Hands on History Footlockers

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As a precautionary measure against the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus, we have suspended our footlocker program until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Current information for Distance Learning:

Even though our footlockers aren't circulating, we want to make the material as available to you and your students as possible.

Many of the lesson plans and student narratives in the User Guides can be adapted for distance learning. Explore the User Guides

Join MHS senior manuscript archivist and fur trade enthusiast Rich Aarstad on a six-minute tour of some of the objects in "From Caps for Traps: The Montana Fur Trade."

Information for next school year:

The Society's Footlocker program offers thematic "traveling trunks" focused on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the fur-trading and mining industries, to Indian life during the reservation period and today. Homesteading, immigration, and ranching are among other topics featured in these dynamic, hands-on trunks.


Each footlocker is filled with reproductions of clothing, tools, everyday objects, maps, photographs, and documents. User Guides - that include historical narratives, lesson plans, "amazing Montanan" biographies, bibliographies, and information on compliance with Montana Standards for Social Studies and the Essential Understandings regarding Montana Indians - accompany each footlocker.


Availability and Cost: Footlockers are available to Montana educators for two weeks at a time. No rental fee is charged for the use of footlockers. However, schools are responsible for the cost of shipping the footlocker to the next venue via United Parcel Service (UPS) or the United States Postal Service (USPS). Footlockers must also be insured for $500.00 each (shipping and insurance varies by weight and location). If a school fails to insure the footlocker and it is lost in transit, the school will be responsible for replacement costs. If a teacher fails to return the footlocker in a timely manner, the school will be responsible for its replacement cost as well. Out of consideration for your fellow teachers, please note that footlockers shipped on Friday do NOT always arrive the following Monday, so plan accordingly.

View a list of available Montana Historical Society-created footlockers and view their User Guides.

Mine these User Guides for lesson plans that you can incorporate into your classroom - even if you can't order the footlocker, or access them to prepare for the footlocker's arrival.

MHS is pleased to make available these resources provided by other institutions: History Mystery Kits

Reserve a Footlocker or a History Mystery Kit.  

Did you know? The Office of Public Instruction Indian Education Division has class sets of the books available for borrowing for use in your classroom for up to three months. These go with lesson plans on the OPI Indian Education Web site. Learn more here.