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Field trips/group tours

A woman in overalls and a red bandana talks to elementary students next to a World War II Jeep.

Field trips/group tours

Bring your class to the Michigan History Museum for fun and learning! Our field trip experiences and programs are an excellent supplement to your classroom instruction.

Important information for field trips:

  • Group visits are available Monday - Friday. Please note the museum is closed on all official state holidays and several other days during the year. Please see the holiday closing schedule for a complete list of closure dates.
  • Dates become available for reservations one year in advance (i.e. if you would like to bring your group on Oct. 7, 2024, the earliest date that you can make your reservation is Oct. 7, 2023). You can try to make reservations with shorter lead time, but be aware that dates fill up fast.
  • The museum does not allow teachers to bring in their own tour guides or program facilitators during general visits. If you are interested in a facilitated program, please book one of our guided tours and programs.

Current field trip offerings:

Four elementary students look at a museum exhibit and draw pictures and write in notebooks.

The general visit is a self-guided tour of the museum's permanent exhibits. Plan approximately 90 minutes for the visit.

Admission:

  • $4 per student (age 6-17)
  • One teacher and one paraprofessional free
  • One chaperon for every 10 students free
  • Additional adults are welcomed to join at $8 per person

Booking:

  • To book a self-guided visit to the museum, call Capitol Tour Services at 517-373-2353. 
  • Many educators combine a visit to the museum with a tour of the Michigan State Capitol building. To make the booking process for both locations easy, we have partnered with the Capitol Tour Service, where teachers can schedule both visits at in one place. 

Typically, arrivals are scheduled every 15 minutes, in class size groupings. If several classrooms from the same school plan to visit together, arrival time may be staggered to avoid overcrowding in the museum.

Please be advised that the museum is busiest during the spring. We encourage teachers and other group leaders to plan your visit for other times of the year when your group can get the most out of the museum experience.

Teachers are allowed and encouraged to create activities for the students to complete during their visit. Please be advised that the exhibitions and artifacts on display change seasonally and may affect teacher-created materials. Teachers who wish to visit the museum to develop materials before their class visit may do so free of charge by contacting our Visitor Services team at 517-335-2581. 

A man talks to elementary students in front a large black and white mural of a B24 bomber.

A knowledgeable volunteer docent will lead your class through Michigan history, from the end of the last ice age through the mid 20th century. The tour pays particular attention to Michigan's Anishinaabe people through the Statehood era. The tour meets Michigan social studies learning standards. Guided tours are limited to a minimum of 10 and maximum of 30 students, and last approximately 90 minutes.

Admission:

  • $7 per student
  • one teacher and paraprofessionals free
  • one chaperon for every 10 students free
  • Additional adults are welcomed to join at $8 per person
  • Paid programs for adult groups are available for $9 per person

Booking:

  • Reservations for guided tours are made by calling the Michigan History Museum directly at 517-335-2581. All programs must be scheduled at least three weeks in advance.
  • For schools looking to bring several classrooms to the museum, please be advised that we can only accommodate two guided tours each day. 
  • Payment is due the date of the tour. The museum accepts cash, checks (payable to “State of Michigan") and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover only). If paying by check, please bring only the amount you owe. We are unable to process refunds on site. If an invoice is needed please request one when booking your program, as invoices are not automatically generated.

Visit our preparing for your field trip page for more information on museum amenities and rules.

Updated 08/30/2021

Created in in 1999 by Margaret Holtschlag, Teacher of the Year 2000, the BIG Lesson concept is a study trip that is longer in length and able to have more meaningful and thorough learning than a typical one-day field trip. In the BIG Lesson model, teachers bring their students to community resources – such as the Michigan History Museum as well as nature centers, zoo’s, and science museums – to create an immersive learning experience for their students to study extensively all that that place has to offer over a number of days. By spending five consecutive days in one place there is time for teachers to lead project-based, problem-based, and placed-based learning for their students, as well as opportunity for integration of other subjects. View the full overview of the program here. 

Changing the concept of the traditional field trip to an all-day, all-week interdisciplinary study trip, this experience includes:

  • Teacher-led and expert-led lessons using the museum space and props
  • Studying the museum artifacts more deeply
  • Simulations
  • Behind-the-scenes tours
  • Student groups working cooperatively on research

Parents are actively involved in the learning activities and assistance to teacher. The learning before and after the BIG Lesson week expands with research projects and connections to curriculum.

 

Foundational practices of the BHL that teachers will be trained to implement:

  • Theme for the week
  • Gallery Time
  • Culminating Project (Summative Assessment)
  • Debriefing activities (Formative Assessments)
  • Student Mastery and Empowerment
  • Chaperone Participation

Other program details to note: 

  • Fee per class is $400
  • Up to two classes can participate per week
  • BLH runs in the fall and winter
  • Limite of 1 chaperone per 4 students
  • Participating teachers are required to attend a one-day training. Two training dates will be offered, Thursday, Aug. 16 or Friday, Sept. 6 

How to apply

Program contact

    Help with field trip costs

    Teachers have asked us for information about how to get help with covering the costs of field trips to the Michigan History Museum. We've learned of the following.

    • Target field trip grants
    • Schools often are able to get grants through local service organizations (such as Lions and Rotary clubs), local businesses and local foundations that want to make sure that their efforts directly support students in their communities.

    Teacher Resources

    Visit the Michigan History Center's Michiganology website for all our educational materials.

    Updated 09/01/2021