School Groups

The Muskoka Lakes Museum is a great destination for school groups looking to add an educational, fun and historical experience that meets many expectations of the Ontario curriculum. 

Flashback Fun Days

*Please Note: School Tours are currently not available due to COVID-19.

The Museum’s special “Flashback Fun Days” are designed for local school groups from Grades 1–4, running Wednesday to Friday, in May, June, September and October. Programs run from 10 am–2 pm. Half or full-day visits are available.

In the morning, students explore early settlement in Upper Canada through three interactive programs: Trade & Barter, Pioneer Play and Pioneer Life. The second half of the day focuses on local history with three more hands-on workshops: Aye, Aye, Captain!, Phones and Postcards, and More Pioneer Play. 

Each program is 30 minutes long and includes hands-on activities and a game or craft. Please note that new offerings will be available in 2020.

  • Trade & Barter
    Relationships between European settlers and First Nations people were important in the War of 1812. Play a hands-on trading game with historical trade goods and use an old map to explore the relationships that connected Muskoka to this war with the United States.
  • Digging Detectives
    Become a detective to learn about the culture and history of the First Nations people in Muskoka. You’ll even learn how to dig for artifacts like a real archeologist!
  • Pioneer Play
    Live like the early pioneers of Muskoka. Play pioneering games, wear pioneer clothes, and explore inside a real log cabin!
  • Aye, Aye, Captain!
    Put on your captain’s hat and embark on a fun-filled adventure! Learn about Muskoka’s boating history and build your very own boat.
  • Phones and Postcards
    What was it like before the days of cell phones and Facebook? Find out how early cottagers and tourists kept in touch. Use old working phones, and make your own postcard to mail.
  • More Pioneer Play
    It wasn’t all work back then, and even the work could be fun!


$5 per child for half day (includes 3 programs); $10 per child for full day (includes 6 programs)

Curriculum-Specific Programs

Understanding Matter and Energy: Grade 4, Light and Sound

This program focuses on the Sound component of this unit. By using the museum’s old working phones and switchboards, students have a hands-on opportunity to understand the forms of sound, the terminology of sound, and the unique characteristics of sound. While they use the phones to investigate the basic properties of sound, students learn and use problem-solving skills. They leave the museum with a thorough understanding of the sound objectives and components of the Grade 4: Light and Sound Ontario Curriculum unit, as well as a strong vocabulary in relevant key terms.

Pre-visit and post-visit assignments are included, as well as hands-on museum activities. Email the museum for a complete lesson plan, including assignments.

Heritage and Citizenship: Grade 6, First Nations Peoples and European Explorers

Fulfilling many of the Ontario Curriculum requirements for the Grade 6: First Nations Peoples and European Explorers unit, this program helps students to gain an understanding of Canadian history through local history and artifacts. The Museum’s First Nations Gallery is devoted to artifacts and history related to the indigenous people of Muskoka, as well as the changes that took place when Europeans arrived. With a focus on the precolonial history of First Nations Peoples in Muskoka, the motivations of European Explorers, as well as the contact between the two groups, this program offers a great interactive learning experience for students.

Pre-visit and post-visit assignments are included, as well as hands-on museum activities. Email the museum for a complete lesson plan, including assignments.

History: Grade 10, Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (NAC20)

With a focus on the legal, political, social and economic issues that face indigenous people, the Museum’s First Nations Gallery provides an interactive opportunity for secondary students to deepen their understanding of Canadian history. Students analyze authentic historical artifacts from the Museum’s collection and gain a more nuanced perspective on past events. Participants also learn about relations between First Nations people and government, identify current indigenous groups and leaders, explain the significance of indigenous symbols, use relevant terminology, gain an understanding of primary and secondary sources, and analyze and evaluate information.

This program includes a pre-visit and post-visit assignment, as well as structured, educational museum activities. Email the museum for a complete lesson plan, including assignments.

We also welcome additional units, and will do our best to accommodate your requirements should you be interested.


There are 12 large, sturdy picnic tables on the island and washrooms on the island, as well as inside the museum. The large and small Port Carling locks are close by and operate throughout the day. There are a number of scavenger hunt activities designed to allow children to independently tour the museum. In the case of inclement weather, the museum can accommodate up to 30 people inside for lunch.

For more information contact the museum at 705-765-5367 or

Book Your School Visit


100 Joseph Street, Port Carling
In James Bartleman Island Park, between the locks


July & August:
Wed. to Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Spring & Fall:
Wed. to Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Open Victoria Day to Thanksgiving; Closed Mondays and Tuesdays; Closed most holidays



100 Joseph Street
Box 432 
Port Carling ONP0B 1J0