Historical Museum

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Historical Museum

Located in La Conner

"Come to the top of the hill for a spectacular view of Skagit County history"

Welcome to Teacher Resources and Activities

The general store is an icon of American history. Making a study of the institution is valuable way for students to explore the roots of their local community and around the country. It is a wonderful way to integrate history, geography, economics, math and art into the social studies curriculum.

Below are resources to help in your study:

Paper or plastic?

Your choices for carrying items home were different at the general store, especially if you were buying in bulk. Learn about the different types of containers the shopkeeper used to get his goods out to his customers.

Types of Containers at the General Store

What a Penny or Dollar Could Buy

Prices look cheap at the general store, but what you buy? Check out the ads and see how far a penny or dollar could go.

Inflation Calculator

Visit the Inflation Calculator here!

Ever wonder what things would cost today if you bought them at today’s prices? For example a 1875 Beckwith’s sewing machine sold by H.C. Barkhousen on Fidalgo Island cost $20.00. Today that machine would cost $305.83. Compare with salaries from the 19th century. Things look cheap, but are they?

Account of Terrence Macarty at Conner 1872 (pdf)
Dingwall's Store Ledger 1873 (pdf)

In 1858, early Skagit pioneers went shopping on Bellingham Bay miles. Use the Inflation Calculator to adjust 1858 prices to current day prices.


Workers and Wages

Here is a list of wages to help you understand the economics of the time. How far would a dollar go if you made only $40.00 a month and it cost $6.00 a month for a room?

Open your Own general Store!

Want to put together your own general store for your class with reproductions and actual working tools? Cumberland General Store is an excellent resource used by many museums. Make a Whatzit Box with artifacts from the shelves of a general store. Have students investigate their 5 properties: What is it made of? How long? What does it weigh? Where is it kept? What is it found next to?


Teacher Websites:

Census for 1890. Interesting site for developing wage statistics for the year 1890.

Life in Illinois 1890-1920. Gives a view of life at the turn of the century. A little such as Seattle and Portland would be somewhat the same, though a much smaller city.

Turn of the Century Child. A look at artifacts.

American Memories

General stores. To do a search for general stores at American Memories (Library of Congress). There are over 700 images from around the country.