Civil War Traveling Trunk

Hands-on classroom resources

The application window for the 2022-2023 Traveling Trunk Program is closed. 

The Civil War Traveling Trunk program provides reproduction Civil War artifacts, books, music, and other various materials for teachers to utilize during their Civil War-era instruction.  The trunk fosters a greater interest in the American Civil War and in battlefield preservation by allowing students to have a hands-on experience. During the 2019-2020 school year, the trunks crisscrossed the nation, visiting 78 schools in 26 states. By the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the trunks reached more than 15,000 students

The Civil War Traveling Trunk is FREE for teachers!

This is an image of Civil War Era currency.

Rental Rules & Procedures:

  1. Request a trunk by filling out the Rental Request Form. Please do not email or call the American Battlefield Trust to request a trunk, you must use the Rental Request Form to request a Traveling Trunk. 
  2. Requests are not fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please see our selection criteria section below for more information.
  3. Each class has the trunk for five business days, Monday-Friday. If selected to receive a trunk, the Trust will create a schedule based on the requests received and contact you to let you know your dates within three weeks of your application. 
  4. Teachers will be emailed an inventory of the trunk as well as a link to online versions of several of the lesson plans and other materials in the trunk for planning purposes. Teachers must return a completed inventory and survey to the American Battlefield Trust within 5 business days of the trunk's departure from your school. 
  5. Assuming that there are no shipping problems, you will receive the trunk about three (3) days before your scheduled week.
  6. The American Battlefield Trust assumes responsibility for shipping costs to and from your school. 
  7. The trunk will only be shipped to a valid school address. In no case will the trunk be shipped to a private residence, homeschool, or homeschool co-op. Trunks will also only be distributed to active classroom teachers and to schools and school districts. In no case will a trunk be shipped to a PTA, parent, or any other non-classroom affiliate.
  8. School districts will not receive more than one trunk per school year. 
  9. While you have the trunk, we encourage you to take pictures of your students using the trunk and send the pictures to the Trust!
  10. On Wednesday during your scheduled week, a member of the Trust's education team will email you shipping instructions and a prepaid UPS label to get the trunk to the next teacher.  Then simply attach the label and take the trunk to a UPS store or pick-up location.
  11. All trunks must be passed to the next school, or back to the American Battlefield Trust, in good condition. If the trunk is not passed on in good condition, the teacher and/or school district will be held financially responsible for any damage to the trunk or its contents in excess of $50.00, the school district will not receive any future trunks, and the school district will not be eligible for the History Field Trip Grant Program. 
  12. Please keep in mind that the demand for the trunks is at an all-time high. We do not have enough trunks to accommodate each and every request. Just because you apply for a trunk, does not mean that you will receive one. The American Battlefield Trust staff will contact you and let you know if you will receive a trunk. 

Selection Criteria

The Civil War Traveling Trunk program is by far and away the American Battlefield Trust's most popular and in-demand educational program. We do not have enough trunks to fulfill every request. It is our goal to have the trunks reach as many students in as many cities and states in the country as possible so that we have the greatest impact on K-12 education. Teachers should not grow to depend on receiving a trunk each and every school year. Again, we cannot fulfill every request. 

Fulfillment requests are based upon a variety of factors including but not limited to the following review criteria:

  • The completeness and honesty of your application. 
  • The number of times a school district or individual educator has received the Traveling Trunk in the past. 
  • The number of times the applicant has received History Field Trip Grant Program funding and/or travel scholarships to our National Teacher Institute. 
  • The number of applications received from a school district, city, or state.
  • The certitude of the applicant's required dates and the certitude of the dates provided for all fall and spring breaks (if applicable).
  • The certitude of your school's COVID-19 protocols and plans for the 2022-2023 school year. 
  • Availability of trunks during the timeframes that you provide on your application. 
  • Schools and educators who received a trunk during the 2021-2022 school year are not eligible to receive a trunk during the 2022-2023 school year. 
  • Educators who received a trunk in the past and did not utilize it in their classroom or those educators who no called-no showed at the National Teacher Institute are not eligible to receive a trunk. 
  • Educators who have been verbally abusive to the American Battlefield Trust staff are not eligible to receive a trunk.
  • Please Note: Requests are not fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.


See where the Traveling Trunk traveled to during the 2019-2020 school year

Additional Traveling Trunk Resources