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For Run Away Home
By Patricia C. McKissack


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History Center


Story Book

Picture of Minnesota History CenterActivities

History Center Visit

Children often retain more information when they are provided with hands-on experiences. Field trips can provide interesting, informative, and exciting experiences for children of all ages as well as provide a welcome change from the day-to-day classroom experience. A visit to a history center or Native American museum can provide students a perspective of history that is a unique learning experience. If you live within driving distance to a museum in your area, it would be time well spent. Many states have historical museums.

Students will gain a deeper understanding of the African American experience and Native American experience as introduced in Run Away Home by Patricia McKissack.

Examples of Museums and historic centers:
Lower Sioux Agency, Minnesota – Why and how did the U.S. Government plan to remake traditional Dakota life in the 1850s? Find out at Lower Sioux Agency. Hands-on activities and staff-guided programs integrate with trails, the 1861 warehouse and exhibits to engage students in their study of the Dakota residents and the U.S. – Dakota War of 1862.

An Authentic Seminole Indian Village, Florida – Step back in time to an authentic Indian village populated by real Seminole Indians. Here you will see a glorious reminder of days gone by and find a treasure trove of authentic Native Indian arts and crafts.

The National African American Museum and Cultural Center, Ohio – The mission of the Center is to educate the public about African American history and culture from the African origins to the present by collecting, preserving, and interpreting material evidence of the Black experience.

Minnesota Historical Society History Center - Learn about African American and Native American history in Minnesota. Hands on learning experiences are available to student groups. Students are encouraged to explore the museum with teachers and chaperones.

Preparations for the field Trip:
1. At least three to four weeks in advance of the field trip you will need to schedule the field trip with the history center or museum’s scheduling office. You may receive materials in the mail that include:

  • A letter of confirmation and an itemized program schedule;
  • A field-trip checklist with descriptions of the exhibits at the museum;
  • A packet of materials including information about museum rules, drop-off and check-in instructions, bus parking, and an itinerary worksheet.

2. Two to three weeks in advance of the field trip, you will need to send permission slips home with each student to inform the parents of the field trip and to obtain the parents’ permission for the student to participate. A signed permission slip must be returned in advance of the trip in order for the student to go. You might want to require the permission slips be returned one week in advance to avoid any last minute problems.

3. Along with the permission slips, you will want to let the parents know that you will need parents to help chaperone the students on the field trip. Some museums request that you bring one chaperone for every six (or fewer) students. It will be much easier to break into groups and handle behavior problems if you have several parents to help. Ask the parents to call you as soon as possible to confirm that they will be able to help. Be sure to provide your telephone number.

4. You might want the students to bring sack lunches and a beverage. You should also check with the museum to find out if they have a lunch area for school groups.

5. One to two weeks in advance you will need to schedule a school bus and driver for transportation to and from the museum.

Have your students write a short paper about their experience at the museum.

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Comments: L. Perrenoud at
Page Last Updated October 27, 2003