Rent an in-classroom activity kit (Now also available in French!)
Toys & Games
Filled with 20+ toy and game replicas inspired by the 1850s. Each toy comes with a brief history and step-by-step instructions (aimed at Grade 3's comprehension) for use. Designed to be used as different stations in your classroom so each student has the opportunity to experience games and toys of centuries before. This lesson has a heavy focus on the Art and Physical Education curriculum!
One Room Schoolhouse
Etiquette, rules, and more. This lesson explores life for settler children in a one-room schoolhouse. Transform your classroom into a one-room schoolhouse with 30 slates and pencils. The objective of the lesson is for students to analyze the developments made in teaching and learning over the century.
All About Wool
This lesson approaches the topic of wool and fibres and how settlers created natural solutions to their problems. The curriculum focus is heavily based in Science and Social Science. Many of the activities teach students to understand the difference between synthetic and natural fibres. Learn how to make your own thread by using one of the seventeen (17) drop spindles and lucets to create fabric like the settlers once did.
Quill Pen Writing
Want to know more about how settlers would have written letters and sent them? After finding out how quills and ink are made, students will get the chance to practice writing letters, folding letters and analyzing primary source letters from the time period. The lesson is cross-curricular, but has an emphasis on the Social Science curriculum.
Looking for a lesson that focuses on science and math? This homesteading lesson comes with a complete lesson detailing how settlers made their farms, homes, and barns. Students are then asked to design a map of their own farm, and the lesson ends with creating a 3D settlement as a class. This material does not come with physical artifacts.
Laundry & Hygiene
Water, we all need it - but how did settlers use it? Students will learn about the importance of water to our everyday life - where we get water, and where the settlers would have gotten their water. In this lesson students will have the opportunity to do laundry in the same way that Settlers would have. Students will also learn more about germs and how washing our hands, doing laundry, and staying clean is so important. Emphasis of the lesson is how did settlers hygiene, bathroom, and laundry practices differ from our own.
Soil & Farming
In this lesson students will discover the importance of soil to farming, and the importance of worms to soil. Learn more about soil erosion, and the mistakes that farmers made that led to soil erosion. Additionally, they will learn more about how settlers farmed, versus how we farm now, and what settlers' farmed and why. Cross-curricular material, with an emphasis on the Grade 3 Science Curriculum. This material does not come with physical artifacts.
Step back in time with our engaging lesson on Cooking Techniques of Early Settlers! In this lesson, young historians will embark on a journey to discover the similarities and differences with regards to food and cooking methods of the early settlers. From open-fire cooking to simple utensils, our immersive lesson brings history to life, allowing students to explore the tastes and techniques that shaped the early settlers' culinary landscape.
Immerse your classroom down to the last thread. This box includes 13 boys vests and 16 girls skirts and aprons, all in various sizes. Supplement this box by suggesting to your class to wear dress pants and blouses!
Book Your NEW & IMPROVED Backus Box Here
$25 for a two-week rental per Backus Box.
Each box contains a set of historical artefacts (unless otherwise noted in the description), games or activities. The boxes all contain a binder with fully written lesson plans, interactive slide presentations, worksheets, maps, and more. All have been carefully curated to fulfill the Ontario Curriculum for Grade 3 classes with cross curricular connections. Where applicable there are rubrics/mark schemes to allow for easy marking. Each lesson will likely take at least a full class time, if not longer, to complete. All Backus Boxes are now also available in French. Please specify when booking that you want the French format lessons.
Read our Cancellation Policy
If you are unable to pick up or return your Backus Box on the scheduled date, or if you decide to cancel your reservation, please call the Carriage House Office immediately at 519-762-3072
Cancellations should be made at least two weeks before the scheduled pick-up date.
This is essential. We often have a waiting list of teachers anxious to use the boxes.
A cancellation fee ($25) will be charged for all cancellations not reported two weeks in advance.
Check out more Rental Information
Backus Boxes can be booked at any time throughout the year, however, to ensure your class priority we recommend that you book several weeks prior to the date of your intended use.
As we often have a waiting list for rentals, Box reservations will be accepted
until 4 p.m. of the week prior to your date of visit.
Rent Backus Box Request Form
Booking an education group
Plan Your Visit
Museum tours can be booked at any time, however, to ensure your class priority, we recommend that you book several weeks prior to the date of your intended visit.
Confirm Your Visit
Your visit is not confirmed until you have received a confirmation email. If you have not received an email within one week of booking, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-762-3072.
Pay for Your Visit
Please pay online down below or bring a cheque or major credit card for the full amount agreed upon on the day of your visit. Cheques should be made payable to Tyrconnell Heritage Society. Invoices can be provided.
Plan for Arrival
The Backus-Page House Museum is open from 10:00am - 4:00pm. Alternate times can be arranged based on your needs. Activity times are based upon your arrival and departure times.
Full Day(6 activities)
$11 per student
$220 minimum charge
Free for supervisors
Half Day(3 activities)
$5.50 per student
$110 minimum charge
Free for supervisors
Half Day(with 1 make and take)
$6.50 per student
$130 minimum charge
Free for supervisors
Book Your Visit Here
Bookings will be accepted until 4:00pm of the week prior to your date of visit.
Book by Phone519-762-3072
Mail in Booking Form
Download booking form (below) and email completed form to email@example.comDownload Booking Form View Code of Conduct
View Code of Conduct
The Provincial Code of Conduct applies to everyone visiting the Backus Page House Museum. Please ensure that your students and supervisors are aware.
Additionally the following is unacceptable:
- Conduct which is harmful to the exhibits and displays is prohibited
- Food or drink outside the designated eating areas
View Supervisor Requirements
A minimum number of supervisors of 1 : 6 is recommended.
Supervisors are required to:
- Remain with their students at all times
- Be responsible for discipline at all times
Groups will not be admitted to activity stations without supervisors. If a group becomes disorderly during an activity, the group's supervisor may be asked to remove the group.
West Elgin Genealogical and Historical Committee
On Monday, March 2nd 2020, the inaugural meeting of the West Elgin Genealogical and Historical Committee was held at the Backus Page House Museum Office. A major part of the activities for the committee is to continue the work of the West Elgin Genealogical and Historical Society, which has transferred its assets to the THS and has ceased operation as a standalone society.
West Elgin Genealogical and Historical Society
The West Elgin Genealogical and Historical Society was formed in the late 1970's by a group of interested people in Western Elgin County. Duncan C. McKillop was a major force in the development of the society. Donald Carroll, Alice and Don Patterson, Norma Schnekenburger, Jean Georgevich, and Keith Kelly were early members who were very active in the society. The aim of the Society was to exchange information between members on local genealogy and history, provide assistance to people researching family ties and history in Western Elgin, and to promote knowledge of the history of Western Elgin to the general public.
Meetings were originally held monthly, with the exception of the summer months, at the West Elgin Secondary School in West Lorne. In the 1990’s the Society moved to the John Kenneth Galbraith Library in Dutton, where it ran a resource room for assisting members of the public in genealogical and historical research. One of the early activities of society members was the transcription of grave stones in cemeteries in Aldborough and Dunwich townships. These transcriptions were printed and offered for sale to the public.
Over the last 40 years the WEGHS has accumulated a significant archive of information related to local history and genealogy. A book on the Postal History of West Elgin was prepared. A book on the Early History of Dunwich Township, 1790-1903, Volume One was published in 2004 and sold by the Society. A second volume with more information covering the same time period is in development. In 2019 it was decided to wind up the operations of the Society due to declining membership and to transfer assets and activities to the Tyrconnell Heritage Society. As a note of interest, the THS was originally formed by members of WEGHS.
Genealogical Research Assistance Request
Get assistance from our West Elgin Genealogical & Historical Committee volunteers and staff with family history questions at the Backus Page House Museum.