Are you looking for an interactive learning experience for your students to enhance your classroom curriculum? Then look no further than the MUSE 2U loan kit program.

Think of a loan kit as a museum in a box. Each thematic kit contains relevant artifacts and reproductions, as well as suggested activities for use in your classroom. Themes include: native lifeways, early settler life, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II. Multiple copies of most loan kits are available, and most activities can be adjusted for various ages and skill levels.

3 Ways to Use a Loan Kit:

  1. You can borrow a kit for up to (2) weeks to use on your own in your classroom (teacher must pick up kit at the Museum and return it to the Museum when finished).

  2. A Museum educator can deliver the kit to your classroom and introduce your students to the contents of the kit through an in-class program, after which you may keep the kit for use in your classroom for up to (2) weeks.

  3. A Museum educator can bring the kit to your classroom for a one-time exploration of the theme and contents of the kit.

Please make reservations at least (2) weeks in advance. 

This program is made possible through the Estate of Laura Sullivan.

To Reserve a Kit:

Call the Museum Education Department at (309) 827-0428 or use the button below. You can also reach us via email. Reservations are required at least (2) weeks in advance. Educators must pick up and return Loan Kits to the Museum if borrowing without scheduling a facilitated program.

Architecture of Downtown Bloomington

Using Downtown Bloomington as a case study, students will become familiar with various facets of urban architecture, including: how cities are built, who the architects were who designed the many buildings in Downtown Bloomington, and how to identify a range of architectural design elements.

Finding McLean County: Early Settler Life

Students will discover what life was like when the first white settlers came to McLean County almost 200 years ago by engaging with period artifacts that were used in the everyday lives of these settlers. Artifacts include clothing, kitchen tools, toys, and more. By investigating what life was like in Illinois in the the mid-1800s, students will have a better understanding of the economic, social, and technological changes that have occurred over time.


 Activities and use of objects can be adapted for any age.

Example Program:

Moving to a new home can be tough, even today. Students will learn about what it took to traverse unfamiliar territory in a covered wagon loaded down with supplies by "loading" their own imaginary wagon. Students will engage in an exercise of historical empathy by considering how their own needs and wants compare to those of early settlers. 

Journey Through the Great Depression

The Great Depression was the longest, and most far-reaching, period of economic turmoil of the 20th Century. Through the objects and activities included in this kit, students will investigate how the Great Depression not only affected the nation, but more specifically the residents of McLean County. Topics include New Deal programs, rural life, entertainment, and more.

Example Program:
Students will learn about buying and bartering by "Shopping during the Great Depression" to see how far they can stretch their limited dollars.


  • Grades: Activities and use of objects can be adapted for any age.

  • Learning Goals: This program satisfies various Illinois Social Science standards by encouraging students to consider and determine answers to essential questions, to verbally communicate their inquiries and conclusions, and to address the ideas of change, continuity, and context.

McLean County During World War II

Through a variety of activities, students will learn about the diverse experiences of McLean County citizens during World War II. Such experiences include those of soldiers, women, African Americans, and children. Students can experience the struggles of rationing by planning meals and cooking a ration recipe, or design a wartime comic book character, or create a faux Facebook page for a student during that time, or create a propaganda poster to promote the war effort. All activities are designed to draw attention to the realities of wartime in McLean County. A rich selection of primary source documents are included.

The Unconquerable: Kickapoo in McLean County

Students will be introduce to the traditions and lifeways of groups native to McLean County, including the Kickapoo—the last Native Tribe to reside in McLean County. Artifacts in the kit include: stone tools, clothing, language resources, games, and more.

Example Program:
Students will explore the foodways of Native groups through exploration of animal furs, shell tempered pottery, early agriculture, and more.