School programs

Fort St. James National Historic Site

Where the spirit of the past lives...

Travel back in time as both teachers and students alike experience life as a fur trader in 1896. Join us as you hunt and barter for supplies the old fashioned way. Then you can build your own cabin and learn about all the furs traded here.

At the Fort St. James National Historic Site we see the vital connection between a time for learning and a time for play. Therefore, our programs are intertwined with aspects of the B.C. school curriculum.

Programs can also be adapted, customized or modified to fit any school group and can be run at various times of the year upon special request.

Elementary school program

Elementary school program

Availability: Mid-May to September

Learning Level: All elementary grades

Program Length: Two hours, 10 am - 12 pm or 1-3 pm (times negotiable)

Maximum Capacity: 70 students

In this program each student has the opportunity to live like a fur trader. This program is filled with hands-on activities that engage the students in a historic setting. We start the program in the Visitor Centre where the students can use the washrooms and then watch a nine minute introductory film. After seeing the film, the students are broken up into a maximum of seven groups and sent to various stations, including historic buildings. Five of the stations are run by costumed interpreters that educate the students while doing interactive activities. The stations that the student will rotate through are:

  • Bartering for trade goods using rabbit furs
  • Building a Red River Frame style house
  • Handling furs
  • Historic and First Nations games
  • Hunting with spears
  • Learn domestic livestock of the fur trade
  • Pet the Nigerian Dwarf goats
  • See the Giant Flemish rabbits

High school programs

High school program

Availability: Mid-May to September

Learning Level: Gr.6-12

Program Length: Varying

Maximum Capacity: 70 students

This tour is a self guided tour of the historic grounds. We offer tours through the largest group of original wooden buildings representing the fur trade in Canada. Your tour will start with a nine minute introductory film and a look through the display room. Then walk along Stuart Lake and step back into 1896. In each of our historic buildings there is a costumed interpreter that will guide you through life at Fort St. James from 1806-1952. This tour is easily adaptable to fit your time schedule. Our buildings include:

  • Fur Warehouse
  • Fish Cache (no interpreter)
  • Staff House
  • Trade Store
  • Officer's Dwelling House
  • Hide Tanning Shed
Indigenous Days

Indigenous Days

Availability: June 16-20

Learning Level: K-12

Maximum Capacity: 150 students

Program Length: Two Hours, 10 am - 12 pm or 1-3 pm

This new and exciting program is designed to celebrate Canada's National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. The program is organized as closely to National Indigenous Peoples Day as possible, while still remaining in the school calendar. We run the program between three to five days, in both the morning and afternoon. There are a variety of stations that will engage students in learning about the Aboriginal culture. This program rotates on an "A" and "B" year rotation, so students can get a new experience even if they attend two years in a row! The students do not rotate through the historic buildings for this event, but will participate in a number of special activities. Some these activities are:

  • Atlat hunting
  • Be a Carrier messenger
  • Discover Carrier uses for plants
  • Play games of strength and mini potlatch
  • Oral storytelling
Fall, winter and early spring season programs

Fall, winter and early spring season programs

Open to Elementary, Junior High or High School bookings

Many of the programs we have available can be run upon special request and on a self-guided basis in the off season months. If you would like to take advantage of having Fort St. James National Historic Site all to yourselves in the off-season, you will find your program being led by one of our engaging year-round interpretive staff with a very personal, customized approach. We may be able to custom tailor a site program to fit your needs using our modern visitor centre and site buildings that provides you with a great venue to focus your students on the learning activities you seek. Our facilities include a comfortable visitor centre with an indoor workshop and theatre facility that can be useful in any seasonal weather condition. If you are interested in making a booking in the off-season, please consider the following;

  • We appreciate it if our group bookings are not more than 30 students at once during the "off-season"
  • That we receive at least two weeks notice of your intended visit to the historic site
  • That students come dressed and prepared for seasonal weather conditions and with appropriate footwear for the time of year (winter-bring boots, jacket, gloves and a hat)
  • Students must bring their own lunches and food, as no on-site food services will be available October-April
  • Provide us with as much information about your needs as a group and we can make our programs meet your objectives in this way

Self guided bookings and facility space

If you or your school group plan to make a visit to the site in the off season on a self-guided basis, we can also provide you with tools, materials and facilities to conduct your own investigative and discovery programs. Please call to discuss options for these opportunities.

Teacher and student feedback

In order to maintain and increase the effectiveness of our school programs at Fort St. James National Historic Site, we encourage teacher and student feedback at any time. If you can think of an improvement to our programs, create a new program concept or better connect BC Curriculums to make your program better, always let us know. Email:

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