Educational Programs by Yamhill County History Society

The YCHS Education Committee’s mission is to engage, share, and demonstrate the history and heritage of Yamhill County. To that end, we invite schools, homeschool students, and families to visit the Heritage Center in McMinnville to experience our local history first-hand. Appointments are required to participate in our Pioneer Days and Wagon to the Schools programs.

Pioneer Days

Pioneer Days will resume in September for the 2024-2025 school year. This program is designed with a focus on Oregon History, including travel on the Oregon Trail and daily life experiences of early settlers of Oregon. The curriculum is intended for groups aged 9-10 and will comply with Oregon State Standards for 4th-grade history.

Pioneer Days is a program that allows students to experience for themselves many activities that children of 130 years ago would have encountered. Students will attend Hutchcroft School – a one-room antique schoolhouse that was built in rural Yamhill and relocated on-site at the Heritage Center – where they will participate in an 1880s-style lesson and a historically accurate hands-on activity. The activities offered are on a rotational schedule dependent on our available volunteers, the season, and permitted weather.

The list of activities is not set. They vary depending on the season, our available volunteers, and the weather.

Potential activities include:

  • Candle Making
  • Woodworking with antique tools
  • Clothes Washing
  • Leatherwork
  • Music
  • Observing the blacksmith at their trade

We also provide a full-sized replica of a covered wagon for students to learn about and explore. We will also expect students and chaperones to adhere to any masking guidelines that are established at the time of their visit. In a true historical fashion, masks also would have been required of students if this experience had been taking place during the Spanish Flu of 1918.

The students of public, private, and homeschool groups from Yamhill County are our top priority and therefore have first opportunities for our Pioneer Days program appointments. If there are any openings still available after the end of February, we will contact those groups who have expressed interest in the order that they made their request.

This is a volunteer-run program and the activities offered will be dependent on who is available on the date of your appointment.

To help us sustain our program there will be a $5.00 charge per student attending. Chaperones and teachers are free. Payment will be per group. Either checks made out to the Yamhill County Historical Society or payment via credit card will be acceptable. No cash payments will be accepted.

Please contact Moira Cleary at [email protected] for more information to schedule. This program will be offered on Tuesdays for the 2024-2025 school year.

Traveling Wagon Program

As an alternative Pioneer experience, we offer our Wagon to the Schools program where we bring our covered wagon replica directly to the schools of Yamhill County. This program is designed with a focus on traveling the Oregon Trail and the daily life of an early settler to Oregon.

Students will:

  • Learn about the covered wagon and explore the interior
  • Sit on a buffalo robe and discern the uses of antique tools
  • Work on penmanship with slates and quill

Other experiences may also be available, such as using a tripod for cooking or using buckets and yokes, as well as demonstrations in the use of flint and steel or a blacksmith with a portable forge. Programs would begin in the morning and can run for up to 4 hours: each class would spend 45 minutes rotating through 3 stations with 15 minutes to reset and sanitize between classes. Up to 4 classes can participate in a single day.

As a requirement for this program, there must be parking accommodations for our covered wagon replica. These accommodations MUST include 1) parking for a large trailer that is 2) near a covered area which is 3) tall enough (about 10 ft clearance) to fit our wagon under.

There will be a $200.00 charge for us to bring the wagon to your school.

Please contact Moira Cleary at [email protected] for more information to schedule.

For Younger Audiences

For SMALL GROUPS that would like a “Pioneer Day” type experience but may be younger or older than our target audience, we can provide an age-appropriate program that includes the Hutchcroft Schoolhouse, covered wagon, and cabin replicas, and a short, guided tour of the museum at the Heritage Center. The program would run approximately 1 hour.

This program can only run if volunteers are available. Please check for availability before your visit to the Heritage Center.

Please contact Moira Cleary at [email protected] for more information and to schedule your small group for an interactive history lesson.

YCHS is now offering internship opportunities!

If you are pursuing an undergraduate degree in elementary education, museum studies, public history, history, art history, or a related discipline, or are a recent graduate in any of the above mentioned, consider interning at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center!

The primary goals for the internship will include:

  • experience of work in a museum setting including but not limited to
    • Education department
    • Front desk/mercantile operations
    • Museum docent (conducts visitors through the museum and delivers a commentary on the exhibitions)
    • Collections/acquisitions department
  • documentation of achievement in a variety of tasks such as
    • an educational plan for a Pioneer Days field trip group
    • tangible research on exhibit-related materials for the purpose of providing informative tours of the museum
    • supervisor evaluations

As an intern at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center, you will learn to:

  • interact with patrons to provide information on activities, programming, and rules, and to encourage individual participation
  • conduct group tours and activities and ensuring the safety of all museum visitors
    • conduct group tours for local elementary schools in the Pioneer Days field trip program
      • Adapt tour and program activities to accommodate appropriate learning styles and abilities according to age levels and skills
      • Study and interpret exhibit-related materials
    • monitor and maintain gallery activities and exhibits
    • tear down, fabricate, and install of gallery exhibits/activities

This is to be a 12-week commitment, for 8-12 hours/week, depending on the academic requirements of the student’s educational institutions. Applicant MUST be available Tuesdays from 8:30am-12:30pm, and also have availability on either Wednesdays or Fridays.

NOTE: Interns will be expected to dress in period costume (provided) for Pioneer Days field trips and will remain in character for didactic purposes for the duration of the field trip.

For internship position description, click here.

For internship application, click here.