Build Your Own Traveling Trunk

Helpful tips and resources for building a Traveling Trunk of your own
This is an image of Civil War Era currency.

Help students in their studies of the Civil War by creating your own Traveling Trunk, filled with Civil War replica items and educational materials that can help provide a hands-on learning expereince. Here are some tips and ideas for building your own Traveling Trunk. 

Things to consider while planning your trunk

  • Will your trunk travel between classrooms?
  • What kinds of items should it include? 
  • Are there any lesson plans or specific Civil War curriculum that should accompany the trunk?
  • What kind of audience will you be trying to reach with the trunk?

How to begin

  • Purchase your trunk. We recommend a sturdy, hardshell case to help protect your replica items.
  • Check out a Traveling Trunk Inventory Sheet to explore the kinds of items that travel with a trunk.
  • Make a list of the items you plan to obtain, and then make your own Inventory once you have them.

What to include

Here are a few ideas for items that might be helpful for your trunk:

  • Replica Civil War clothing and accessories

    • Dresses, bonnets, fans
    • Union and Confederate Coats
    • Union and Confederate forage caps, or kepis
    • Shoes
    • Canteens
  • Other war-related or Nineteenth Century items
    • Reproduction bullets and cannister shot
    • Cotton boll
    • Fife
    • Union and Confederate flag sets
    • Playing cards and Civil War era games like Jacob's Ladder or the cup and ball game
  • Haversack
    • Toothbrush and comb
    • Silverware set and tin cup
    • "Housewife" with cloth, buttons, and thread
    • Coffee ration and hard tack
    • Prayer book or picture
  • Reproduction documents 
    • Replica Civil War letters
    • Civil War speeches, like the Gettysburg Address
    • Newspapers and broadsides from the Civil War era
    • Union and Confederate paper money
    • Cartes de Visite
    • Civil War era photographs
    • Appomattox Parole slips
  • Informational books and guides
    • The American Spelling Book
    • Baxter's Volunteer Manual
    • Beadle's Dime Book of Practical Etiquette
    • American Children's Games through the Civil War Period
    • Cooking for the Cause
    • An Introduction to Small Arms of the Civil War
    • Civil War Weapons and Equipment
  • Posters and maps
    • The Cartoon History of the Civil War (for various battles)
    • Young Soldiers
  • CDs and DVDs
    • Glory
    • Civil War era music

Where to purchase Civil War Replica Items

Useful documents

Lesson plans, guides, charts, and other documents