Education 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 at each level, and have been updated to align with inquiry-based learning practices. For community groups, our programs provide unique, engaging life-long learning opportunities.


For education program bookings and inquiries, please download and complete an Education Program & Tour Request Form:

For education program bookings and inquiries, please complete an Education Program & Tours Request Form.
Submit the completed form to [email protected] or call 519-836-1221 ext. 3552. We will do our very best to get back to you in a timely manner regarding availability.


  • $6 per participant, per program (unless otherwise noted)
  • $9 per participant for two programs on the same day
  • $60 minimum fee
  • Liability insurance fees may apply
  • All fees are subject to applicable taxes
  • Self-guided exploration of the Museum before or after the program is included in the fee
  • Teachers, education assistants, and classroom volunteers are admitted free
  • Payment by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, debit, cash or cheque payable to Guelph Museums is required in advance. A $20 administration fee will be charged if payment is not received on or before the booking date.
  • Cancellations must be received two business days in advance of the visit. For cancellations received within two days of a visit, a $40 cancellation fee will be charged.
  • $20 administration fee will apply if payment is not received on or before the booking date

Booking Terms

  • 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 during evenings and weekends.

Explore the 2019 to 2020 Education Program Offerings


At the Civic Museum


Create Your Own Guelph History Adventure!

Preschool to grade 3 – 90 minutes
Design a program to suit the needs of your students. Choose any three of six possible activities. Each activity is 30 minutes in length.


  • Brown Bats, Beavers and Bees, oh my! – Learn about the animals native to Guelph and the surrounding region through the use of puppet play and inquiry-based education kits.
  • This Land is Their Land – Through hands-on artifact study, students will learn about Indigenous foods, animals, and transport before European settlement.
  • Before Guelph Was Guelph
    Discover the diverse peoples who lived in this region before the founding of Guelph in 1827.
  • Building the Royal City
    A guided exploration of Guelph’s built structures includes storytelling and a build-and-create activity using a broad range of materials.
  • Children of Guelph
    A full immersion into Guelph’s history through lived stories of Indigenous, settler, Victorian-era, and post-Second World War children.
  • My First Museum Visit – Our youngest visitors will have the chance to play, create, explore, and learn through fun and experiential activities.

Curriculum Links :
Belonging and Contributing
Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours
Problem Solving and Innovating
Heritage and Identity
People and Environments
Science / Understanding Structures and Mechanisms

From Fibre to Fashion

Grades 8 to 11 – 90 minutes
The clothing collection at Guelph Museums spans 190 years of fashion history. Go behind-the-scenes in this experiential program to see how this collection is preserved. Learn to card and spin wool. Wash and care for heritage clothing. Try your hand at dressing a mannequin.

Curriculum Links:
Creating Canada: A Changing Society
Clothing · Influences on Clothing Choices
Making Knowledgeable Decisions
Design and Clothing Construction Skills
Understanding Fashion
Influences on Fashion
Design and Fashion Construction Skills

Toys and Games Through Time and Across Cultures

Grades K to 4 – 90 minutes
Investigate toys from our past and from different cultures, discovering their purposes, properties, history, and cultural significance. As a souvenir of the learning experience, make a toy to take home.

Curriculum Links:
Belonging and Contributing
Problem Solving and Innovating
Heritage and Identity
People and Environments

No Word for Art: Exploring the Indigenous Roots of Creativity

Grades 4 to 8 – 120 minutes (includes 20-minute break)
Available April 6 to 10, 2020
9:30 to 11:30 a.m. / 12:30 TO 2:30 p.m.
$15 Plus material costs, per student: $10 Hair-pipe bracelet or $20 Deer hide medicine bag
Maximum 30 participants
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, showcasing a display of historical and contemporary beadworks. The students will then create their own hair-pipe bracelet or deer-hide medicine bag.

Curriculum Links:

Heritage and Identity
Visual Arts
People and Environments
New France and British North America, 1713–1800
Canada, 1800–1850
Creating Canada, 1850–1890
Canada, 1890–1914

STEM Week: The Physics of Life – video preview 

Grades 6 to 8 – 90 minutes
Available November 25 – 28, 2019
10 to 11:30 a.m. / 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Guelph Civic Museum
Spaces Are Limited

In collaboration with the Department of Physics, University of Guelph

Learn about vibrations and waves, energy, the physics of space exploration and astronomy, the mechanics of flight, and electricity and electrical devices. Participants will experience engaging activities designed by current undergraduate students while interacting with professors, lecturers, and graduate student volunteers.

Curriculum Links:

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
Understanding Matter and Energy
Understanding Life Systems
Understanding Earth and Space Systems

Local Government Week

Grade 5 – 90 minutes


Tuesday, October 15 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, October 16 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Friday, October 18 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, October 22 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, October 23 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, October 24 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Monday, October 25 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Free – Spaces are limited
Book at using keywords Visit City Hall, Guelph / Local Government Week

Meet the mayor or a city councillor at City Hall and then visit the Museum to learn about local government.

Curriculum links:
People and Environments
Civics and Citizenship

Treaties Recognition Week

Guelph Museums is committed to collaborating meaningfully with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples as we respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. We strive to create safer and braver spaces for truth telling.

John Galt and the Instant City

Mike Ford and Murray Foster

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

Grades 7 & 8 – 90 minutes
November 4 to 8, 2019
Performances at Guelph Civic Museum. Daily 10 a.m. & 1 p.m.
$10 per student | Limited to 70 students per performance

Also available for in-school performances. Daily 10 a.m. & 1 p.m.
$600 per performance.

The traditional founding story of Guelph focused on John Galt’s arrival. It excluded the Indigenous peoples who have lived here for thousands of years. This presentation broadens Guelph’s history to include the Original Peoples. Join us as we work toward a greater understanding of the truth.

Supported by the Musagetes Fund through the Guelph Community Foundation and the Ontario Cultural Attraction Fund.

Curriculum links:

New France and British North America, 1713–1800
Canada, 1800–1850: Conflict and Challenges
Creating Canada, 1850–1890
Canada, 1890–1914: A Changing Society

Guided Exhibition Tours

60 minutes
Guelph Civic Museum & McCrae House

The Civic Museum showcases Guelph’s history through semi-permanent and featured exhibitions, including the interactive installations in the Families Gallery and the City Gallery. McCrae House is the birthplace of Lt. Col. John McCrae, writer of In Flanders Fields. We welcome your group at either site for guided tours through our exhibitions

Featured Exhibitions

Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern Ontario                                                                                                                              September 14 to March 1, 2020

This exhibition brings southern Ontario’s hidden history of eugenics to light. Through stories of survival, it reveals that eugenics meant to “better” humankind. Yet, it has left a legacy of segregation, cultural assimilation, and sterilization that continues today. Co-curated by Mona Stonefish, Peter Park, Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning, Evadne Kelly, Seika Boye and Sky Stonefish.

VibraFusionLab: Bridging Practices in Accessibility, Art and Communications                                                                                                         September 14 to March 1, 2020

Experience sound and vibration technologies through art installations by David Bobier, Lindsay Fisher, Marla Hlady, Ellen Moffat, Gordon Monahan, Alison O’Daniel, and Lynx Sainte-Marie. By making sound tangible through touch, this exhibition aims to change public perceptions of difference and disability. Presented in partnership with VibraFusionLab, an innovative centre for vibrotactile research and creative practice based in London, Ontario.

Art as Activism: Truth, Survivance and Resilience                                                                                                                                                             August 2 to December 1, 2019

This juried art exhibition about our collective journey toward decolonization,features the work of 19 artists from Guelph and across Canada: Hunter Anderson, Jasmine Canaviri, Shirin Divanbeigi, Michel Dumont, Ted Fullerton and Paul Shilling, Denise Holland, Alexandra Hong, Sheraz Khan and Will Pemulis, Cody Houle, Alex Jacobs-Blum, Noni Kaur, Taras Lachowsky, Justin Langille, Monique Martin, Giniw Paradis, Michelle Peraza, and Carolyn Riddell. Their many stories and forms of expression are installed throughout the Civic Museum.

At McCrae House:

The First World War Remembered

Grades 1 to 12 – 90 minutes
Trace the experience of Canadians during the First World War through exploration of life in the trenches, hands-on study of First World War artifacts and uniforms and reflection on John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields. This program is now offered in an exclusive classroom within the refurbished Coach House.

Curriculum Links:
Heritage and Identity
People and Environments
Canada, 1890–1914

John McCrae – Doctor, Soldier, Poet

Grade 5 to 12 – 90 minutes                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Learn about Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae and his lifetime of service. Explore a soldier’s military equipment kit, experiment with basic surgical techniques, and offer expressions of remembrance.

Curriculum Links: 
Heritage and Identity
People and Environments
Conflict and Challenges
Canada 1890 – 1914
World History since 1900
Canada 1867 – 1945

Canada at War: the Guelph Wellington Experience – CANCELLED

Grades 7, 8, 10
Full-day, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
One Day Only – Thursday, May 14, 2020
$8 per student
Guelph Armoury, Wellington County Museum and Archives, and McCrae House

During this unforgettable day-long exploration of Canadian military history, visit three sites to witness demonstrations, participate in hands-on experiences, and meet with veterans, re-enactors, active soldiers and military experts. Learn about Indigenous warrior societies, the War of 1812, the American Civil War, the First and Second World Wars, as well as more recent military engagements.

Curriculum Links:
Canada, 1890–1914
Canadian History since World War I
Historical inquiry and Skill Development
Canada, 1914–1929
Canada, 1929–1945
Canada, 1945–1982
Canada, 1982 to the Present

In the Community:

Tales Among the Tombstones

Tours for All Ages – 60 minutes
Education Programs for Grades 4 to 12 – 90 minutes
Woodlawn Memorial Park

Uncover the fascinating stories of the people interred at Guelph’s historic Woodlawn Memorial Park. This guided walking tour and field study includes examination of symbolism, epitaphs, and burial practices, along with a hands-on graphing or gravestone rubbing activity.

Curriculum Links:
People and Environments
Heritage and Identity
New France and British North America Canada 1800–1850
Creating Canada 1850–1890
Canada, 1890–1914 Canada, 1914–1929
Issues in Canadian Geography
Canada, 1929–1945 Canada, 1945–1982
Canada, 1982 to the Present
Changing Populations Liveable Communities
Historical Inquiry and Skill Development
Natural and Human Systems Dynamics and Change
Origins and Citizenship
Canada History Identity and Culture

Hop-On Tours of Historic Guelph

Tours for All Ages – 90 minutes
You provide the bus, we provide the guide
Cost: $60
Available Year-Round
Touring Guelph by charter bus? Hire a Guelph Museums’ guide to hop on and lead your group on a driving tour of notable sites throughout historic Guelph. The tour includes Guelph’s founding site, the birthplace of John McCrae, Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate, the Guelph Armoury, the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph, and Lady Duff-Gordon’s childhood home.

Historic Guelph Walking Tour

For all ages – $60 – 60 minutes                                                                                                                                                                                                       Education Programs for Grades 4 to 12 – 90 minutes
Guelph Civic Museum and Downtown Guelph
Discover where Guelph began, how the city has changed, and who contributed to its formation on this walking tour of historic downtown Guelph.

Curriculum Links:
People and Environments
Heritage and Identity Canada 1800–1850
Creating Canada 1850–1890 Canada, 1890–1914
Canada, 1914–1929 Issues in Canadian Geography
Canada, 1929–1945 Canada, 1945–1982
Canada, 1982 to the Present

Community Talks and Classroom Visits:

Public Tours for All Ages

Cost: $60 (plus mileage if outside of Guelph)
The museum will come to you.
Museum educators are available to provide interactive presentations on:

Birds, Bees and Bats 
Recommended for grades K to 3
Learn about animals native to the Guelph environment. We will bring a variety of animal puppets and hands-on items for the students to explore.

Growing Guelph
Recommended for grades K to 4
Using artifacts from the museum’s education collection, learn about how Guelph started and how and why it has grown.

The History of Guelph
Recommended for grades 7 and up
Learn about this region before settlement, John Galt’s city plans, and how Guelph developed and grew over the years.

The First World War
Recommended for grades 4 and up
Discover the horrors of life in the trenches for a Canadian soldier during the First World War.

John McCrae – Doctor, Soldier, Poet
Recommended for grades 4 and up
Discover what influenced and inspired Canada’s famous soldier to write his immortal poem “In Flanders Fields”. Learn about Lt. Col. McCrae’s life from his early years in Guelph to his careers in medicine and the military.

Two local soldiers in the Great War
Recommended for grades 4 and up
The 11th Field Regiment of Guelph recruited many local men to serve in the Artillery during the Great War. Learn the story of two young men who served their country during this horrible conflict through their letters, photo albums and diaries.

Guelph and Canada in the Second World War
Recommended for grades 4 and up
The Second World War was the largest global conflict the world has known and Canada played a big part in the Allied victory. Discover Canada’s many roles in the war and how the people at home helped in the war effort.

Great Guelphites
Recommended for grades 6 and up
Hear the stories of four people who had their start in Guelph and made a significant impact on their country and the culture of the time: Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill, Lady Duff Gordon, Elinor Glyn, and Thomas McCrae.