Museum School

Travel back to the 19th Century

The Museum School, located at Carter and MacRae Elementary School, offers students the opportunity to experience what school was like in the 19th Century. A teacher dressed in period attire transports students back in time, sharing with them the authentic tools of the one-room schoolhouse. Students perform assignments on their slate boards, enjoy a basket lunch, and play with 19th Century toys. Meanwhile, they become engaged with:

  • Lancaster, PA History
  • National History
  • Arithmetic
  • Reading
  • Crafts

This is a wonderful hands-on enrichment opportunity for second and third-grade children, both in the School District of Lancaster and the surrounding districts, to enhance their study of the history of our community.

What Grade Level is Appropriate?

Second and third grades were selected for the day’s experience because local history is studied at this level. Time spent at the Museum School enhances that curriculum.

Due to the school’s location in downtown Lancaster, students also have an opportunity to walk or ride past many historical buildings.

The Museum School is located in the former Conestoga Steam Cotton Mill buildings, which were opened in the 1840s. In 1949, they were sold to the Lorillard Co., which produced cigars.  The School District of Lancaster purchased the complex in 1986 and opened Carter and MacRae Elementary School in 1988.

Who actually attended classes in the building in the 1850s is speculative.  However, it is believed that it was a Night Schoolhouse for mill boys. At the time of cloth production, it was common practice for employers to provide some schooling for the children that they employed.  Children worked more cheaply than adults, and thus wages could be cut. The average salary in the mill was $1.25 per week.

Field Trip Application Form

Field trips are based upon availability.

This application does not confirm your trip to the Museum School. A representative will contact you to verify your trip.

(Note, the Museum School is only open on days that the School District of Lancaster is in session.)

Teacher Name(Required)
MM slash DD slash YYYY

Donate to the Museum School