Field Trip – Northwestern Territory Historic Center

We took our first field trip with our new homeschool group today. There were three groups that went and we were in the last of the three. We visited the Northwestern Territory Historic Center (NTHC) in Dixon, IL which isn’t TOO far from our new house. Although I wasn’t sure what the field trip would present, it wasn’t out of our price range (donation only) so I figured we couldn’t lose by going. I’m so glad we went!

Some of you may be more knowledgeable than me, but I didn’t find out until we moved here that Dixon, IL was President Reagan’s boyhood home town. This is something I think is really cool! With that…this is what is at the top of the stairs when you enter the NTHC…


Keep in mind that my son (to the right) is 6’4″…that gives you an idea of the size of this thing!


The building is actually an old three-story high school! The main floor has the office and gift shop. The second floor is the “meat” of the center…it is where you find the story and the manikins and the wall plaques full of all kinds of information to read.


This is where the next part of our journey began … it was a guided tour by a wonderfully knowledgeable older gentleman who apparently has donated quite a few items. (Was neat to hear him share his stories!)

They have a lot of these displays through out – to help show the change in clothing of the Indians as they traded. They had a neat thing where they put four items that were not available back in these times throughout the displays in an effort to keep the kids engaged – their job is to find those four items. It worked like a charm with our group!



It was neat to actually SEE some of the different items used long ago and hear what they were used for … man things were different back then! We are so spoiled these days!


The kids got to make a real rope using a rope making machine – I think we all really enjoyed that part!


They also had several dioramas which were really neat to look at. The one below was my favorite because they had a map with it – which is EXACTLY what P (our 2nd grader) is working on in his BJU Press Heritage Studies class!



And last but not least, I got to learn about the boogeyman. LOL (Which is kind of appropriate considering Halloween is tomorrow – which we don’t celebrate – but you get my point.)


The top floor is the original high school gymnasium … interesting that it was on the TOP level (where all the sound would go DOWN to the classrooms below).

The main purpose of this center is to share the story of how the local area had changed and grown over the years. Additionally, there were several rooms dedicated to information about Ronald Reagan. Overall our time there was just under two hours. We really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend this location to others in the area!

Enjoy the journey!



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