Discovery Trunks

Discovery Trunks - Alice PaulSelect items from the Alice Paul Discovery Trunk
Discovery Trunks are available to middle school and high school teachers who are looking for innovative ways to bring their curriculum - and the stories of those who have struggled to help define freedom - to life. Discovery Trunks feature artifact reproductions and multimedia that illuminate the lives of historical figures listed below. Each kit relates either to a lesson plan or an exhibit on the Freedom Express, and allows students to engage in hands-on, object-based learning. The trunks will be available at no charge to Illinois teachers and can be ordered online from our Web site.

Discovery Trunks & Individual Kits

Individual Kit Descriptions

Requesting a Discovery Trunk

Delivery & Return Shipment Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Discovery Trunks & Individual Kits

Discovery Trunks are comprised of kits which you select from a menu of options. The materials included in each of the kits bring the story of someone who has struggled for freedom to life. Each kit provides insight to the experiences of a particular individual, as well as the movement and era with which that individual is associated. Each kit includes an Educator Guide, a biographical sketch, descriptions of all contents, a student warm-up activity and a student Artifact Exploration Worksheet. To create your Discovery Trunk, you may select one kit and request up to 3 sets of duplicate items OR you may select different kits (limit is five and each kit will have only one set of items).

Individual Kit Descriptions

Barbara Johns
A 17-year-old student whose actions led to the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) Supreme Court ruling that ended legal segregation.
Matthew Lyon
Elected to Congress as a representative from Vermont in 1797, Lyon was jailed under the Sedition Act of 1798 for his criticisms of President Adams in print and in speeches.

Abraham Lincoln
Elected President in 1860, Lincoln presided over secession and civil war, authored the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, and was assassinated in 1865.
He created a system of writing for the Cherokee language, which became the official one for the Cherokee Nation in 1825.
Mary Tsukamoto
Japanese-American sent to an internment camp in Jerome, AR after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Alice Paul
Paul was a leader of the militant wing of the women's suffrage movement, with over 500 supporters arrested for speaking, publishing, assembling and petitioning in pursuit of votes for women.
Frederick Douglass
One of the most famous Black Americans of his time, Douglass was, an abolitionist, women's rights advocate, publisher, author, public speaker and political advisor who worked for equal rights until his death in 1895.
Eugene Debs
Five-time Socialist candidate for president at the turn of the 20th Century, Debs was arrested on numerous occasions for speeches deemed disloyal to the government.
Sojourner Truth
Freed from slavery when it was abolished in New York in 1827, Truth traveled around the nation giving speeches about abolition and women's rights.

Requesting a Discovery Trunk

To request a Discovery Trunk, educators need to complete the online request form. We encourage educators to reserve their Discovery Trunks at least three weeks in advance. Requests will be on a first come, first served basis depending on availability; if part of your request is not able to be fulfilled, we will follow up to discuss possible substitutions or alternative scheduling. Please allow five business days to process your request. You will receive confirmation materials via email; your reservation will not be final until you receive confirmation from the McCormick Foundation.

back to top

Delivery and Return Shipment Information

Discovery Trunks are available to be shipped at no charge to any school in Illinois. The entire duration of a Discovery Trunk loan is three weeks, which includes time for shipping. The loan periods available for 2013-2014 school year are as follows:
Discovery Trunk ships to your school on:
Discovery Trunk arrives at your school no later than:
Discovery Trunk must be ready for pick-up on the morning of:
Discovery Trunk returns to the Foundation on:
Wednesday, Sept. 4

Wednesday, Sept. 25

Wednesday, Oct. 16

Wednesday, Nov. 6

Wednesday, Nov. 27
Friday, Sept. 6

Friday, Sept. 27

Friday, Oct. 18

Friday, Nov. 8

Friday, Nov 29
Friday, Sept. 20

Friday, Oct. 11

Friday, Nov. 1

Wednesday, Nov. 20*

Friday, Dec. 13
Tuesday, Sept. 24

Tuesday, Oct. 15

Tuesday, Nov. 5

Tuesday, Nov. 26

Tuesday, Dec. 17
Thursday, Jan. 2*

Wednesday, Jan. 23

Wednesday, Feb. 13

Wednesday, Mar. 6

Wednesday, Mar. 27

Wednesday, Apr. 17

Wednesday, May 8

Wednesday, May 29
Friday, Jan. 3

Friday, Jan. 24

Friday, Feb. 14

Friday, Mar. 7

Friday, Mar. 28

Friday, Apr. 18

Friday, May 9

Friday, May 30
Friday, Jan. 17

Friday, Feb. 7

Friday, Feb. 28

Friday, Mar. 21

Friday, Apr. 11

Friday, May 2

Friday, May 23

Friday, June 13
Tuesday, Jan. 21

Tuesday, Feb. 11

Tuesday, Mar. 4

Tuesday, Mar. 25

Tuesday, Apr. 15

Tuesday, May 6

Tuesday, May 27

Tuesday, June 17
*(abbreviated loan period due to holiday)

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will I have the trunk once I receive it at my school?
The duration of a trunk loan is three weeks, which includes time for shipping. Depending on shipping time (1-2 days) you will have the trunk for 8-10 class days before it must be shipped back to the McCormick Foundation.

Will I have an opportunity to provide feedback on the Discovery Trunks program?
Yes. After returning your Discovery Trunk, you will receive a link to an online evaluation. The feedback helps us understand how educators are using the resource and helps us develop and improve the Discovery Trunks program.

What sort of liability do I assume for a Discovery Trunk?
Educators assume responsibility for the careful use of the Discovery Trunks. The educator is not liable for general wear and tear on the items that come from normal use. The educator is responsible for paying the replacement cost of all irreparably damaged or lost components/kits. In the online request form, educators will sign off on a loan agreement assuming financial responsibility for late, lost or damaged items. You should inventory your trunk and each of the kits when you receive it and once again before it is returned. The educator is responsible for contacting the McCormick Foundation regarding any damages.

back to top

YouTube Icon MediumWatch Us On YouTube Your donations helped raise over $1 million to help central Illinois communities recover from tornadoes. >>

The Latest From Twitter

Robert R. McCormick Foundation
205 N. Michigan Ave.
Suite 4300
Chicago, IL 60601

Full Website
Communities Program

McCormick Foundation
205 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 4300
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312 445 5000
Fax: 312 445 5001