News release from the History Center:
3,000 School Groups Reached through Heritage Education Fund
(July 2, 2018) – Through the History Center’s Heritage Education Fund, over 3,000 school groups have visited the History Center free of charge. Established in 2003, the Heritage Education Fund was created to provide financial support for local schools in Allen County who wish to visit the museum as an educational field trip. In 2006, the Heritage Education Fund expanded to include DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, and Steuben Counties. The museum reached the 3,000th school group milestone during the most recent school year, in May 2018.
The Heritage Education Fund provides free admission to the History Center for all Kindergarten through 12th grade school groups from Allen, DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, and Steuben Counties. In addition, admission for school groups outside of those counties are eligible to receive other discounts. All groups that visit the History Center are provided with a tour of the museum, an orientation presentation, and free educational materials.
Each school year, thousands of students in Northeast Indiana are able to experience the History Center free of charge because of the Heritage Education Fund. Throughout the 2017-2018 school year, 214 school groups visited the History Center. This is one of the highest annual school group attendance totals on record and marks the ninth consecutive year with over 200 school groups. Since its inception, over 98,000 public, private, parochial and home-schooled students have toured the museum.
Since many classrooms throughout the state are focusing less on history and social studies in order to focus on subjects that form the bulk of standardized testing material, the Heritage Education Fund provides students with a meaningful educational experience. According to an analysis conducted over the past several years, elementary students who visit the museum through their school’s programming see a 14.5% increase on social studies ISTEP+ scores, compared to other schools in their respective districts who did not participate.