School Programs

The Aurora Historical Society has a number of exciting educational programs available both in and outside the classroom. All of our programs can be conducted both at Hillary House, or in your very own classroom – it’s up to you! Programs conducted at Hillary House also include a historic tour. Prices start at $5.00 per child, Teachers/Parents/Group Leaders are free. Please see the list of our programs below.

AHS Educational Programs

Grade One: The Local Community

This program introduces students to the concept of a local community by looking more closely at the history of the Town of Aurora as their own community. They will do this by looking at old photos and maps of Aurora and comparing them to recent ones; discussing some of the important people who help make up the community; identifying artifacts related an important community helper and designing maps of their own imaginary communities based around important aspects of community needs. Children will learn about one particular community helper connected to the Hillary House National Historic Site – the doctor! They will investigate how his office space, equipment and work experiences were over hundred years ago compared with today.

Grade Eight: Victorian Life

This program aims to supplement learning students often do in class about the larger concepts and overarching history of Canada in these periods. With the help of our educators, students look at the personal and individual connections to people at this time. They get to study, analyse and investigate some aspects of day-to-day life in the Victorian era by looking at local Aurora-area artifacts, many of which belonged to the Hillary family. Using these primary sources as their base, students learn how to look at an artifact for clues – even when they know very little about the object or document – and make educated guesses and hypotheses about their place in history. They will also be able to make comparative analyses between what they see in the artifacts and from their own lives.

Grade Ten: The World Wars

This program focuses on World War I and World War II at an individual and personal level. Students specifically interact with artifacts connected to the Hillary family and their three family members who served: Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Michael Hillary (served in World War I), Robert Stuart Hillary (died from wounds suffered at Vimy Ridge in World War I) and Captain Norman Hillary (served in World War II). Students will investigate the impact of having family members serving in the World Wars and analyse the affect this may have had on families, like the Hillarys.

Grade Twelve: Changes in Health Care

This program focuses on the impact of technological advancements through the changes over time in healthcare practices and medical equipment in Canada. Studying items used by Victorian/Edwardian era doctors, Dr. Robert William Hillary and Dr. Robert Michael Hillary, students get to use their inquiry and comparative analysis skills to investigate how and why medical instruments have changed over the last one hundred years, and how they may be improved further still. The topic of health care policies and specifically the creation of Canada’s universal health care program is also touched upon and discussed.

Grades Five through Twelve: Working With Primary Sources

In this program, students will use objects from the Hillary House National Historic Site collection, ranging over a variety of time periods, to look beyond the surface-level of artifacts. They will learn how a primary source can assist them in making educated guesses, inferences, predictions, draw conclusions, and find possible evidence for their ideas. Whether this workshop is an introduction or a refresher, students start out by differentiating between primary and secondary sources and their possible usages in research projects. As a group, we will look at an artifact and work out how to study it for clues. Students will then break down into smaller groups where they will be given their own artifact to study. Using their inquiry skills, they will attempt to answer questions such as: what is the object? What was it used for? Who did it belong to? What may have been its significance in its time period? Why is it significant enough for us to keep in a museum today? As well as formulating their own questions and hypotheses for further investigation.

Can’t find the program you’re looking for?
Contact Leigha at or 905 727 8991 and she will work with you to create a customized program that is just right.