secthead Visit

School Group Tours

Explore Wheatland and connect with James Buchanan, Pennsylvania's only US President, who served just prior to the Civil War. Take a special hands-on tour of the mansion and explore unique touchable objects from a time there was no running water, no electricity, and the only bathroom was an outdoor privy! Develop your math, critical thinking, and creative skills by exploring 19th century culture and Lancaster's unique contributions to American history.

Step across the lawn and explore the headquarters of to multiple galleries, a research library and a historic archives. The new exhibition FREEDOM: "to secure the Blessings of Liberty" opens fall of 2016.

Click to download or view a PDF brochure of the information listed below.


Image of President James Buchanan's WheatlandThe Presidency, Politics & the Coming of the Civil War

  • 50 minutes (Recommended for grades 7-12+)*
  • Explore James Buchanan's Wheatland and discover the dilemmas and decisions that this controversial President faced during the challenging times leading up to the Civil War.

Victorian Life in the Home of 15th US President James Buchanan

  • 50 minutes (Recommended for young children and students through grade 8)*
  • Travel back in time to the year 1857 and explore the home of 15th US President James Buchanan. Period objects, clothing and images help tell the story of life during this very unique time.

Exhibition Tour --- FREEDOM: "to secure the Blessings of Liberty"

  • 45 minutes*
  • Students tour the new exhibition and explore the many faces of freedom gained and freedom denied in Lancaster County. Unique objects, manuscripts and artifacts tell the stories of struggle, survival, joy and hope from Penn's Holy Experiment through the 21st-century. 

Tour of the Archives --- Up Close & Personal

  • 45 minutes*
  • Welcome to the Archives of to over 1 million archival manuscripts. Students will examine primary sources connected to local history and see how they are stored and preserved. Read a letter, review an estate inventory, and see schoolwork from the 1800s.

*Please note that tours can always be shortened to 30 minutes to better serve small children and accomodate tight schedules. 


A Day on Campus --- 5 hours

A Half Day on Campus --- 3.5 hours

A young boy works on schoolwork on the lawn of Wheatland.Choose from several different modules to create your own unique experience! Module length is approximately 30-40 minutes per module.

  • "It's Elementary, Watson"
    • Use your deductive and industive reasoning skills to determine the use of Victorian Age artifacts.
  • "Get Out the News"
    • In small groups, put your creativity to work by creating an advertisement for a Victorian artifact.
  • "Live, from Wheatland"
    • Present your ad to a live audience of your peers and see if you can sell your Victorian product.
  • "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"
    • Students will be introduced to the mathematical term "symmetry" through observation and drawing of James Buchanan's home, which is a fusion of Federal and Greek Revival Styles.
  • "It's a Dog's Life---A Day in the Life of Lara"
    • (Creative Writing activity) After learning about Lara, Mr. Buchanan's Newfoundland dog, the students will imagine, brainstorm, and write a story about "A Day in the Life of Laura."
  • "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?"
    • Students review their measuring skills by finding the length and width of each raised garden bed and then calculating the perimeter. In addition, students will be introduced to the use of herbs, both in the 19th century and today.

Module Logistics

Groups will be contacted after their initial inquiry by Stephanie Townrow, Museum Associate, who will work with the Directors of Wheatland and Education to plan your day your way.

These 30-40 minute interdisciplinary modules combine Wheatland's history with fun, real-life applications to challenge students' mathematical, artistic, creative, and critical thinking skills. Students can play detective, writer, artist, and advertiser to engage with the lifestyle of Pennsylvania's only US President.

How To Schedule Your Module

Please contact Stephanie Townrow, Museum Associate, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 717-392-4633 ext. 131. She will give you more detailed information, tour times, and pricing. Your visit includes 30 minutes for lunch (lunch not provided; please bring your own). Click here for suggestions for an easy Victorian brown bag lunch.


Digging Deeper: Using Primary Source in Historical Research

  • Three (3) hours. Two (2) versions available: Middle School or High School.
  • Students examine multiple primary sources on varied topics including Thaddeus Stevens, president James Buchanan, Harriet Lane, the Quakers, the Underground Railroad, and the Hubley Toy Company. Then small groups examine one topic closely to make inferences, draw conclusions, begin to develop hypotheses, and present their findings to the larger group.

Sleuthing Through the Past

  • 1-2 hours depending on grade level. Three (3) versions available: Elementary, Middle, and High School.
  • Students play the detective in search of clues as they examine estate inventories, artifacts, and historic events to better understand the past. What do they tell us? What don't they tell us? This workshop examines the conflicting and limited evidence one encounters when studying history. Workshop stresses observation skills, critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis.

All offerings are aligned with PA Standards in History, Social Studies, the Arts & Humanities, and English Language Arts. Common Core & Critical Thinking Skills are stressed.


If you would like to learn more about any of our school group tour, module, and workshop offerings, including pricing, please contact Stephanie Townrow, Museum Associate, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 717-392-4633 ext. 131. 

We look forward to seeing you and your students on the Campus of History!

Facebook Slider
Facebook Slider
Facebook Slider