Hands On Activities

Laundry activity

Hands-On Experiences at Pennypacker Mills!


Explore what life was like 100 years ago by doing some of the same activities. Activities for all ages - children and adults. Make history with us!

Choice of Activities:

A Visit to the General Store*

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The General Store served as the Post Office, food store, hardware store, and meeting place for friends & neighbors. Through the eyes of its customers learn about what foods & products were available, make purchases, weigh and grind grain. Grades 3-7;  a younger version of this lesson is available for non-readers

This is the Way We Wash the Clothes*#

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Technology was changing to improve peoples’ lives with new inventions such as indoor plumbing and early washing machine devices made life easier. Time to get your hands wet!  All ages.

Life in a Coal Mine, Children at Work *

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Thousands of boys descended into dark, dangerous coal mines or worked above ground as coal breakers. You can sort & size coal, learning about the jobs that children performed, and discovering why Gov. Pennypacker wrote the first child labor laws in Pennsylvania targeting coal mines. Grades  4 - 8

Victorian Kitchen Gadgets

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The Victorian kitchen was the epicenter of technology with new-fangled gadgets, & stoves that cooked & heated water for baths! You will use a variety of kitchen tools & discover what the kitchen of the 1900’s was like.  Grades 2 -6

What Artifacts Can Tell Me - 

Authentic objects from a historic period are called artifacts. The artifacts you will be observing would have been used by people living around 1900. By looking at these artifacts closely, you can learn things about them and the people who used them. Students will perform hands-on observations, fill out a descriptive form, and reveal how they believe how these artifacts worked.  Grades 4-8

Note: Some activities available year-round. Those with * are available April through October; # - Minimum of 20 participants, outdoors.

Supplemental Activities

- Extend your day with these supplemental activities:
Tour of the Mansion - focus on what it was like for children to live here 100 years ago
Child’s Play of Long Ago - tabletop games & lawn games
Period Craft - seasonal craft, age appropriate
Penmanship - pen and ink
The Art of the Calling Card - learn why these cards were so important, and make one of your own.
Storytime - hear one of these five stories that relate to the 1900s:
  • The General & His Dog - a true story of the Revolutionary War that happened at Pennypacker Mills!
  • Mr. Coal - follow the tale of Mr. Coal as this story takes students from the depths of a Pennsylvania coal mine into the homes of people in the 1900’s. 
  • Away We Go! - Discover the history of bicycles and how it changed American society and paved the way for automobiles.
  • Galloping Gertrude - The year is 1908 and grandfather Hill takes his grandchildren for a ride in his new Pierce-Arrow Touring Car. Discover how this new technology was dealt with.
  • Danger at the Breaker - Eight year old Andrew is starting his first day of work in a coal mine. Before his first day is through, he will find out that it can be dangerous too!
Educational programs are available during regular museum hours.
Tours of the mansion & each activity take approximately 45 minutes.
All activities are $5.00 per person per day. You may choose as many programs as time will allow, considering the number of participants involved and the time of year.  Teachers and chaperones are free. Activities are based upon a full-day experience and the number of participants.

Picnic grounds are available.
Restrooms are handicapped accessible.

How to schedule:
Contact us at 610-287-9349