and heritage, understanding chronology
  • Active listening, awareness of signs and symbols

Grades 4 to 8:

  • Discovering how Canadians participate in the world in different ways
  • How human activities cause social, practical, environmental, and economic consequences
  • How social changes around the world have had a lasting impact on Canada
  • Oral communication, reading, writing, and media literacy

Available year round.

Location: McCrae House

John Galt & The Instant City

Mike Ford & Murray Foster
Grades 7  – 12 | 60 MINS

Still image of ‘John Galt and the Instant City’ performance video with feature performers Mike Ford and Murray Foster

A musical history presentation that explores John Galt and the founding of Guelph in a new light.

Guelph’s founding story traditionally centred on John Galt’s arrival in Canada in 1827 to build a Scottish settlement. The story celebrated the building of a vibrant colony. It did not convey the destructive impact of colonization on Indigenous Peoples who lived on this land from time immemorial.

John Galt and the Instant City reconsiders the founding story of Guelph, sparking critical thinking about our past, illuminating truth, and inspiring action towards reconciliation.

Funded in part by Musagetes Fund, a grant from the Guelph Community Foundation and Government of Canada, Museum Assistance Program. Filmed on location at River Run Centre by Ward 1 Studios.

Curriculum Links:

  • Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenge
  • Canada, 1982-Present
  • Origins and Citizenship: The History of a Canadian Ethnic Group
  • Canada: History, Identity and Cultures
  • Understanding Historical Context: Events and Their Consequences

Available year round.

Location: Online

Self-Guided Museum Tours

We welcome your group at McCrae House and the Civic Museum for self-guided experiences. We provide an orientation at the start of your visit, and materials and suggested activities to make the most of your time at the museum.

McCrae House is the birthplace of Lt. Col. John McCrae, doctor, soldier, and writer of In Flanders Fields. Exhibitions at this site focus on McCrae’s life in Guelph, his artistic pursuits, his medical and military service, and the impact of his legacy. The museum provides space for reflection and contemplation, inside and in the outdoor gardens.

The Civic Museum showcases Guelph’s history through permanent and featured exhibitions, including Where the Rivers Meet, as well as interactive installations in the Families Gallery and the City Gallery.

Feature exhibitions at the Civic Museum include:

  • Folklore: Being and Belonging in the Grand River Region, before and 1827 (February 17, 2024 to August 11, 2024)

Location: Guelph Civic Museum and/or McCrae House

Museum Everywhere

Lectures, science challenges, musical performances, and more at your fingertips

Available at no cost at Museum Everywhere

Access a variety of educational programs anytime, from anywhere. Check back regularly for new additions.


$6 per participant, per program (unless otherwise noted; $9 per participant for two programs on the same day; $60 minimum fee. Teachers, education assistants, and classroom volunteers are admitted free

Liability insurance fees may apply. Self-guided exploration of the Museum before or after the program is included in the fee

Payment by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, debit, cash or cheque payable to Guelph Museums is required in advance. All fees are subject to applicable taxes. $20 administration fee will apply if payment is not received on or before the booking date.

Cancellations must be received two business days in advance or a $40 cancellation fee applies


For groups of children, we require one adult chaperone for every six children.

Due to space limitations at McCrae House, there is a limit of 30 people (total participants and chaperones) per program at that site.

Programs are available during regular museum hours, as well as on evenings and weekend