Ticket to the Past:
The First 25 Years of the Missouri State Fair

Lesson Overview:

This lesson was developed by the Missouri State Archives for elementary students studying Missouri History, specifically fourth graders. It is intended to instill in students an appreciation for original documents by presenting them with images relating to Missouri’s first State Fairs.

Students will “Enter” and explore the Ticket to the Past exhibit on-line, and use the accompanying worksheet to guide them through the panels. Answers correlate specifically to text included within the exhibit.

Instructional Procedures:

  • Worksheet
  • Teacher’s Key for the Worksheet
  • Ticket to the Past On-line Exhibit
  • Optional Exercise
  • Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Social Studies Framework

Learning Goals:

  • To engage students in an age-appropriate discussion of the motivations that led to the first State Fairs in Missouri.
  • To help students understand why some records (in this case, photographs, programs, and posters) are deemed to be of “permanent, historical value.”
  • To provoke analysis of the impact the State Fair has had on Missourians.

Lesson Plan:

  1. Students should work together to explore the on-line exhibit, “Ticket to the Past.”
  2. They should complete the accompanying worksheet.
  3. Lead a class discussion of the State Fair, using the Guided Discussion Questions.
  4. You may choose to engage your students in the “Optional Exercise,” which encourages students to develop their own “Fair.”