Sponsored by Service Credit Union, the American Independence Museum’s Traveling Trunk program is expected to educate more than 5,000 students across the nation in 2019.

Featuring more than 70 reproduction items with lesson plans for teachers, the free program provides opportunities for kids to actively engage with history through hands-on experiences.

According to Abby Pietrantonio, the unprecedented growth of the program–it has educated about 630 students in 2018–speaks to a real educational need.

“Students of all ages can benefit tremendously from experiencing hands-on history.” she said. “By exploring the past, it can help students can draw comparisons to their own lives.”

By the end of this year, it is anticipated that the program, which is provided at no cost to schools, will educate an additional 180 persons. In 2019, the Traveling Trunk is expected in California, Florida, Minnesota, Utah and other states. The program is not just geared for young people, though.

“I recently traveled to an assisted living facility, in Madbury, New Hampshire for a presentation,” she added.

Due to its popularity, museum Executive Director Emma Bray said that they may need to consider adding another trunk to its programming lineup.

“Our Traveling Trunk allows us to expand our programming outside our museum walls to provide a rich, interactive, hands-on history experience for schoolchildren,” she said. “An expansion of this program is definitely up for discussion.”

Bray credited the museum’s long standing partnership with Service Credit Union as instrumental.

“It is wonderful to know that we are providing a program of value and real need to teachers and that we are able to keep it free and accessible through Service Credit Union’s support,” she added.

In addition to educating students in the classroom, the Traveling Trunk program enables families of students to visit the museum free of charge. To learn more about the program, or the museum’s other educational offerings, visit www.independencemuseum.org.