Teaching Trunks

The Teaching Trunk Program* is an outreach endeavor of the Transylvania Heritage Museum, located in Brevard, North Carolina. The goal of this program is to enable students to personally connect with western North Carolina’s history in a way that is authentic and meaningful. Each trunk incorporates historic artifacts, such as photographs, maps, documents, and objects, as well as instructional materials to assist teachers in facilitating learning opportunities that utilize the artifacts. Trunks are created around themes that are aligned to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study but are easily adapted to national standards. These trunks can be checked out by contacting the Transylvania Heritage Museum.

*This program is made possible by the Transylvania Endowment of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina the Transylvania County Board of Education and the Pisgah Forest Rotary Club. 

Available Trunks:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where did the idea for the Teaching Trunks come from?

A: Recognizing that our local museum’s collections are a wonderful teaching resource, and recognizing that taking a field trip to the museum itself is not always possible, the Teaching Trunks project was initiated to bring the museum to the classroom. An added benefit of the Teaching Trunks project is that materials from the museum can be provided to teachers and students around a particular theme that correlates to the students’ grade level.

Q: Is the stuff in the Teaching Trunks really old?

A: While all of the items in the trunk come from “the past,” some of the items are reproductions. This is especially true of some of the photographs and documents. By providing a reproduction, the museum is able to preserve the original and still allow students to view and handle a facsimile of the original. However, when possible we do try to include an original artifact.

Q: Can my students touch the things in the Teaching Trunks?

A: Yes. That’s one of the purposes for bringing it into the classroom.

Q: How can I check out one of the trunks?

A: Contact the Transylvania Heritage Museum.

I loved this! The materials were well thought out and I was able to incorporate small group work with the six box investigations. As a follow-up, I will invite a few community members to speak to my students regarding the local economy.

The “Traveling Transylvania Trunk” was an absolutely wonderful learning tool for my fourth graders. The amount of time and energy that was taken to pull materials and construct lessons for this trunk was phenomenal and the excitement over the trunk and its contents was awesome. The lessons included in the trunk were right on track for fourth graders and covered many content areas. Students were able to learn so much about the history and economy of our county by analyzing photographs and artifacts. By allowing students to wear gloves and use magnifying glasses during these lessons, the students felt as if they were detectives searching through decades of Transylvania’s history.