Park staff, docent volunteers and concessionaires at Columbia State Historic Park take great pride in presenting a number of quality educational programs for schools. In this way, we help preserve the rich heritage that is an important part of our lives as Californians and in the history of our state. Financial and volunteer support for these programs is provided by Friends of Columbia.
We offer a variety of opportunities for school children to gain firsthand experiences to augment their classroom learning about the California gold rush. In fact, over 15,000 fourth graders attend presentations at Columbia State Historic Park each year.
Parking and admission to the park are free. School groups are welcomed to visit the park at any time for self-guided activities.
For questions about any of the information below, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (209) 588-9128.
In general, school programs consist of:
• Gold Trek –
This is a unique program, offered just a few Thursdays each spring. After a series of in-class programs led by the teacher and based on pre-visit activities in the accompanying teacher’s guide, the students arrive at the park prepared for their Gold Trek. At the school, the students will bake hard-tack and create journals. Teachers will divide the classes into companies after communicating with park staff.
When they arrive at the park, the companies participate in an auction where they have the opportunity to spend or save their money, purchase maps, carts, supplies and shovels, and start on their journey. Along the route to the gold fields, they encounter charlatans, merchants, ferry crossings, and opportunities to make critical decisions that impact their ability to arrive at the diggin’s ready to work.
This program is meant to replicate the experience that many young men faced as theytraveled from Stockton to the diggings in search of gold.
This program costs $3.50 per student, and takes approximately 3 hours.
Reservations for this program can be made beginning Monday, August 15, 2016, at 6:00am.
New for 2017! There will be 3 start times with up to 35 students each timeslot allowing us to move more smoothly during the program and have less wait time at the beginning and end of the trek. Treks will commence at 9:30, 10:00, or 10:30.
Available 2017 dates: March 16, March 23, March 30, April 6, April 20.
A new teacher’s guide will be available December 2016 at www.parks.ca.gov/columbia.
WAITLIST:If you are unable to make reservations for this program because the timeslot is full, please send an email to email@example.com with your name, school name, # of students, and phone number to be added to our waitlist. If we have additional spots available or receive a cancellation, we will contact you.
• Schoolhouse Living History Program and Town Tour – These two programs can be done alone or together to create a comprehensible Gold Rush field trip depending on time constraints and interest. They are offered Wednesdays and Thursdays September 14-February 10, and Monday through Thursday February 14-June 2, at 10:00, 11:15, 12:30, and 1:45. Programs are NOT available May 15-23 due to the Diggins Tent Town event.
The Town Tourconsists of a 1-hour program led by park staff starting at the museum and discussing Columbia and the Gold Rush, including the role of fire in the development of Gold Rush towns, the routes miners and merchants took to get to California, where they came from, and how they made their livings in Columbia. Included in the town tour program is a hands-on mining demonstration or general mercantilism, presentation, weather permitting.
The Schoolhouse Program -Book Now!
The Schoolhouse Program is a 1-hour program up at the 1861 historic brick schoolhouse where a costumed schoolteacher presents a program using the methods and tools of the 1861 classroom. History lessons, spelling, reading and math are covered in the program. Students will use slate boards and chalk and learn what school was like for children in the Gold Rush.
Cost for each program is $30. Reservations may be made online here beginning August 15, 2016, at 6:00am.
Cost is $30. Book with the button on the right (LIVE August 15th).Columbia Diggins Tent Town Education Days ~Book Now!
May 18-21, 2017
Each year, docents and staff recreate an early tent town to demonstrate the daily life of Gold Rush mining camps. Special educational programs for 4th graders are offered on the Thursday and Friday of Columbia Diggins Tent Town. Students get a chance to tour the camp and interact with characters from 1852.
This program adheres to the state’s curriculum standards, and provides an unbeatable opportunity for students to experience first-hand what they’ve learned in the classroom. This program is very popular, and reservations are required.
Mark your calendars! Reservations can be made first-come, first serve,
beginning August 15, 2016, at 6:00am.
To preserve the learning environment, classes without reservations are not admitted on Thursday or Friday of the event. The cost is $5/student, which includes $3 worth of “Columbia Eagles” which are redeemed for goods, food or services in the camp, giving students an opportunity to interact in the mercantile economy of the camp.
WAITLIST: If you are unable to make reservations for this program because the timeslot is full, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, school name, # of students, and phone number to be added to our waitlist. If we have additional spots available or receive a cancellation, we will contact you.
• PORTS – Columbia SHP is a host site for the Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students Program, or PORTS. This program uses videoconference technology to link students to park personnel and the California gold rush. It introduces California content standards in a fun and interactive way. Click here for a direct link, or go to school programs for a better overview offered by the California State Parks.
• Passports -Columbia’s Passports Program is a self-guided touring aid where students are required to find, identify and list items found in locations throughout the park. It’s a treasure hunt of information where they learn firsthand about details of the mining days. They meet the California State Curriculum Standards for fourth grade social studies content.
Passports can be purchased for $1 each in the museum or ordered in advance of your school trip, or you can go to www.parks.ca.gov/columbia, click on link to School Programs, and then click on Discover Columbia’s Passport Order Form, or click here to download and print a Passport.