The museum and grounds at Whitman Mission are primarily designed as self-guided tours for adults. Your students' trip to Whitman Mission will be greatly enhanced if you give them some activities to help guide them through these areas. Whether you choose to use the activities provided below or use your own, students will be more successful if they have the tools for the job. Please provide each student with a pencil or pen and a rigid surface to write on, such as a clipboard, piece of cardboard, or a folder. Also, please advise students that they may not lean on or use any of the surfaces in the museum to write; they may use the floor or a friend's back if they wish. With your help, we can enhance student learning while at the same time protecting our park and exhibits.
Grounds and Mission at Waiilatpu Site - The Mission Site includes a ¼ - mile paved loop trail. Along the way you will pass wayside exhibits with text and audio, as well as bricks marking the locations of the First House, Mission Mouse, Blacksmith Shop, and Emigrant House.
As you walk around the loop, ask a student at each site to either read the text aloud or press the button. When students have heard the information, ask them a couple questions. Or, ask them to fill in the related answers on the “Grounds Worksheet” (found on following pages). If they do the Worksheet, you may decide that you do not have time for students to complete all the questions. Tell them to choose ten questions to answer instead.
The Great Grave and Memorial Shaft Hill -The Great Grave is where the Whitmans and eleven other people are buried, (there are 14 names on the slab, but only 13 people are buried there). The memorial on Shaft Hill and the Great Grave were dedicated in 1897, fifty years after the deaths at Waiilatpu. The trail up Shaft Hill is quite steep; students or adults with mobility impairments may bypass the hill on the trail that follows its base. Also, please advise your students to walk on the trail on this hill — running leads to hurt students and off-trail travel leads to hurt plants and wildlife.
Have students read the signs and listen to the audio boxes. Then either ask them questions or have them work on the related questions on the “Grounds Worksheet.”
The Oregon Trail and Wagon - The location of our Oregon Trail wagon varies with the season. It may be on the Oregon Trail or behind the visitor center. Please do not climb on the wagon — this is dangerous for the students and damages the wagon.
Use the Oregon Trail to travel between the Great Grave/Shaft Hill areas and the Mission Grounds. Although these are reconstructed, not original, ruts, this is where the trail once was. There are questions on the “Grounds Worksheet” related to this area.
Mission at Waiilatpu Museum - Our museum holds original and reproduction artifacts and photographs portraying the lives and cultures of the Cayuse, the Whitmans, and the mission. A worksheet will help to focus students while visiting the museum. If rangers are not occupied with another group, we will be happy to answer questions in the museum. See “Museum Worksheet”.
mission at Waiilatpu Worksheet 1 - Mission Buildings
This worksheet is for the mission building sites. It asks questions about the buildings along with information from the tape recordings and signs posted at each building site location.
mission at Waiilatpu Worksheet 2 - Oregon Trail
This worksheet is for the areas around the Great Grave site, Memorial Hill and the Oregon Trail and wagon. Worksheet questions ask about the names of people, places, and things encountered on the walk included on signs and observed by your students.
mission at Waiilatpu Worksheet 3 - Museum
This worksheet may be used in the museum. Many exhibits allow a better understanding of the story to develop. Artifacts and story panels let the student find information asked on the worksheet.
Did You Know?
In the fall of 1842 Dr. Whitman decided to travel from Waiilatpu to Boston. He wanted to convince the board members to keep his mission station open. Dr. Whitman was in such a hurry when he left that he forgot his compass.