One of the Watkins Mill Association’s top priorities is to promote the authentic educational opportunities the historic site provides. What better way to help your students, scouts, homeschoolers and other club members understand life and industry in the 1800s than to immerse them in the time period?

Site staff will take your reservation by phone and help you create a learning experience that is appropriate for the age range and size of your group.

Support from volunteers is critical in presenting educational and interpretive programs at the Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site. If you would like to get involved with Watkins Mill in this way, please see our Volunteer page.

For reservations: 816-580-3387 or Email

Visitors Center & Museum

When you come to Watkins Mill for educational programs, it’s a good idea to plan extra time at the beginning of your visit to explore the museum or see a 25-minute orientation film.
Length: One half-hour each for video and museum
Fee: Free
Scavenger Hunt I (PDF)
Scavenger Hunt II (PDF)
Scavenger Hunt III (PDF)
Scavenger Hunt IV (PDF)

Watkins House and Woolen Mill Tours

Click here to learn more about our tours.
Availability: Offered year round. Depending on availability, you can schedule any two-hour block in the following timeframes:

Living History Farm Program

Through the Living History Farm Program, students participate in common activities of the 1870s. Costumed interpreters present the activities and explain why they were important to the Watkins family. Teachers can choose up to three of the following activities. You will indicate your preference when making your reservation.
  • Cider Pressing (August - October, schools are responsible for providing 2-3 apples per student) 
  • Gardening (April - September, work gloves recommended) 
  • Laundry 
  • Rag Rug Weaving 
  • Victorian Games 
  • Wood Stove Cooking
Availability: Offered April through November, seven days a week. Depending on availability, you can schedule any two hour time block from 10 am - 3 pm--April through October, and from 10 am - 2 pm in March and November. 

Industrial Revolution Outreach

In this program interpreters dressed in 1870s period clothes travel to your classroom to provide a presentation on the industrial revolution. A brief history of the industrial revolution is covered with the main focus being on the importance of woolen mills. Three pre-industrial revolution activities are demonstrated for students with the activities consisting of hand carding of wool, spinning of wool on a spinning wheel, and weaving of fabric on a table-top hand loom. Students are allowed and encouraged to participate in hand carding and weaving. Following each activity video footage is shown of machines from an operating historical woolen mill that perform the same tasks as the pre-industrial revolution methods. This allows students to visually compare and contrast efficiency, productivity, and safety differences before the industrial revolution began and once it was well under way.

One-Room Schoolhouse Program

Students can see what school was like in the 19th century. At Franklin Academy, a costumed interpreter will teach short lessons in several subjects of the day including history, reading, spelling, elocution, and arithmetic. The Franklin Academy is not heated or air-conditioned so please dress accordingly. You can supplement your curriculum with a teachers guide available from the site office. Reservations are required for this program.

The schoolhouse is available free of charge to teachers who wish to conduct their own programs during normal business hours. Tell us your plans in the comments section when you make your reservation. Site staff will be happy to open the building for you and will also lock up when you are finished. They can also provide up to 40 sets of William Holmes McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers and 20 sets of Ray’s Arithmetic books.

Availability: Offered April through November, seven days a week. Depending on availability, you can schedule any one-hour block from 10 am - 4 pm April through October, and from 10 am - 4 pm in March and November.