Traveling Trunks

Make your classroom come to life with primary source documents and reproductions of items from the Historical Association’s archives. There are four thematic trunks.

Ohlone Trunk

Grind acorns with a mortar and pestle, feel animal skins and play a game of chance. The trunk includes maps, photographs, music, a video, and resource books.


Sponsored by Bank of America.

First Contact - New in 2019!

Created for the 250th Anniversary of Gaspar de Portolá's Expedition
Write with a quill pen, feel animals skins and use a sundial and spyglass!  Learn about the lives of Spanish explorers in Alta California during the 18th century and the impact of this exploration on the Ohlone population.

Sponsored by Millbrae Square and the Redwood City Civic Cultural Commission.

Left: Portolá Expedition by Fred Sinclair, Jr.

Immigrants Trunk

This traveling trunks explores the different immigrant groups who came to San Mateo County through photographs, maps, resource books and immigrant stories.


Sponsored by National Charity League, Inc., Crystal Springs Chapter and the Ulrich Family.

Gold! 1848-1849 Backpack

Strike it rich! Explore the gold fields through the journal of W.D.M. Howard, a San Mateo County resident. The “Miner’s Backpack” also includes gold pans, newspapers, letters, and photographs.

Left: W.D.M. Howard.

Turn of the Century, c. 1900 Trunk

Use an iron, wear a paper collar, and make your own stereoviews for the stereoscope. The suitcase features photographs, newspapers, and journal reproductions.

Left: Girls' Baseball Team, Redwood City, c. 1890.  Photo James Van Court.

  • Available from the History Museum.
  • Curriculum guides geared for third and fourth grades.
  • Trunk $45 for a calendar month, Backpack $20 for a calendar month.
  • Contact us for information about scholarships for low-income schools.