Pages Navigation Menu

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

School Groups and Teacher Resources


Thank you for your interest in the Civil War Museum.  Please note the Museums have suspended all group visits until October 1.  Please see below for new virtual experiences, or details for in-person visits after October 1.


Virtual Curator Conversations

These live educational discussions led by museum professionals are 30 to 45 minutes long and can be modified to fit the age range and background knowledge of your group. These programs are held with your students via Zoom, Google Meet, or potentially another platform that you use. For more information or to book a Curator Conversation, please contact the group tour coordinator at [email protected].


Civil War and History

Reading Artifacts – Methods used by historians to interpret material sources – for older students
Equipment & Gear of the Union Soldier – Clothing and various tools of Civil War Union soldiers
Women of the Civil War – The remarkable lives of famous local women of the Civil War
The Underground Railroad – The dramatic stories and common misconceptions of the Underground Railroad



Wisconsin American Indian Nations – The history and relationships of local nations of Wisconsin
Anishinaabe Nations – Traditional life ways of the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Odawa nations
Fur Trade Era – The characters, history and significance of the Fur Trade Era in Wisconsin



The Color Wheel – The many uses of the color wheel and how it helps artists
Artists & Nature – How artists are inspired by the natural world around them, includes famous examples
Frida Kahlo for Beginners – The life and artistic style of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo



Fossils – What fossils are, how they are formed, where they are found, what they can tell us
Dinosaurs – What dinosaurs are, major groups of dinosaurs, what happened to them
Animals – Any number of animals, or ecosystems in general
Insects – What insects are, impact of insects on our planet, diversity of insects
Mammoths – The discovery, archaeology, and study of the Schaeffer Mammoth
Basic Evolution & Adaptations – Basic concepts, evidence of evolution, adaptations in animals



In-Person Group Visits


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 [email protected]

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