School Programs
The Historical Museum of Bay County is proud to bring you the Signature Series of education programs. All of the education programs presented at the Museum have been designed to fit closely with the classroom...and to tackle specific benchmarks designated for each grade by state and local educational entities. Our Signature programs have been designed in collaboration with the Bay City Public Schools, and are teacher-recommended.

Michigan’s Mastodons: An Ice Age Experience

1st/2nd Grade     (1 hour)    $1/student

Explore Michigan’s Ice Age habitat and learn how mastodons adapted to their harsh environment.  Students will enjoy a story about a mastodon, and discuss the parts of the story while comparing and contrasting mastodons with their wooly mammoth and elephant cousins.  They will study mammoth and mastodon teeth and discuss why they are different, and create a ‘toothy’ take home project.  Students also practice teamwork and motor skills as they put together a giant 3-D mastodon puzzle.



Building Communities...Block by Block


2nd Grade        (90 minutes)     $1/student


What key industries brought individuals into Bay County?  What role does local government play in the community?  What services are needed by a community?  Have those needs changed over time?

These questions and more will be addressed during their visit to City Hall. Students will experience three learning stations: In the City Commission Chambers students will learn about City government. In the next station they will use teamwork and a blank map and buildings to create their own community and discuss what services are needed by a community.*  The third station allows students a trip up to the clock tower to get a bird’s eye view of the community. Discussion in this area includes landmarks and a search for city services.

*A choice of a writing activity may be substituted for the map activity. Note: This program takes place at City Hall located next to the museum.



13 Moons on Turtle’s Back 

3rd Grade       (90 minutes)      $2/student

The Native Americans that lived in our region, the Ojibwa, depended on a specific set of natural resources in the environment to survive. In the past they used the cycle of the moon as a tool not only to keep track of the seasons, but also to know what foods were available and what jobs must be done to make the most of the natural resources available to them.  Through discussion and hands-on items this program will teach students what life was like throughout the year for the Ojibwa, how they kept track of the moon and how they used it to help them obtain the natural resources they needed.   Students will also create a leather turtle necklace that glows in the dark.



4th Grade          (90 minutes )      $1/student

Travel back to the days when lumber was king to discover just how hundreds of acres of untouched forest became a center for  commerce and one of the most important lumber-producing cities of the region.  The lumbering industry in Bay City not only brought capital and prosperity, but population and economic growth that lasted long beyond the last stands of hardwood.   Students will learn about economics and community growth and participate in a quiz and “race to the mill” game based on life in a lumber camp.


 Primary Resources 

6th-7th Grades      (1 hour )      $1.00 per student

What is history? We learn about history through many different resources. Primary resources  are considered the building blocks of one's research. Through various examples and activities, this program will define what are primary resources, and how valuable they become when studying and reporting history. Secondary resources are also inclued in the discussion. There are two versions of this program:  

Museum on the Road Version:  Examples of source types will be brought to the classroom to show the students. 

Museum Version:  Students will enjoy a timeline-based journey through our Trails Through Time gallery. Docents will explain the types of resources as they pertain to different stops in the gallery.











 Additional Programs:
A Walk Through Time 
1st-4th Grades  (90 minutes)  $1/student 
Using our Bay County...Trails Through Time gallery, students will journey through five distinct time periods, through discussions and hands-on presentations on natural resources used throughout the history of Bay County. Students will learn how they played a role in the development of the community, use team work to participate in a question-and-answer scavenger hunt, and help lead fellow students through the gallery. They will make a look-and-find bottle to take home with items representing the Bay County resources that they learned about.
Uses & Abuses of the Saginaw River 
5-8th Grades  (90 minutes)*  $1/student 
When you turn on your faucet, do you ever wonder where the water is coming from? This interactive program will address topics such as glacial activity and the formation of the Great Lakes basin, the hydrological cycle and how much usable water is on the Earth. Students will explore our Kantzler Maritime Gallery, and learn how our water resources helped industries to flourish such as lumber and shipbuilding. Through game play we will discuss how man's activities-both past and present-affect the quality of our water and the lives of the animals who call the Saginaw Bay home. Students will also view the documentary Legends, Logs and Launches.
 Mornings at the Museum
1st-5th Grades  (90 minutes)*  $1/student
Bring your class to the Historical Museum for visits filled with activities, fun facts and take-home crafts. Each themed "Morning at the Museum" will bring new adventures and learning experiences for students. Our Mornings and Museum programs feature docent-led, hands-on station-based activities to help your students learn through inquiry and practice.
Subjects include:
  • Pollinators
  • Maritime Art 
  • Sailor Boot Camp
  • Our Fossil Past
  • Birds of the Saginaw Bay
  • Native American Culture
 *Teachers may choose to have their students participate in a craft activity (recommended for younger students) or play the Lake Game.