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19th Century Willowbrook Village

Field Trips

A great way for students of all grades to explore 19th century Maine, New England and United States history, especially our evolving technology during that century!

Guide-led tours of the museum may be scheduled during May and June, 2014. Be sure to reserve early for the best date selection. As something new for the 2014 season, we are offering programs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to best suit your needs. Be aware that early May could be chilly.

Willowbrook offers a multi-station interactive program that addresses Maine Learning Results and New Hampshire Curriculum Framework. On-site programs are based on grade-appropriate themes in a “station” format. Each program is about 3 1/2 hours in length and includes time for lunch and a stop at the Student Shop.

Dates available for 2014 school field trips:

May 1,2,5,6,7,8,9,12,13,14,15,16,19,20,21,22,23,26,27,28,29, and the 30th.

June 2, 3,4,5,6,9,10,11,12,13,16,17,18,19,20,23,24,25,26,27 and the 30th.

In addition to the program that many have enjoyed, we have developed some new choices which provide hands-on experiences that specifically focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning objectives, with the addition of art programming as a means to that end. The combination of these disciplines have some to be known as STEAM learning objectives in response to the new common core. We are keen on making Willowbrook a greater educational resource for teachers and students.

In addition to the programs listed below, and as a result of recent funding by the Davis Family Foundation of Yarmouth, Maine, we will be offering a choice of a series of new "stations" focusing on STEAM learning objectives that involve our museum educators leading hands-on workshops with a final product to take home. These workshops will be 35 minutes each, and given the time constraints of a visit to the museum school groups are limited to one or two workshops, as we would also like you to tour part of the museum. In addition, and in conjunction with a tour, we also offer new interactive learning stations. 

Traditional Programs:

K, 1, 2    Families Then & Now
Durgin or Trafton House; Durgin Barn (creamery/farm animals); Schoolhouse and toys/pastimes

3, 4, 5     Trades, Trading & Transportation
Durgin or Trafton House; schoolhouse and print shop; Carriage House, Blacksmith Shop, Durgin Barn

Our programs may be modified for other grade levels--just ask.

New STEM and STEAM Workshops and Interactive Stations

Download our new three-fold school field trip flyer here

1. Paper Engineering Workshop (35 minutes )

a. Choose to make simple mechanical figures out of paper. This will involve cutting, bending and folding. Students may make P.T. Barnum's famous 19th Century circus attraction "Jumbo", the elephant, with a functional, mechanical trunk.

b. Choose to make a robot arm.

c. Choose to make a hank-crank gear differential (a series of mechanical gears in descending order). Learn a little about hand-crank power and gears.

2.Mechanical Image Viewing: The Evolution of Moving Pictures (35 minutes)

a. Choose to make a zoetrope (this involves a printing activity in the Print Shop).

b. Choose to make a flip book (this involves a printing activity in the print shop).

c. See a silent film short.

3. Victorian Kitchen Workshop (35 minutes)

a. Churn real butter.

b. Read and follow a recipe. Mix muffin batter. Bake in a real wood burning Victorian oven. Eat.

4. Interactive Learning Station: Crystal Radio Sets

Complete wire connections and tune into an AM radio station with a crystal radio set. Learn how this radio works. See early radios from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Listen to early radio programs.

5. Interactive Learning Station: H.M.S. Titanic and H.M.S. Carpathia Radio Rooms. Send and receive Morse code on a series of authentic early telegraph keys as well as contemporary facsimile models in a re-creation of the famous Titanic and its sister ship Carpathia, which arrived too late to the scene of the tragedy.

6. Interactive Learning Station: Artifact Analysis. Learn something about museum work. Search for real and reproduced material culture and print media/ephemera samples from the 19th century. Once found analyze them using a method of analysis.

7. Interactive Learning Station: Early Gas Engine Assembly and Assembly Line Simulation. Use real open ended wrenches and nuts and bolts to assemble parts of a wood reproduction of a Model T engine, steam engine, and steel wheeled Fordson tractor. Compete in a timed assembly of these parts to earn your $5 a day wage at the Ford Motor Company in the old days! See real examples of these engines on the campus. This is a tactile, kinesthetic, and intrapersonal activity.

8. Interactive Learning Station:  Hoof, Paw, Hand, and Foot Power. Visit some of our horse, goat and work dog treadmills around the campus. Climb aboard and power a 1870s grist mill and/or apple crusher. try out our series of human  hand crank and foot treadle machines and learn about the various ways machines were powered in the 19th century.

9. Interactive Learning Station: Early Hand-Crank Telephones and Dynamos. In partnership with The Telephone Museum of Ellsworth, Maine, we will have two functioning hand-crank telephones on the campus. Students can talk to each other. Be careful; these are very old. We also have a series of dynamos, some from early telephones, that generate electricity by cranking them. How does this work? Learn. Power lights and a small fan with a crank.

Outreach programs to schools are also available throughout the year. Contact us, and we can discuss a program that connects with your curriculum.

kids walking along the road

Students travel through the village from station to station (above) and print a handbill on a Kelsey Excelsior printing press to take may also print a pattern to use with a zoetrope you construct in a workshop.

student at print shop station

Our print shop will have several hands-on activities for you to experience. 



For reasons of safety and security, student groups of 10 or more must be accompanied by a Willowbrook tour guide. The program fee is $5 per person - students and chaperones alike. One educator is admitted free with each class or youth group. The $5 fee represents a substantial discount for adult chaperones.

To make a reservation for a field trip, complete the online field trip reservation form and click on submit. Staff will contact you to confirm your reservation.Please be aware that the drop down menu for the reservation form goes up to "2013"; we are working on changing it to "2014". Your reservation will be interpeted as a 2014 reservation.

Pre-visit packets may be downloaded by clicking here. Our tour guides can modify the program for multi-age groups such as home schools and for other grades, and we will adjust program lengths if time is a time issue. Our programs address Maine Learning Results.


student shop

Each program includes a lunch period and a visit to Willowbrook's Student Store (above).

A zoetrope-such a pattern, when set in an assembly and spun by hand produces the appearance of movement. In this case, a bird seemingly flaps its wings in flight. In the choice of one of our new workshops, students can print this circular pattern using pint blocks that will subsequently be built into a hand held and operated zoetrope.

An electric dynamo-this hand crank machine was used to power early telephones. Students will have the opportunity to understand how this works and what power it is capable of producing.

A paper engineered elephant. It's tail operates its trunk! How? Make this or other choices by cutting, bending, and folding.

This early crystal radio set can pick up AM radio waves with a crystal. How does that work? Tuning these early radios was a chore with a "cat's whisker" and a long antennae. Try your hand at tuning in, as this young man searches the air waves on a very early vacuum tube radio with headset.

A re-creation of the H.M.S. Titanic and Carpathia's  radio rooms , courtesy of the Lyric Theatre in Burlington, VT, will be a new offering this season. Visitors will be able to telegraph each other using both early and contemporary versions of a telegraph key and sounder. A good introduction to Morse code and early communication.

Try this set of  authentic Western Electric railroad telegraph keys and sounders at the H.M.S. Titanic and Carpathia radio rooms!

Climb aboard one of our horse treadmills and see how they once powered machines like this portable grist mill. That's corn being cracked, so that it can be fed to the livestock.

Goat and working dog treadmills too.

And more...


19th Century Willowbrook Village is a nonprofit 501(c)3 charitable organization
listed on the National Register of Historic Places

19th Century Willowbrook Village • P.O. Box 28, Newfield, Maine 04056 207-793-2784