Elementary Programs

Below you will find a description of our program offerings for elementary schools. There are 3 programs: At Work, At Home, The World in a City and Hamilton: The Workers’ City.


Local History, Social Studies, Community, Domestic Life, Visual Art

Home and work are often woven together by our relationships, activities and celebrations.

Generally, we think of home and work as two distinct places– one of toil and structure and one of family, recreation and rest. This program explores the relationship of home and work for working people. Students will learn about the history of worker’s housing and neighbourhoods in Hamilton’s north and east ends. They will discover how working families in Hamilton turned home into a site of work to help supplement family incomes and save money through vegetable gardening, producing handmade goods and renting rooms. Students will also explore how workers have made themselves at home at work through “work families,” sports teams, special events and group celebrations.  **Pairs well with the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology programs Simple Machines in Motion (Grade 2) and The Water Cycle (Grade 2).**

Art Activity: “Assembly Line Drawing”
Grade Level: Primary
Curriculum Connections:

  • Social Studies – People and Environments: The Local Community (Grade 1)
  • Global Communities (Grade 2)
  • Living and Working in Ontario (Grade 3)
  • Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada 1750-1850 (Grade 3)


Immigration, Multiculturalism, Identity, Labour History, Local History, Visual Art

Immigrants have shaped Hamilton’s neighbourhoods through their customs, culture, and work.

Students will learn the important role of immigration in shaping the history of workers in Hamilton and Ontario. Beginning with a background on WAHC’s historic home, the Custom House, students will learn about waves of immigration to Hamilton and the role of immigrants in shaping the neighbourhoods we live in. After hearing the true story of a knitting machine brought to Hamilton from Italy and trying their hand at knitting fabric, students will learn about the types of factory work that allowed immigrants to make a living in the 19th and 20th century, and will discuss the role of immigration and diversity in our contemporary exhibition.  **Pairs well with the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology program Discovering Diversity (Grade 8).**

Art Activity: “New Flags” or “Textile Explorations”
Grade Level: Grade 6 & 8
Curriculum Connections:

  • Social Studies– Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present; People and Environments: Canada’s Interactions with the Global Community


Local History, Labour History, Industry, Contemporary Issues, Visual Art

From the Ambitious City to the Electric City to the Creative City, Hamilton’s changing labour and industrial landscape have defined generations of workers.

Ever wondered why Hamilton is called “The Ambitious City?” Work has always played an important role to Hamiltonians, and this program will explore Hamilton as an industrial and post-industrial “worker’s city.” After an introduction to WAHC’s historic home, the Custom House, students will learn the trajectory of working class culture in Hamilton, from the rise of the earliest industries in Hamilton’s north end, immigration, the first unions, the Strike of ’46 and its hometown hero, Sam Lawrence to post-war prosperity. Students will explore the history of factory work, changes in the local job market at the end of the 20th century and the types of work at the forefront of the local landscape of work in Hamilton today, from small business, arts and culture, education and medicine to steel.  **Pairs well with the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology program Discovering Diversity (Grade 8).**

Art Activity: “Community Mapping”
Grade Level: Grades 8 & 10
Curriculum Connections:

  • History– Creating Canada, 1850-1890; Canada, 1890-1914: A Changing Society (Grade 8)
  • Geography– Global Settlement: Patterns and Sustainability; Global Inequalities: Economic Development and Quality of Live (Grade 8)
  • Canada and World Studies – Canadian History since World War I (Grade 10)