Cunningham School

Cunningham School (formerly Heritage School) was originally the Cunningham One-room Schoolhouse in Saunders County.  It has been restored as an authentic reproduction of a one-room prairie school.  Students in Lincoln Public Schools first attended classes in the schoolhouse in 1976 when the building was located just inside the entrance of the former Nebraska State Fairgrounds in Lincoln.  The restoration of the schoolhouse was part of the bicentennial project called Heritage Village.  In 2009, the schoolhouse moved to its current location at Pioneers Park. 

Students will experience what a day was like in a one-room schoolhouse in 1892.  While not all students received a formal education at this time, and while not all children experienced school in the same way, the field trip recreates a typical day of activities at the Cunningham Schoolhouse.  Students will participate in songs, stories, and other activities that are authentic to the time period, including a spelling bee, recess games, and penmanship. 

Students are encouraged to bring a lunch that is similar to what children might have eaten in 1892.  The class will discuss common and available foods children ate during the 1890s.  Since America in 1892 was such a diverse place, there are lots of foods that might be authentic to that era.  Migrants and immigrants from east of the Mississippi River would have eaten items like:  sandwiches (cheese, jelly, egg, butter, honey lard, sugar, honey, molasses, or syrup), boiled or baked potato (which could also serve as a hand warmer on a cold morning), fresh fruits and veggies, and molasses, oatmeal, sugar or snickerdoodle cookies (which were a special treat).  Native Americans living in Nebraska had long survived on food items found in Nebraska.  These include sunflower seeds, wild nuts, berries, chokecherries, wild plums, grapes, sand cherries, and turnips.  Native children might also have enjoyed dried bison meat, corn, beans, pumpkins, squash, and melons.

Students are also encouraged to dress in the style of clothing worn in the late 1800’s. During this time, children may have worn long skirts, dresses, aprons, sun bonnets or hats, overalls, jeans and suspenders, flannel, plaid or checked shirts or hats.  Students whose family heritage reflects clothing different from what might have been worn on the plains in 1892 are invited to dress in a manner reflecting their heritage, if they choose.   We do not expect any family to incur an extra expense in putting the outfits together.  Please contact your child’s teacher if we can help provide clothing to wear during the field trip.  

Each LPS 4th grader has the opportunity to experience Cunningham School.  Teachers, please visit your LibGuide to access information about Cunningham School, including a lesson plan and schedule for the current school year.