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

Send a request to [email protected] or call 519-836-1221 ext. 3552, indicating the grade level and number of participants anticipated in your group.

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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.

Curriculum LinksCity Gallery map of Guelph

  • 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

Choice & Change: Local Government Week 

 Grade 4 – 6 | 90 MINS
30 Minutes at the Mayor’s Office and 90 Minutes at the Guelph Civic Museum
FREE – Spaces are limited.

Guelph City Hall & Guelph Civic Museum

Students will join the mayor for a 30 minute behind-the-scenes tour of City Hall, then walk o the Guelph Civic Museum to discover the history and present-day function of local government. 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: October 16 – 20, 2023
Mornings 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM OR Afternoons 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Location: City Hall & 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

World Storytelling Week

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

Open book with hand drawn landscape on wooden deck

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

At the intersection of art and everyday life, creative expression, and communication, students will examine artifacts to discover their stories, explore an exhibition that considers 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 historical context through a variety of perspective.
  • Grade 6: Analyze effective listening skills and identify bias perspectives.

Available: March 18 – 22, 2024

Location: Guelph Civic Museum 

No Word For Art: Exploring The Indigenous Roots of Creativity

Grades 4 – 8 | 120 MINS
$15 registration, plus $15 material costs (bracelet) per student | Teachers & chaperones free
Maximum 30 participantsImage of human hands in a circle and on a wooden table. Each wrist has a beaded bracelet.

In collaboration with Chippewas of Nawash artist Naomi Smith (Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario)

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 historical journey, including a case display featuring historical and contemporary beadworks. The students will then create their own hair-pipe bracelet or deer-hide medicine bag.

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: April 15 – 19, 2024

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 will create simple exhibitions telling their own stories in their own voices.

Curriculum Links

  • Canada, 1800-1850: Conflict and Challenges
  • Creating Canada, 1850-1890
  • Canada, 1890-1914: A Changing Society
  • Media Literacy

Available year round

Location: Guelph Civic Museum

John Galt & The Instant City

Mike Ford & Murray Foster
Grades 7  – 12 | 60 MINS
Free during the month of November in support of Treaties Recognition Week (November 5 – 11, 2023)

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

Available year round.

Location: Online

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

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:

  • Unsettling the Grand: Legacies of Settlement in the Grand River Valley, from 1700 to Present Day (September 16, 2023 to February 4, 2024)
  • Light a Candle to Curse the Dark (September 23, 2023 to February 4, 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