Traveling Trunk Program

Bring “hands-on” history into your classroom.

Gateway Arch National Park’s traveling trunks serve as mini-museums, bringing a little bit of history to your classroom, scout troop or other organization. Each trunk contains a variety of “hands-on” objects: clothing, photographs, books, audio and video tapes, activity sheets and a teacher handbook. Trunks are aligned with Missouri, Illinois, and national learning standards. They are appropriate for all ages.

Trunks are loaned for approximately two weeks. The fee for trunks shipped to Missouri and Illinois is $35.00 per trunk. Trunks shipped to any of the other continental United States cost $45.00 per trunk. Trunks shipped to Alaska and Hawaii will incur an extra charge. The fee covers shipping to and from your location and insurance. Trunks are shipped the first week of the month by United Parcel Service; arriving by the eighth of the month. Trunks must be repacked and ready for UPS pick-up no later than the 22nd of the month. The Gateway Arch National Park issues the call for pick-up. UPS provides return labels at time of pick-up.

Trunk reservations must be made 30 days in advance. Trunks are available year-round and can be shipped anywhere in the United States. To reserve a trunk, or for more information, call, (314) 655-1635.

AFRICAN AMERICANS OF THE WEST James Nash, an African- American, shares his most cherished possessions and memories as he tells the story of his family and friends and their experiences during the nineteenth century westward movement.

ARCHITECTURE The Gateway Arch, completed in 1965, is our nation’s tallest monument. It was built to commemorate the pioneering spirit of America, and became a modern architectural and engineering marvel. Explore the design, materials, and people involved in the construction of the 630foot, stainless steel monument.

CITY OF IMMIGRANTS “Congratulations, you are now citizens of the United States of America.” Thousands of nineteenth century immigrants longed to hear these words. Join three immigrant families, the Reillys, the Kuhlmanns and the Martinos, as they make St. Louis their new home.

CIVIL WAR IN THE “WEST” What was it like to live in the Midwest during the Civil War? This trunk will explore the Civil War through the eyes of two children who grew up in St. Louis during the nineteenth century. Although they did not live on the edge of any major battles they felt the conflict and tension that the war years brought with it.

COWBOYS “Come an’ get it!” ...With these words the cowboys knew it was time to get up, get dressed and head for the chuckwagon. Join cowboy Nat Love and experience his adventures on the trail and the rail.

DRED SCOTT One of the most important cases ever tried in the United States was originally heard in the St. Louis Courthouse. Slaves Dred and Harriet Scott first sued for their freedom in 1847. They lost on a legal technicality, but their story did not stop there. In this trunk we learn about the Scotts’ struggles as told by Michael Cerre, the court clerk responsible for recording the trial in that 1850 courtroom. He shares the story through the tragic 1857 Supreme Court decision.

FRONTIER CLASSROOM Schools were much different long ago. Join the adventures of four children, Toussaint, Joshua, Catherine, and Jessie, as they experience schools in early St. Louis and on the western frontier.

GOLD MINERS “Eureka!” Catch the fever and relive the days of the forty-niners. Meet Albert White, an African American from St. Louis who finds his fortune in California and returns home to open his own business.

HERITAGE OF THE SOUTHWEST The Pueblo, the Navajo and the Spanish peoples have all influenced the development of the Southwest. Experience these three different cultures through the travels of Susan Magoffin, who was one of the first Anglo women on the Santa Fe Trail.

LEVEE MERCANTILE Meet William Barr, a nineteenth century St. Louis business owner. Learn about his growing dry goods store as students play the roles of his customers. Explore early St. Louis commerce, the levee, and nineteenth century economics.

LEWIS AND CLARK Relive this exciting adventure from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back. Discover new lands, people, plants, and animals through the eyes of Patrick Gass, the longest living member of the expedition.

MOUNTAIN MAN Meet John Colter, a nineteenth century mountain man and explorer. Return to the days of the unsettled west as John shares his seasonal travels, trapping adventures, and personal belongings.

OVERLANDERS Join fourteen year old Sally Hester and her family for their overland journey through St. Louis on their way to California in 1849. As you unpack this trunk, discover many of the items needed for the arduous trek.

PLAINS INDIANS Explore the culture of the Plains Indians with Chief Red Cloud as he shares his vivid memories and precious belongings. He tells the story of his people, from the days of the great buffalo hunts to the darker days of life on the reservation.

STEAMBOATS A’ COMIN’ Experience the glorious days of steamboating on the western rivers. Learn about travel and work aboard these floating palaces as one crew member shares his memories and mementoes.
Contents of Traveling Trunk
Contents of the Mountain Man Traveling Trunk

NPS Photo

Last updated: July 10, 2020

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Mailing Address:

11 North 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102


314 655-1600

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