Education Outreach Program

Outreach Banner — Saco Museum

The Saco Museum’s core mission is to promote “life-long learning and appreciation of culture; preservation of the past; and resources for all.” This mission extends to all our local schools through the museum’s Education Outreach Program. Since 1866, the museum has amassed thousands of artifacts and archival materials with the intent of educating future generations about the area’s past. Our Education Outreach Program is committed to assisting local educators to enhance their curricula by tapping into our vast local resources.  Through “the power of objects and the power of place,” students will discover the threads of history by examining their own neighborhood, making the connections more immediate and meaningful. Our programs are designed to scale up or scale down, depending on grade level, and can also address specific topics covered in your classroom. The Education Outreach Program is funded by generous sponsors to the museum and is offered free of charge to our local schools—we invite you to take advantage of this resource.

Anatole Brown
Education and Program Manager

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Dyer Library and Saco Museum Spacer

The Wabanaki: People of the Dawnland

Wabanaki Artifacts — Saco Museum

An in-classroom visit with artifacts and discussion. This program is designed to support the Maine Native American studies initiative (LD291) for Maine schools. This program covers:

  • Identification of tribes within Maine, population changes over the centuries, the meaning of “Dawnland.”
  • Ancient tools and their uses
    • Discussion of food sources, advancements in hunting technology, use of natural resources, etc.
    • Students guess the use/function of each tool, then discussion.
    • Discussion on adapting to the new European economy, developing goods for sale.
  • Short story about Glooscap, culture hero of the Wabanaki. Glooscap is central to Wabanaki ideas about the human-to-land relationship.
  • Older students will examine primary documents related to the complexities of local land deed transactions between colonists and Native Americans during the 17th and 18th centuries.
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Dyer Library and Saco Museum Spacer

Pepperellborough During the Revolution

Revolutionary Loom — Saco Museum

Did you know that Saco was called “Pepperellborough” during the American Revolution? Did you know that Pepperellborough was a once a vibrant shipbuilding and maritime community with captains who sailed all around the globe? In this unit students discover what daily life was like for the people of Pepperellborough and surrounding areas. What did people wear? What did they eat? How did they travel? Did they use money? We also examine the Cutts family and the growth of early industries along the Saco River, as well as Saco’s most legendary resident Benjamin Simpson, who witnessed both the Boston Tea Party and the Revolutionary War firsthand!

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Dyer Library and Saco Museum Spacer

Saco-Biddeford Mills in the Industrial Era

Textile Mill — Saco MuseumStudents in the Saco-Biddeford area schools have a unique opportunity to learn about the Industrial Revolution through the history of their own neighborhood. In this program, students learn about the rise-and-fall of the textile factories along the Saco River. Several topics are covered in this presentation, including harnessing the power of the river, the rigors of early factory working conditions, problems with child labor, and the decline of the textile mills. Immigration is a strong focus in this unit as we cover the various immigration waves that came to work in the mills over the generations. Hands-on artifacts from the mills will also be available. At the end of the session, we discuss how the mill buildings are used today and what they may look like in the future. This is a two-part session: an in-class presentation, followed by a visit to the “Mill Girls’ Room” at the Saco Museum.

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Dyer Library and Saco Museum Spacer

World War II: Overseas and the Home Front

WWII Artifacts — Saco Museum

The Saco Museum has a sizeable collection of WWII artifacts and primary source documents. Students learn about the European and Pacific Theaters through the stories of our local wartime heroes, including Dr. Paul S. Hill Jr., a medic who helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, Raymond Lord, a pilot who flew with McArthur’s 5th Air Force, and Lt. Helen Lee Thurston, an intelligence officer with the WAVES. Students also learned how the citizens of Saco supported the war from the home front.

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Dyer Library and Saco Museum Spacer

Plus More…

We are continually adding new programs and finding new ways to inspire students to explore their surroundings. Many of these programs were developed through the requests of teachers. Some of these have included a special “environmental history” of Camp Ellis where we discussed the effects of coastal erosion, as well as a special history of French Canadians in Maine for French language class students. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to know what kind of resources are available and how we could enhance your classroom lessons.

Adult Education

We also continually offer Adult Education talks on various local history topics. We work with several local organizations to enhance their adult/senior program offerings including Saco Parks & Recreation, York County Senior College, The Wardwell, Atlantic Heights, and The Landing. Joint education program opportunities are also welcome. Some of our partnerships have included history walk events with Saco Main Street and Saco Valley Land Trust. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to arrange an adult education session.