School Programs at the Museum

Schedule an ATHM educational program for your students, and help them discover the many aspects of the history, science, and art of textiles in America. Textiles have influenced our lives from the hand-mades of earliest times up through the mechanized Industrial Revolution, and into the extreme science of the cutting edge present. The American Textile History Museum’s educational programs help students connect to America’s diverse textile heritage with engaging experiences, objects, and displays that stimulate creativity, problem solving skills, curiosity, and excitement for this vibrant field.

ATHM offers a series of interactive school programs that help tell America’s textile story utilizing the Museum’s extensive collections and expertise. All programs address specific curriculum standards with age-appropriate activities, and are designed to complement and enhance classroom learning.

School Programs at the MusuemSchool Programs at the Musuem

Programs at the Museum:

  • Programs are available year-round during regular Museum hours (Note: see special scheduling for Colonial Days only]
  • We are able to adapt or combine programs to meet your curriculum needs upon request
  • We can typically accommodate your group if you are in need of a lunch space. Please request ahead of time.
  • Program Cost: $6 per student, 1 chaperone per group of 15 students admitted free
  • Phone 978-441-0400 ext. 250, or email reservations@athm.org for more information and/or to schedule programs

School Programs at the MusuemSchool Programs - Colonial Days

MILL WORKS Guided Tour and Activity

$8 per person, minimum group of 10
Go on a guided tour of MILL WORKS: Flowers in the Factory and Inventing Lowell. Then, create a piece of art inspired by the exhibitions using paper, gauze, and paint. Open to all ages. To schedule a tour, call 978.441.0400 x250 or e-mail khirbour@athm.org.


How to Wear a Sheep

PreK - Grade 2
Where does that coat you’re wearing come from anyways?  How does it go from fleece on a sheep to the fabric your coat is made of?  You will hear a delightful story about the stages of creating a wool garment, from sheep in the field to a finished sewn cloak.  Role play and try out steps to processing wool, as told in the story.  This program includes plenty of sensory experiences from smelling raw wool to touching samples of wool at various stages of processing.  Sewing will be introduced, using plastic needles and yarn.  You will leave with a new appreciation for your winter coat!
Cost: $6/person

“How to Wear a Sheep” can also come to your classroom!
2 hours (including an age appropriate scavenger hunt through the Museum).
Outreach cost: $125 for a class of up to 30 children. Additional classes: $100 each.


Unraveling the Mysteries of Silk

Grades K - 2
Silk, spiderwebs, and rayon are produced in a similar way. Learn about the science, technology, and culture of silk, and other extruded fibers. Students will identify the anatomy of a silkworm and spider, build a spider web, hear and reenact the legend of the discovery of silk in ancient China, as well as experiment with unraveling a silk cocoon.
2.5 hours (includes silk scavenger hunt through the Museum).
Cost: $6/student.

School Programs - Colonial DaysSchool Programs - Colonial Days

Travel the Silk Road

Elementary 3 - 5
Travel the Silk Road with us!  You will be introduced to the history of The Silk Road, using our life-sized game board to test your trading & bartering skills as you learn about the purpose and challenges of this historic route. Using a world map, students will visit bazaars and historic cities to identify items that were traded along the Silk Road.
2.5 hours (does not include a guided tour, although classes are encouraged to explore the exhibits on their own with a silk scavenger hunt provided by ATHM).
Cost: $6/student.

Colonial Days (Offered in the Spring Only)

Grades 3 and Up
Experience life in a 1770's village as you try weaving, flax processing, toy-making, and dressing in period clothing. Learn how colonists turned raw wool into clothing, and learn about the social and political climate of the time.
2.5 hours (does not include a guided tour, although classes are encouraged to stay and explore the Colonial exhibits in the Museum on their own).
Cost: $6/student.


Fleece to Fabric

Grades 3 and Up
Learn about the life of an 18th century family living in New England. Process wool from the family sheep and create a poster to document the steps.  Card, spin, and weave wool fiber into cloth.  Learn about the science of dyeing yarn using various plants, flowers, nuts, and berries commonly found in nature.  Complete your visit with a guided tour of the Museum’s Colonial Store, and discover how early settlers traded for needed goods or services.

Museum Tours

All age levels  |  Cost: $6/student
Take a guided tour of our main exhibit, “Textile Revolution” with a focus on your choice of the following:

Textiles in America

Through this tour, we will experience how textiles have evolved in America from the Native American’s use of woven cloth during the Colonial era through twenty first century high tech fabrics.


Fashion, Art and Design in America

We will learn about and view samples of the styles and trends in textiles through the ages.


Industrialization and Inventing in America

A great choice for any group particularly interested in various aspects of American History, with special attention given to the industrialization of America, what led up to it, and how inventors continue to shape the industry of textiles.


Note: All programs can be adapted to the specific needs of homeschool groups. Teachers and homeschool parents with identification always receive complimentary admission to the museum.

To learn more, or make a reservation call 978-441-0400 ext. 250, or email reservations@athm.org.

Special Note on Tours: Museum tours can be adapted to any age level or area of related study.  Classes studying American History, the Colonial Era, Fashion, Industrial Revolution, Immigrant History or a number of other topics may take advantage of all that our exhibits offer in bringing their studies to life.  When making your reservation, please speak to us about your groups’ specific needs.