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History Education

Stone in Blaker's Mill at WVU Jackson's Mill

At WVU Jackson’s Mill, our history educators and artisans provide a unique learning environment for everyone from experienced historians to curious youth by guiding participants through engaging demonstrations and hands-on activities. After a day in our historic area, you’ll not only gain knowledge about what life was like for western Virginians in the mid-1800s, but you can also take home a candle you’ve hand-dipped, paper you’ve marbled, or a colorful, hand-made rope bracelet.

Customized learning for K-12 students

Visits can be customized for grades K-12. Programs may include both a demonstration and hands-on participation.

Jackson’s Mill tells us a unique story about the earliest days of western Virginia, how we became the state of West Virginia, and how this location became the ideal spot for a State 4-H Camp and the wonderful rich story we’ve had over the past hundred years.”  Joe Obidzinski - WVU Jackson's Mill Program Coordinator - History and Heritage

Curriculum standards support class learning requirements

Classes and activities range from approximately 30 to 60 minutes depending on the chosen topic.

Activities include:

Gristmill (Grades K-12)
Participants will watch a demonstration and get hands-on experience running a water-powered gristmill with Blaker's Mill here at WVU Jackson's Mill. The importance of gristmilling to life in West Virginia and its significance in WVU Jackson's Mill history will also be highlighted.

Blacksmith (Grades K-12)

Participants will see a blacksmith shop in action while a historian demonstrates the various skills and tools used in the process and highlights its importance to West Virginia and WVU Jackson's Mill history.

Candle Dipping (Grades K-12)
Using an electric pot and melted wax, participants will use a length of string to make hand-dipped candles.

Rope Making (Grades K-12)
Students will use a hand crank, tabletop rope machine to make their own small piece of twisted cotton rope roughly the size of a bracelet.  

Food-ways/Butter Making (Grades K-12)
Preserved food samples are used to demonstrate the importance of various foods and food preservation types early settlers used. Participants will also use small glass jars to make their own butter.

Paper Marbling (Grades K-12)

Students will watch a demonstration of paper marbling and be able to attempt the rarely used art form themselves.

Toys And Games (Grades K-12)
Using replica toys and a variety of household items, participants will try their hand at old-fashioned games and learn how people entertained themselves. The similarities and differences between old and modern activities will also be highlighted.

View our History Education Program Content Standards. To make a reservation, contact WVU Jackson’s Mill Group Reservations at 304-269-5100.

Hear from our History Education Staff:

Youth Education

  • STEAM Programs
  • Outdoor Education
  • History Education


  • ATV Safety
  • Leave No Trace
  • Swimming
  • Disc-Golf
  • Rock Wall

Historic Area

  • Historic Buildings
  • Group Tours
  • Special Events
  • Educational Opportunities


  • Meeting Rooms
  • Dining
  • Other Facilities


  • Suites
  • Lodge Rooms
  • Private Rooms
  • Cottages

Weddings & Receptions

Wedding Reception Packages
  • Bronze Package
  • Silver Package
  • Gold Package