Traveling Exploration Trunks

Museum Hours
It’s Sunday 6:37 pm — Sorry, we’re closed
Monday – Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The History Museum on the Square provides field trips, traveling exploration trunks, and special programs to students of all ages.

Traveling Exploration Trunks provide local students and community groups the opportunity to experience Springfield and Greene County history through hands-on reproduction items, primary source material, and other learning aids. Trunks cover a wide variety of topics and align with Missouri learning standards. In each trunk, Springfield and Greene County history is exhibited along with general social or cultural history of the time to provide more context. Trunk contents may include clothing, household items, tools, animal pelts, toys, etc.The Traveling Exploration Trunk program is sponsored by Great Southern Bank, making the 7 Trunks free to use from July 1st, 2024 - June 30th, 2025 by Great Southern Bank.

How to Reserve a Trunk

Teachers reserving an exploration trunk will set up a time for pick up from the History Museum on the Square and drop it off when the rental is complete. A standard Exploration Trunk rental lasts 3-5 days.

To request an Exploration Trunk, fill out the reservation form. We will contact you within three business days to follow up on or confirm your reservation. To learn more about our exploration trunks, call 417-831-1976 or send an email to

Penalties Apply:

  • If you miss your scheduled pick-up time without notifying the museum (48 hour notice preferred), you forfeit your reservation.
  • After 2 no-call, no-shows, you will be unable to reserve a trunk for 6 months.
  • If you miss your scheduled drop-off time, you will be charged $20/day late fee.
  • Please arrive and be prepared to show a form of ID to pick up the trunk.
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Exploration Trunks

Trunk Rental Period

Late Return Fee

3-5 Days


Trunk Themes

Early Native Americans

Featuring projectile points, animal pelts, buffalo horns, and trade blankets, this assortment of hands-on items encourages participants to explore the culture and learn how Missouri's native inhabitants lived. This collection has various artifacts and documents connected to the early Native Americans who lived and migrated throughout Missouri.

Grade Levels: 1st Grade and up

Osage Culture

The longest inhabitant tribe in recorded Missouri history is the theme of this collection of Osage artifacts and documents. Featuring linguistic activities, song and dance material, clothing, and rawhide drums, the variety of items allows participants to look into the lives of the Osage people.

Grade Levels: 1st Grade and up

The Lewis & Clark Expedition

This collection contains various artifact reproductions and documents about the famous Corps of Discovery's journey to the Pacific Coast, including pipe hawks, the Jefferson Peace Medal, and more. Featuring Native American trade goods, tools, and utensils used by the Exhibition to help participants gain a broader understanding of the challenging 1803 expedition of Lewis & Clark.

Grade Levels: 3rd Grade and up

The Pioneer Experience

Featuring period clothing, cooking utensils, household items, and toys that were common among early pioneers, this collection tells the story of the first settlers in this Missouri region. Looking into life during the early 1800s provides a better understanding of the pioneer experience.

Grade Levels: 2nd Grade and up

Civil War in Springfield

This collection offers a wide variety of artifacts and documents explaining Missouri's involvement in the Civil War. Featuring Union uniforms, soldier's accoutrements, and personal memoirs, this content sheds light on the role Missouri played throughout the Civil War.

Grade Levels: 4th Grade and up

African American Heritage

With the help of local African American leaders who serve on the museum’s African American Heritage Advisory Board, this trunk appropriately and thoughtfully addresses the African American heritage of southwest Missouri. It shares the history of African Americans dating back to pioneer times, important events, and people who made their mark in Springfield. This trunk was made possible by grant funding from the Missouri Humanities Council’s African American Heritage Grant Program.

Grade Levels: 4th Grade and up

World War II

Featuring U.S. Army and German mess kits, military uniforms, U.S. Military patches, recruitment posters, and more, this collection helps the audience better understand what life was like, both at home and abroad, during World War II.

Grade Levels: 4th Grade and up

The Traveling Exploration Trunk program is supported by the Missouri Humanities.