The York County History Center provides a wide variety of programs designed to enrich all ages and learning styles. All of our educational tours of York, PA attractions and hands-on educational programs are designed to be compatible with current Pennsylvania State Academic History Standards for school students. We also encourage adult groups, senior centers and others to visit one or more of our sites. Trained docents and education staff lead groups through any number of the History Center’s sites.
Field Trips & Thematic Tours for Adults and Students
Due to COVID-19 restrictions for capacity and social distancing, tours are limited to groups of 25 or less on site at any one time and may not include some of the hands on activities. We try to accommodate larger groups by staggering their arrival/departure or scheduling multiple days. Click on this link if you are looking for a virtual tour option, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest information and availability to bring your group on-site.
Agricultural & Industrial Museum
Tour length: 60 minutes
Tour and Interactive Exploration: 75-90 minutes
Learn about York County’s many contributions to agricultural and industrial progress on a visit to the Agricultural & Industrial Museum. Agricultural artifacts produced or used in the county over three centuries include locally made wagons, a tractor, steam engines and farm tools. Try your hand at the interactive exhibit, Marvelous Milk: From the Farm to Your Table, where students learn about the dairy industry in York County and get the opportunity to milk our (reproduction) cow, Annabelle. Working industrial exhibits include a 72-ton A-Frame ammonia compressor once used to manufacture large blocks of ice and a three-story gristmill. Exhibits on pottery, casket manufacturing, dental supplies, piano and organ manufacturing, as well as York’s industrial contribution to World War II are also featured. Air, Land, & Water: Transporting People & Products, housed in The History Center’s 12,000 square-foot transportation wing, includes York manufactured automobiles, a Conestoga wagon, a York trolley car and a 1937 Aeronca K airplane.
Tour length: 60-75 minutes
Tour and Interactive Colonial Activities: 90 minutes
The Colonial Complex is one of the most interesting York, PA attractions. The Golden Plough Tavern, a Germanic half-timbered building built in 1741, is the oldest structure in the City of York and served York residents and travelers into the mid 1800s. The General Gates House (c. 1751) was the temporary residence of General Horatio Gates, newly appointed president of the Board of War. The Barnett Bobb Log House dates to 1812 and is currently used during programs for artisan demonstrations and hands-on activities. All three buildings contain period furnishings, textiles, tools and utensils. The Complex also includes the reproduction of the 1754 Colonial Court House, created to represent the headquarters of the Continental Congress, which met in York from September 1777 to June 1778 and adopted the Articles of Confederation.
Historical Society Museum
Tour length: 45-60 minutes
This museum emphasizes the breadth of York County history from its earliest settlement through the turn of the century. The first floor of the museum includes a Street of Shops with a one room log cabin, print shop, an apothecary, and a millinery. York County tall case clocks, decorative arts and furniture, original drawings by local artist Lewis Miller, and the community exhibit A Place to Call Home is featured on the second floor. Students can also explore a comprehensive exhibit that covers York County history from its beginnings to the mid-nineteenth century and includes the Susquehannock Indians, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. Temporary exhibits highlight specific York contributions and events.
York County Fire Museum
Tour length: 45 minutes
Located in the 1903 Royal Fire House, the museum allows visitors to see how York firefighters worked, lived and played. It holds more than 225 years of firefighting equipment, representative of the 72 fire companies of York County. Objects on display include 6 fire trucks ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s, 19th century hand-pumped equipment, the original stalls for the fire horses, alarm boxes, parade uniforms and photographs. Students can work on their firefighting skills by forming a bucket brigade and trying out a hand pumper (weather permitting).