Champoeg Promise

This award winning (American Association for State and Local History, Award of Merit 2007) field trip program for grades 1-8 is aligned with the Oregon Department of Education Social Science content standards. It is an illuminating series of four distinct, age-appropriate curricula that engages thousands of students annually. Students are led by costumed educators through this hands-on, interactive, interdisciplinary program where they explore Champoeg’s multicultural history, government, and archaeological research on the site. Students are divided into three groups of approximately 25-30 students (by classroom) and rotate between three stations; the exhibit area, the auditorium and the historic 1862 barn. Small groups (one class; between 20 – 30 students), are combined with larger groups (2 classes of 50-60 students) to make three groups. For groups that exceed 90 students please contact us for feasibility and alternatives.  Teachers receive pre- and post-visit learning units. Programs are 2.5 hours in length, except the Grade 5/6 program, Promise of Change, which is 3 hours.

Many schools like to picnic in the park on the same day they attend the Promise program.  There are covered picnic areas in the park that can be reserved in advance.  Call (800) 452-5687, to reserve a covered picnic area. Otherwise, picnic areas are first come, first served.

Homeschool Group information:

Go to the Register Online tab and fill out and submit the Homeschool Registration form, or e-mail us, at, for more information.

Promise Program Cost:

  • $5.40/student in September, October, March and April
  • $7.00/student in May and June
  • Free for adults, home school day excepted
  • Home School Days cost is $7/person (students and chaperones)
  • $5 State Parks Day Use Fee required for personal cars; buses park free

The Promise of a Good Life – 1st & 2nd Grade

What was it like to live in mid-19th-century Champoeg? Your students will meet “Lottie” who shares the story of her family’s journey on the Oregon Trail. They will explore the tools, clothing and foods of Oregon settlers, perform typical chores and learn the important role that children served in a pioneer family.

The Promise of Settlement – 3rd & 4th Grade

At least three distinct cultures met on the prairie that is Champoeg. Your students will meet “Felicite,” a Metis woman of French and Native American descent. Through the eyes of a Cultural Anthropologist they’ll learn about what makes a culture of a people unique, explore and compare the cultures of Kalapuya Indians, French-Canadian fur trappers and American settlers. They’ll learn why wheat was an important early crop in the Pacific Northwest and take turns grinding wheat into flour in our authentic 1862 threshing barn.  They will also examine what culture means to their own lives, and examine the differences between children’s culture in 19th Century and today.

The Promise of Change – 5th & 6th Grade

What happened to the town of Champoeg? Your students will meet and interview “Mary,” who will share her first person experience as an 8-year-old survivor of the 1861 flood when the town of Champoeg was erased from the landscape. They’ll learn the difference between primary and secondary sources of information, about archaeology, 19th century architecture and oral history as a means of 21st-century detective work that uncovers facts about historical events.

The Promise of Government – 7th & 8th Grade

The 1843 vote at Champoeg created the first form of U.S. government in the Pacific Northwest and set the stage for our lives in Oregon today. Your students will learn more about this historic event by dividing into special interest groups that represent people living in Oregon at the time. They’ll study the political landscape, role play, write speeches and vote. They’ll also examine a current regional issue and learn how to come to a consensus as a member of a committee. They’ll meet “Felicite,” a Metis woman of French and Native American descent, who will help the students explore life of a 19th-century teenager, and their community. Felicite also will lead them in a corn shelling bee and barn dance.