Groups, School Tours, and Programs at the Somerset Historical Center


The Somerset Historical Center educates the public about rural life in southwestern Pennsylvania from pre-history to the present. The Historical and Genealogical Society of Somerset County, a non-profit community-based organization, supports and assists the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission by conducting the daily operations of the site.

The Education Department has designed special programs for groups of ten or more to enhance the existing school curriculum in Pennsylvania history for the time period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. All programs can be adapted to meet the needs of individual grades and classes.

The Somerset Historical Center is open for outside guided tours April 1 – November 1.

Spring field trips are offered mid-April through June.

On-site programs and outreach programs are offered throughout the year.

On-Site Short Programs

Short programs are offered throughout the year at the museum, are complimentary with a museum admission, and can fit into any time allotment.

Maple Syrup, Sugar, and Spotza explores historical and present day practices of making maple syrup and sugar in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The presentation introduces students to the process of tapping the maple tree, gathering sugar water, boiling it into syrup, and stirring it into sugar. Students will learn why maple sugar is only produced in a few locations in North America, and see the transformation of cooked maple syrup into stirred sugar. The Som-erset Historical Center will provide samples of pure Somerset County maple sugar for students to experience first-hand the natural sugar rendered from the maple tree.

This program will:
* Explain why maple sugar can only be produced in certain regions and why it is a seasonal activity.
* Discuss how sugar water is turned into syrup and sugar.
* Discuss various methods both past and present to tap trees, gather sugar water, and boil it into syrup.
* Students will watch a short video showing the entire process.
* Demonstrate how syrup is stirred into granulated sugar.
* Provide sample maple products for students to sample.

From Apprentice to Master explores traditional trades, how artisans acquired and passed along their skills, and the importance of fine craftsman-ship. Watch the blacksmith, cordwainer, cooper, and textile makers use the tools of their trades to handcraft beautiful items from raw materials.
* Students compare and contrast how commodities were made and distributed to the community in the 1800’s versus the present day.
* Discuss how artisans learned their craft through apprenticeships or indentured servitude compared to how skills are acquired today.
* Watch four short video clips. Videos will be paused periodically to discuss techniques and items being produced.

Advance reservations are required. There is no minimum or maximum number of students.

Cost: $3.00 per student for groups of 10 or more.

1 complimentary adult ticket with every 10 student tickets purchased. Additional adult tickets are $5.50 each.

Availability: Monday-Sunday by reservation only.

Time: Tours take approximately thirty minutes and programs are typically forty-five minutes to an hour long, and offered.