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Old Courthouse Programs

child in judge's chair in courtroom

Students participate in mock trial in restored historic courtroom

NPS Photo

Beginning October 1, 2014, Old Courthouse history galleries will be closed for reconstruction. Galleries will not be available for use by school, scout or public groups. Galleries will reopen in spring 2015. Please check back for opening dates.

Museum Education Programs at the Old Courthouse cover St. Louis history and life during the 1880s. Mock trials let students learn about the court system by reenacting a trial in one of the historic courtrooms.

Call 877.982.1410, ext. 0 to make reservations.

Program Options:
(click on the title for Activity Guide that includes trial transcript)

The Bubble Gum Trial (Reading level: grades 3-4)
What happens when a teacher accuses a student of chewing gum in the classroom, but the student denies doing it? They go to court to settle the issue.

The Dred Scott Trial (Reading level: grades 4-12)
The Dred Scott case is the most famous trial in the history of the Old Courthouse. This program considers the second trial of Dred and Harriet Scott held in the building.

Franke v. City of St. Louis Trial (Reading level: grades 4-12)
In 1888 a young boy was walking along a St. Louis sideway when a large stone fell from a building, fracturing his skull and causing his death. His mother sued for damages at the Old Courthouse.

Trial Activity Guide (Grades 3-12)
This companion guide features background information on the processes of the judicial branch. Pre-site activities include the roles in the courtroom, selecting a jury, and filing a subpoena. Post-site activities consist of appealing the case, real world connections, and classroom extensions. All of the activities are excellent for classes preparing for a visit to the Old Courthouse.

A Trial for the Right to Vote (Reading level: grades 4-12)
In 1872 Virginia Louise Minor, one of the leaders in the Women's Suffrage Movement, was not allowed to register to vote. She and her husband Francis spoke for her cause in the Old Courthouse.

Williams v. Bellefontaine Railway (Reading level: grades 6-12)
In 1867, Mrs. Caroline Williams, a young, pregnant, African American woman, and her two year old child were pushed out of a St. Louis streetcar by the conductor because the company had a policy which did not allow African Americans to ride inside the cars. Mrs. Williams sued for damages at the Old Courthouse.

The History Mystery Game (Grades 3-8)

Using clues and objects, role-play detectives and solve the mystery of St. Louis history.

The House That St. Louis Built (Preschool, 4- and 5-year-olds)
Explore the Old Courthouse to learn a variety of shapes and build a courthouse out of foam blocks.

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