Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Henz History Center
Heinz History Center

Heinz History Center
  Heinz History Center  
Education Programs

Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village is the oldest site of human habitation in North America. Located in Avella, Penn, this National Historic Landmark features a massive, 16,000-year-old rock overhang used by our earliest ancestors for food alongside a series of villages recreating rural life from the 1600s through the 1800s.

Hands-on educational programs at Meadowcroft allow your students to explore the history of life on the land in the upper Ohio Valley. Meadowcroft facilities are also available to Scouts or other youth groups for overnight camping experiences.

Reserve Your Education Program

Each Meadowcroft Education Program costs $5 per child. Any two programs may be combined at a cost of $8 per child. Please contact Fran Skariot at 724-587-3412 or frskariot@heinzhistorycenter.org for more information and to make reservations. You may also click here to fill out the Meadowcroft Education Program Request Form.

Meadowcroft requires that two adults (admitted free) accompany each group of twenty students. Additional adults are welcome, but will be charged the regular program fee. Chaperones must accompany students at all times.

Educator Open House

Sat., Oct. 5, 2013, 1 – 4 p.m.

Step back in time and experience the hands-on educational programs at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. For more information, including registration, please click here.

Rockshelter Tour

Imagine standing in the footsteps of the first Americans. Discover why prehistoric settlers camped at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and learn about how they lived huddled around campfires at this site more than 16,000 year ago. Explore the archaeological excavation and discover how the Rockshelter revolutionized our understanding of the peopling of North America. Tours of this National Historic Landmark last approximately one hour.

  • PA Standards 3.5, 4.8, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4
  • OH Standards for History, People in Societies, Geography, and Earth and Space Sciences
  • WV Standards SS.S.4, SS.S.5, SC.S.1

Woodland Encounters

Travel 400 years into the past to explore a recreated Eastern Woodland Indian Village. The reconstructed village features a palisade wall, several wigwams, refuse pits, drying racks, and a representative native garden plot. This educational program emphasizes the forest-centered lifestyle of American Indians in the upper Ohio Valley prior to the arrival of European settlers, focusing on native tools and technology, and how the Indians used their plant, animal, and mineral resources to provide for their daily needs. Students have an opportunity to try their hand at using an atlatl, a prehistoric spear thrower, and learn about the complex interrelationship that existed between the Indians and their natural environment. Please click here to download the Woodland Encounters program planner (PDF). The Woodland Encounters program lasts about two hours.

  • PA Standards 4.2, 4.4, 4.8, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4
  • OH Standards for History, People in Societies, Geography, and Science and Technology
  • WV Standards SS.S.4, SS.S.5, SC.S.1, SC.S.2

Village Life

Explore rural life in the upper Ohio Valley with a visit to Meadowcroft's recreated 19th century village. Students see and learn what it was like to live without electricity or indoor plumbing in a hand-built log house. Students will also visit a working blacksmith shop, experience a simulated lesson in a one-room school, see a spinning wheel demonstration, play old-fashioned games, and dip a wax candle to take home. The Village Life program lasts approximately two hours

  • PA Standards 8.1, 8.2, 8.3
  • OH Standards for History, People in Societies
  • WV Standards SS.S.5

Meadowcroft Education Program Guidelines

Dress Appropriately

Meadowcroft is primarily an outdoor museum. It is important that all field trip participants dress appropriately for the weather. Rainy days are common in the spring so ensure that students bring raincoats, ponchos, or umbrellas when rain is a possibility. Be aware that strongly scented perfumes and hair sprays sometimes attract insects. Insect repellent is permitted. We suggest that all visitors stay on the trails.

Do Not Touch

It is particularly important that students not touch any artifacts unless invited to do so by museum staff. This protects the artifacts and helps to ensure the safety of the students.


Accessibility varies depending on the educational program. The viewing platform at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter is located at the top of 65 steps. Rest areas are provided on the stairwell. The Woodland Encounters program takes place within a forest clearing located at the end of a 150' paved trail. Both the trail and the Indian village are accessible. The 19th century village is partially accessible with some of the buildings having a few steps. We ask that any student with special needs be accompanied by an adult who can help them to navigate the site if necessary. Visually impaired students are welcome and will have many hands-on opportunities as they listen to talks given by museum staff. Teachers are encouraged to call Meadowcroft at 724-587-3412 to discuss any accessibility-related concerns.

Arrival Procedure

Upon arriving at Meadowcroft, the bus should pull up in front of the Visitors Center. While students remain on the bus, the lead teacher enters the building to purchase tickets and receive instructions. The only restrooms at Meadowcroft are located at the Visitors Center. Students will be given the opportunity to use the restrooms prior to beginning their educational program.


Students will need to bring bagged lunches with them, as only light snacks and soft drinks are available at the museum gift shop. A picnic pavilion, outdoor picnic tables, and limited indoor seating are available on a first-come basis. During pleasant weather, school groups frequently picnic on the grass behind the Visitors Center.

Museum Shop

School groups are welcome to visit the museum gift shop provided they are accompanied by a teacher or chaperone. In addition to regular shopping, the gift shop also offers pre-packaged souvenir gift bags. Call Meadowcroft at 724-587-3412 to discuss the cost and contents of gift bags. The gift shop is located within the Visitors Center.

Printable View

Meadowcroft is currently
closed for the season & will reopen in spring 2015.
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
19th Century Village
Step back in time to experience rural life with Meadowcroft's recreated 19th century village.
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
New 16th Century Indian Village
Travel 400 years into the past to explore Meadowcroft’s recreated Eastern Woodland Indian Village.
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
© 2014 Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street | Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-454-6000 | Contact Us | Directions | Site Map
In association with the Smithsonian Institution  Heinz History Center
Site engineered by Chemistry