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Interpretive Programs

at Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site

Educational Programs

Bring history to life for your students through a large variety of educational programs offered by Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site.  Programs can be formatted for all ages.  If there is something that you are interested in that is not listed as a traditional program, please let us know.

If you have any questions or to schedule any program listed below, please call 816-580-3387 or send an e-mail.

Woolen Mill and Watkins House Tours

Length Group Size Supervision Requirements Grade Levels Fees Seasons Reservations Facility
Amenities

Tours of the woolen mill and Watkins family home offer a unique glimpse into both industrial and domestic life in the 1870s.  The woolen mill is the only 19th century textile mill in North America with its original machinery still intact, making it a Missouri state historic site, a National Historic Landmark and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.  Tours of the mill include the engine shed where the original steam engine is located, the first three floors of woolen mill machinery, the gristmill and the mill store.  The Watkins family home was completed in 1854 and has been restored to its 1870s appearance.  Tours of the home include the first two floors of the home, the dairy cellar, summer kitchen, icehouse, smokehouse, fruit dryhouse, garden and poultry coops.

In addition to tours, the site offers a 25-minute orientation film that is recommended for all ages. Also, a museum is located in the visitor center. There is no extra fee for watching the film or going through the museum, however an extra half-hour needs to be allotted for each of these activities.  If you are interested in either the video or museum, please indicate your interest as well as your arrival time when you make your reservation.

Length

Mill and House Tours = two hours or one hour if touring just one building

  • An additional half-hour each for the video and/or museum can be added.
  • The mill and house are not heated or air-conditioned.
  • Specify when making your reservation if your group wants to do the mill or house tour only.  The same fee structure will apply.
  • Tours can be done in 1870s period clothes upon request.
Group Size Limits

Minimum: 15
Maximum: 60

Supervision Requirements

One teacher or adult chaperone per 15 students.

Grade Levels

Mill and House:    4th grade - College
House only:    Preschool - College
Mill only:    4th grade - College

Group Fees

Under 6:  Free
6-17: $2.50 per student
18 and over: $3.50 (including teachers and adult chaperones)

Tax exempt fees:*
6-17: $2 per student
18 and over: $3 (including teachers and adult chaperones)
*A copy of a tax exempt certificate must be presented at the facility.

Seasons
  • April - October

    Available daily from 10 a.m.to 3 p.m.
  • November and March

    Available daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • December - February

    Available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Reservations

To make a reservation, contact Terri at the site office at 816-580-3387 or send an e-mail.

Facility Amenities

There are several picnic areas available for use free of charge.  There is also one covered shelter house that can be rented for the day for a fee of $50.  To rent the shelter house, please contact the park office at 816-580-3387.  Restrooms are available at the visitor center. A gift shop is available for souvenir purchase. 

One-Room Schoolhouse Programs

Length Group Size Supervision Requirements Grade Levels Fees Seasons Reservations

Facility
Amenities

Reservations are required for this program in the site’s Franklin Academy. A costumed interpreter will conduct a one-hour program at the schoolhouse, in which you will receive an introductory look at education of the 19th century. Students will go through a short lesson in several 19th century school subjects including history, reading, spelling, elocution and arithmetic.

The Franklin Academy is not heated or air-conditioned. Please make plans and dress accordingly.

There is a teacher’s guide available for this program that can be used to supplement your curriculum. To receive this guide, please contact Terri at 816-580-3387 or by e-mail.

The schoolhouse can also be used free of charge for teachers who wish to conduct their own programs. These programs must take place during normal business hours. If you wish to conduct this program yourself, please note that when you are making your reservation. Arrangements must be made with staff to open and close the building, and for use of needed materials. The historic site has 40 sets of McGuffey’s Readers and 20 sets of Ray’s Arithmetic series that are available for use. These will be provided for use upon request.

Length

One hour

Group Size Limits

Minimum: 15
Maximum: 30

Supervision Requirements

One teacher or adult chaperone per 15 students.

Grade Levels

1-12

Group Fees

Under 6:  Free
6-17: $2.50 per student
18 and over: $3.50 (including teachers and adult chaperones)

Tax exempt fees:*
6-17: $2 per student
18 and over: $3 (including teachers and adult chaperones)
*A copy of a tax exempt certificate must be presented at the facility.

Seasons
  • April - October

    Available daily; the program can be scheduled for any one-hour time block from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • November and March

    Available daily; the program can be scheduled for any one-hour time block from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • December - February

    No programs will be scheduled.
Reservations

To make a reservation, contact Terri at the site office at 816-580-3387 or send an e-mail.

Facility Amenities

There are several picnic areas available for use free of charge.  There is also one covered shelter house that can be rented for the day for a fee of $40.  To rent the shelter house, please contact the site office at 816-580-3387.  Restrooms are available at the visitor center. A gift shop is available for souvenir purchase.

Living History Farm Program
Length Group Size Supervision Requirements Grade Levels Fees Seasons Reservations

Facility
Amenities

The Living History Farm Program offers students an opportunity to actively participate in activities that were commonplace in the 1870s.  Costumed interpreters will lead students through activities.  All activities will take place outside on the historic site grounds so students should dress appropriately.  Teachers can choose up to three of the following activities for students to participate in:

Cider Pressing (Seasonally: August - October; You are responsible for providing apples; suggested two to three apples per student)
Gardening (Seasonal: April - September; Work gloves are suggested.)
Laundry
Rag Rug Weaving
 Victorian Games
Wood Stove Cooking

*Please indicate which three activities you have selected when you make your reservation.

Length

Two hours; Please arrive at the visitor center at least 30 minutes before your program is scheduled to start.

Group Size Limits

Minimum: 15
Maximum: 30

Supervision Requirements

One teacher or adult chaperone per 15 students.

Grade Levels

Preschool - College

Group Fees

Under 6:  Free
6-17: $2.50 per student
18 and over: $3.50 (including teachers and adult chaperones)

Tax exempt fees:
6-17: $2 per student
18 and over: $3 (including teachers and adult chaperones)
*A a copy of a tax exempt certificate must be presented at the facility.

Seasons 
  • April - October
    Available daily; the program can be scheduled for any two-hour time block from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • November and March
    Available daily; the program can be scheduled for any two-hour time block from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • December - February
    No programs will be scheduled.
Reservations

To make a reservation, contact Terri at the site office at 816-580-3387 or send an e-mail.

Facility Amenities

There are several picnic areas available for use free of charge.  There is also one covered shelter house that can be rented for the day for a fee of $40.  To rent the shelter house, please contact the site office at 816-580-3387.  Restrooms are available at the visitor center. A gift shop is available for souvenir purchase.

Industrial Revolution Outreach Program

Length Supervision Requirements Grade Levels Fees Seasons Reservations

In this program, interpreters dressed in 1870s period clothes travel to your classroom to provide a presentation on the industrial revolution.  A brief history of the industrial revolution is covered with the main focus being on the importance of woolen mills.  Three pre-industrial revolution activities are demonstrated for students with the activities consisting of hand carding of wool, spinning of wool on a spinning wheel, and weaving of fabric on a table top hand loom.  Students are allowed and encouraged to participate in hand carding and weaving.  Following each activity, video footage is shown of machines from an operating historical woolen mill performing the same tasks as the pre-industrial revolution methods.  This allows students to visually compare and contrast efficiency, productivity and safety differences before the industrial revolution began and once it was well under way. 

Length

45 minutes - One hour

Supervision Requirements

One teacher or adult chaperone per classroom during the program.

Grade Levels

6th grade - College

Fees

No fee will be charged for outreach programs.

Seasons

Available daily year-round

Reservations

To make a reservation, contact the site office at 816-580-3387 or send an e-mail.