Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War
Guided tour — Kansas Museum of History, Topeka
Grades — 5th-8th
This tour introduces students to the action in Kansas during the Territorial era (1854-1861) and the roles that Kansans played during the Civil War. A museum docent leads students through the Territorial Kansas and Civil War sections of the permanent gallery, providing stories and insight about the people who lived in Kansas during these turbulent years and the objects on display. Students then go to the museum classroom to inspect reproduction artifacts and determine which Kansas residents of the time period would have used them.
Teachers might also be interested in our educational resource trunk, Kansas Territory.
Kansas standards addressed, but not necessarily fulfilled:
7th History: Benchmark 2, Indicator 1: The student describes the concept of popular sovereignty under the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its impact on developing a state constitution.
7th History: Benchmark 2, Indicator 2: The student describes how the dispute over slavery shaped life in Kansas Territory (e.g., border ruffians, bushwhackers, jayhawkers, the Underground Railroad, free-staters, abolitionists).
7th History: Benchmark 2, Indicator 3: The student analyzes the importance of "Bleeding Kansas" to the rest of the United States in the years leading up to the Civil War (e.g., national media attention, caning of Senator Charles Sumner, Emigrant Aid Societies, Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony, poems of John Greenleaf Whittier, John Brown).
7th History: Benchmark 2, Indicator 4: The student describes the role of important individuals during the territorial period (e.g., Charles Robinson, James Lane, John Brown, Clarina Nichols, Samuel Jones, David Atchison, Andrew H. Reeder).
7th History: Benchmark 2, Indicator 5: The student analyzes the Wyandotte Constitution with respect to the civil rights of women and African Americans.
7th History: Benchmark 2, Indicator 6: The student describes important events in Kansas during the Civil War (e.g., Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, the Battle of Mine Creek, recruitment of volunteer regiments).
8th History: Benchmark 2, Indicator 3: The student retraces events that led to sectionalism and secession prior to the Civil War (e.g., Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1850, Kansas-Nebraska Act-Popular Sovereignty, Uncle Tom's Cabin).
Cost per student including museum admission: $3.00
One adult enters free for every 10 students. Additional adults pay the student rate.
Length of tour:
Approximately one hour, tours need to be staggered in half hour increments (e.g., beginning at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., etc.)
Number of students in a group:
For the best experience, we recommend approximately 20 students per tour.