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The history, the people and the stories of the Upper Midwest

School Groups and Teacher Resources

Hometown Heroes | Grades 2nd through 4th (designed for 3rd grade) | Duration: 1 Hour | More Details about Hometown Heroes

Even though Midwestern towns like Kenosha, Wisconsin, were far away from the field of battles, they played a key role during the Civil War. Using mapping, artifact handling, and exhibit tours, students will learn the Midwest’s role in the Civil War, about the young men who volunteered from this area, and the civilians at home who supported them.

Within the Civil War Museum gallery, students will use images and firsthand accounts to learn that citizens of Midwestern towns like Kenosha volunteered to serve in the Union Army. Students will also learn how communities have changed since the Civil War by comparing an 1860 map of Kenosha to how the city looks today. Students will also learn the importance and meaning of the American flag by constructing their own flag after learning the story of an American flag made in 1861 by Kenosha citizens and given to the first to volunteer for the war from the city. Finally, students will work in small groups to examine and guess the uses of common nineteenth century household items to better understand the lives of civilians during the Civil War.


King Cotton | Grades 4th and 5th | Duration: 2 hours | More details about King Cotton

King Cotton is a two-hour program designed for 4th and 5th grade students. This program explores the role of cotton and slavery within the Southern economy through a hands-on classroom experience, Seeing the Elephant 360° movie viewing, and small group exhibit exploration. The program also pays particular attention to why slaves were used in a plantation economic system, what type of work slaves did, and how they could rebel against their owners.

In the classroom, students learn about the importance of cotton and the role of slavery in America in the years before the Civil War. Using facilitated, hands-on interactives and a scenario-based activity, students will leave the program with an understanding of what really happened on the Underground Railroad.

Students will also work in small groups with a teacher or chaperones to answer questions about Civil War themes in our Museum exhibits. Students will work collaboratively to gain knowledge about such topics as slavery, the life of a soldier, or Reconstruction. The students will then share their findings with their classmates.

Midwest in the Civil War | Grades: 6th through 8th | Duration: 2 hours | More details about Midwest in the Civil War

Midwest in the Civil War is a two-hour program for students in 6th through 8th grade. The program explores the Midwest’s role in the Civil War through a guided tour of the Fiery Trial gallery, a viewing of the Museum’s 360° movie Seeing the Elephant, and focused small group exhibit exploration.

After the guided tour, students work in small groups to study an aspect of the Civil War as a social historian. Student groups will be given an inquiry-based prompt and will use the Museum’s exhibits, artifacts, and other resources to develop an argument that addresses the prompt. After research time in the exhibit gallery, students share their findings and answers with the larger group to verbally explain their new found expertise and opinions on a range of topics that concern the Civil War.


You Are the Soldier | Grades: Open to all grades, but best suited for grades 4-8 | Duration: 30 minutes | Capacity: 30 students | Costs: $2 per student in addition to other program fees or Theater Program costs

Civil War soldiers had to carry all of their personal items and military gear wherever they went. To avoid being overburdened, soldiers had to decide what they would need to carry in order to survive multiple months of camping, marching, eating, and soldiering.

During this program, educators from the Civil War Museum will introduce your students to the uniforms, equipment, and personal items that Civil War soldiers used in camp and on the battlefield. Students will then have to make personal choices as to what they would carry with them or leave behind.

This program lasts 30 minutes and is designed for groups of no more than 30.


King Cotton
“All the Museum stuff is great, but what I really appreciate is the management style. Directions are clear and the scavenger hunt activity is age appropriate and engaging!:

Midwest in the Civil War
“The presenters were amazing! Positive comments about every person we interacted with! Something different was communicated and learned by all.”

Theater Program
“The Theater program was our favorite.”

“Thank you for a wonderful experience!!”

“Our theater program was excellent!”

If you have questions, please contact the education services coordinator at 262-653-4424 or email to

Please Note:  All dates in May 2020 for Civil War Museum school group visits are full. Group visit dates are still available for April and early June.  Please fill out the Online Registration Request Worksheet to arrange for your visit.

CWM SchoolGroupOnline Reservation Request Worksheet

School Group Frequently Asked Questions

Field trip grants and subsidy options

Maps of the Civil War Museum

Educational Loan Resources

Tired of searching the internet for appropriate and accurate Civil War materials to use in your educational setting?

The Civil War Museum has created free resources to help educators teach difficult history and Civil War related topics. Document packets supplying primary sources, photographs, background information and suggested learning activities on subjects such as the Causes of the Civil War and the Underground Railroad are available for free download at the links below.

As part of the Underground Railroad discovery box, three dimensional resources may be checked out by local educators, scout leaders, and home schools for two weeks at no cost. For more information on checking out these items, please contact Jenn Edginton at 262-653-4423.

To download the free document materials, click on the the links below:

Causes of the Civil War

The Underground Rail Road