Fire Museum Colonial Complex - Colonial Courthouse Colonial Complex - Golden Plough Tavern & Gates House Agricultural & Industrial Museum Bonham House Historical Society Museum
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EDUCATION & PROGRAMMING - School Tours & Programs
School Group Tours
The York County Heritage Trust provides a wide variety of programs designed to enrich children's learning and classroom experiences. All of our educational tours and programs are designed to be compatible with current Pennsylvania State Academic History Standards. Trained docents and education staff lead groups through any number of the Trust's sites.  

School and Youth Organization Group Tours

·         Minimum Group Size: 10 children

·         Maximum Group Size: 125 at most sites (larger numbers can typically be accommodated through various tour options and multiple site visits)

·         Availability Tuesday-Saturday

·         Tours available at 9:30 a.m., last tour start time 3:00 p.m.

Tour Amenities

·         Eating spaces available at the Agricultural & Industrial Museum and Historical Society Museum.

·        Bus parking available at the Agricultural & Industrial Museum and Historical Society Museum (Drop off locations available at all sites).

·         Agricultural & Industrial Museum and the Historical Society Museum are handicap accessible

o   Due to the historic nature of the structures, the Bonham House, Colonial Complex, and Fire Museum are not fully handicap accessible.

School and Youth Organizations Group Tour Rates

·         $6.00 per person for up to two locations/events.

·          $7.00 per person for three or more locations/events.

·        Chaperones and bus drivers are admitted free of charge.

·        Schools with a current Educational Membership receive tours free of charge (It is recommended that member schools reserve preferred dates well in advance).

·        Accepted forms of payment: Cash, Check, Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover)

·         Payment can be made prior to visit or on date of visit for total amount due

o   Final admission fees based on actual attendance

Please note that discount or free admission coupons cannot be used toward group tour admission costs. Groups arriving with less than ten in their party will be charged regular admission


·         Contact the Education Department or by phone (717) 848-1587 extension 301

·         Reservations are required 3 weeks in advance

·         March through early June and October are the busiest school tour months; advanced reservations suggested
·        Tours booked on a first come, first serve basis.

Field Trip Planning Guides

General Field Trip Overview Packet

Agricultural & Industrial Museum Field Trip Guide                                                                                                                  


Bonham House Field Trip Guide


Colonial Complex Field Trip Guide



Historical Society Museum (250 East Market St.)
This museum emphasizes the breadth of York County history from its earliest settlement through the turn of the century. The first floor of the museum includes a Street of Shops with a one room log cabin, print shop, an apothecary, and a 19th century toy store. York County tall case clocks, decorative arts and furniture, original drawings by local artist Lewis Miller, and the community exhibit A Place to Call Home are featured on the second floor. Students can also explore a comprehensive exhibit that covers York County history from its beginnings to the mid-nineteenth century and includes the Susquehannock Indians, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. Temporary exhibits highlight specific York contributions and events. Currently on exhibit is The Fiery Trial: York County's Civil War Experience.
Average tour length: 60 minutes

Agricultural & Industrial Museum (217 West Princess Street)
Learn about York County's many contributions to agricultural and industrial progress on a visit to the Agricultural & Industrial Museum. Agricultural artifacts produced or used in the county over three centuries include locally made wagons, tractors, steam engines and farm tools. Try your hand at the interactive exhibit, Marvelous Milk: From the Farm to Your Table, where students learn about dairy industry in York County and get the opportunity to milk our (reproduction) cow, Annabelle. Working industrial exhibits include a 72-ton A-Frame ammonia compressor once used to manufacture large blocks of ice, and three-story gristmill. Exhibits on pottery, casket manufacturing, dental supplies, piano and organ manufacturing, as well as York's industrial contribution to World War II are also featured. Air, Land, & Water: Transporting People & Products, housed in the Trust's 12,000 square-foot transportation wing, includes York manufactured automobiles, a Conestoga wagon, a York trolley car and a 1937 Aeronca K airplane.
Average tour length: 45-60 minutes

Colonial Complex (corner of West Market Street and North Pershing Avenue)
The Colonial Complex includes some of the most historic buildings in the city. The Golden Plough Tavern, a Germanic half-timbered building built in 1741, is the oldest structure in the City of York and served York residents and travelers into the early 1800s. The General Gates House (c. 1751) was the temporary residence of General Horatio Gates, newly appointed president of the Board of War. The Barnett Bobb Log House is a 19th century squared-timber dwelling, typical of those built in the Pennsylvania frontier during the early 1800s. All three buildings contain period furnishings, textiles, tools and utensils. The Complex also includes the reproduction of the 1754 Colonial Court House, created to represent the headquarters of the Continental Congress, which met in York from September 1777 to June 1778 and adopted the Articles of Confederation.
Average tour length: 60-75 minutes

Bonham House (152 East Market Street) Built in 1840, this three-story dwelling was purchased by artist and prominent Yorker Horace Bonham in 1875. With its original family furnishings and rooms that include an 1860s parlor and a 1920s library, visitors learn about life for an upper-middle class family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While Horace trained as a lawyer, he spent most of his life as a painter of portraits, landscapes and genre scenes. Several of his works are displayed in the house.
Average tour length: 30-45 minutes

York County Fire Museum (757 West Market Street) Located in the 1903 Royal Fire House, the museum allows visitors to see how York fire-fighters worked, lived and played. It holds more than 225 years of fire-fighting equipment, representative of the 72 fire companies of York County. Objects on display include 6 mechanical fire trucks ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s, 19th century hand-pumped equipment, the original stalls for the fire horses, alarm boxes, parade uniforms and photographs.
Average tour length: 45 minutes


Life on the Pennsylvania Frontier - Grades 3-5
The Colonial Complex and the Agricultural & Industrial Museum combine to provide students with a complete experience of the early settlement years in York County. Students learn about daily life of the settlers, the role of the tavern in society, why settlers chose York County, and the resources they had available to them. Highlights include a visit to some of York's most historic buildings and watching a 3 story water-powered grist mill in action.
Average tour length: 2-3 hours

You Say You Want a Revolution - Grades 3-12
Students are introduced to a time when York was the provisional capital of the United States. In the Colonial Court House, students will re-enact the trial of Anglican minister, Reverend Daniel Batwell, who because of his British (Tory) sympathies, was accused of treason in 1778. A tour of the General Gates House will include a discussion of Marquis de Lafayette and the Conway Cabal. A walking tour highlighting colonial sites in Downtown York, including Colonel Thomas Hartley's House and St. John's Episcopal Church, rounds out your tour. The walking tour does not include interior visits of the buildings.
Average tour length: 2 hours

York County During the Civil War - Grades 4-6
Students learn about one of our nation's most tragic times. While at the Historical Society Museum students will discuss some of the underlying causes of the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, and the occupation of York County by Confederate forces in June 1863 (just before the Battle of Gettysburg). Students will meet a Civil War soldier who will train them in the proper way to march and provide insight into the life of a soldier. They will also visit The Bonham House, home of a prominent 19th century York family, to experience domestic life around the time of the Civil War. The tour concludes with a walking tour of some of the Civil War era buildings in Downtown York, including the Phillip Small House and the William Goodridge House. The walking tour does not include interior visits of the buildings.
Average tour length: 2 hours


The following materials are available for use in classrooms or off-site. Trunks can be picked up at the Agricultural & Industrial Museum between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Tuesday - Saturday. The Education Department should be contacted at least three weeks in advance to sign out a trunk for a one-week period. Trunks are offered free of charge to our educational members. Trunks are $15.00 each for non-member schools, educational institutions or children groups. An organization may only sign out one trunk at a time. Trunks are most appropriate for grades 2-6.

Colonial America and the Revolution
Experience the life of an 18th century man or woman! A unique, hands-on experience is provided for your classroom as students examine reproduction Revolutionary-era clothing, tools, and games.  Click here to access a detailed description of the items included in this trunk.

Soldiers and Civilians of the Civil War
Complete Union and Confederate uniforms and equipment give your students an accurate feel of what a Civil War soldier experienced. Ladies clothes show just how complicated and elaborate women's outfits could be! Also included are reproductions of Civil War era games.  A reproduction surgeon's supply kit and School in the Civil War replica artifacts are available upon request.  Click here to access a detailed description of the items included in this trunk.


York County Heritage Trust
250 East Market Street, York, PA 17403
717.848.1587 (ph) • 717.812.1204 (fax)
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