The Traveling Trunk in Action

Testimonials: Fun with the Traveling Trunk

Teachers' reflections on their classroom experiences with the Traveling Trunk

The students LOVED the items. They enjoyed getting to see and touch. It really helped them get a sense for the history of the time.  The large, poster size photos were especially poignant.

Mandy Wright, Gilbert Classical Academy

[My students] loved it! One of my students shrieked with delight when he saw all the stuff for the scavenger hunt.

Patricia Smith, South Valley Junior High School

It is one thing for the students to hear and read about life during the Civil War—but these artifacts truly enhanced their understanding of the times.

Rachel Kelly, Ricks Center School

My students really enjoyed the trunk.  We set up a "History Zone" Museum and allowed the students to come and experience the museum.  Some came in groups of 3, took pictures in the uniforms, and then went through the museum asking about items as they went.  Other classes came as a whole and I answered questions (as curator) as they went.  I brought my class in for a "docent" led tour and allowed them to choose an object to observe/read about and create a caption card for in order to introduce the artifact to younger "museum" visitors.  Our museum gave us the chance to be pretend historians...thinking as historians and curators do.  It gave younger children hands on experience with Civil War life and spurred lots of great questions where they connected previous learning with new information.

Dee Perkins, Clearwater Christian Homeschool

The trunk was a great learning tool.  The students were able to make history come alive for themselves. They especially liked the clothing and equipment. The posters were so informative, students were enthralled by the thought that they may have actually had the chance to be a soldier.  I had each one enlist as either a Yankee or a Reb, for some it was a tough choice.

Dawn L. Johnson, Kasson-Mantorville Middle School

We had just started our study of the Civil War when the trunk arrived, so I was able to use it as an anticipatory set / Civil War discovery guide.  I had the students investigate the items with a partner and try to figure out what the items were and why they were important to the war.  I got tons of positive feedback from my students - 'That was so much fun!' 'That was awesome!' 'I loved being able to look at all that stuff!' After our discovery time, we were able to discuss the items and talk about their purposes.

Kerri Kent, New Life Academy

I used items in conjunction with the in4 videos on the trust site.  I used the trunk to teach the human side of the war, homefront, soldiers life, artillery, cavalry, technology.  I taught the tactical part of the war the previous week, and used items as a review...and to bring the human side to the war.

Eric Froese, Annunciation School

Students' reflections on what they learned from the Traveling Trunk

I have an american spelling book from the time of the Civil War. They studied really advanced words. The books included spelling words and reading passages. They would study the spelling words and then the next day they would have a test. They would read the words and passages in front of the whole class. The book and the words were really small and dense. The words are split into to syllables. Some of the passages in this spelling book are lessons. For example, one passage teaches you to listen to your parents. The book even offered life advice! The spelling book was an 18th – 19th century textbook. This was a simple but very effective way of teaching.


This coat itches and it is also really really warm. And it also kind of rubs on my neck and it hurts a little. Makes me feel like I am an old grandpa that served in the war. it kind of makes you feel how a Confederate soldier must have felt when he went across the south. 


Jacob’s Ladder was an entertainment the civil war soldiers used while the soldiers were waiting for something to happen (such as hearing a gunshot or something), Jacob’s ladder is a thing with wood tiles that go down in some way? it is very interesting to look at, if you want to see it just look at my video download!


In the Civil War many soldiers would be waiting for the enemy to attack them and are in complete boredom. Many soldiers would bring toys to entertain themselves such as marbles or cards. They would have a mix of terror and boredom while waiting. One of toys, marbles would be different sizes and not as sanded as these ones. Also they would not be all the same size. Soldiers would also entertain themselves by doing graffiti, cards, chess, checkers and a early version of baseball.


This is a dress that a lady would wear on a daily basis. It’s texturing is wool-like. It’s color is faint with a trickle of greyness. (First, To the left) As you can see the waist is tied together. Making the average body type look more like an hourglass. It’s very proper and ladylike. It smells like a faint perfume. It has a rose pattern everywhere on the dress. This type of clothing might have been used for a stroll on the midnight path

(Second, to the right) This piece of the dress would go below the collar bone.