Hamilton Civic Museums

STEM at Steam

The City of Hamilton is in the GREY - LOCKDOWN category within the Provincial COVID-19 Response Framework. Hamilton Civic Museums will remain closed until further notice. Check back for more details and updates.

Stem at Steam Banner Image

Scouting and Guiding Programs

The Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology is one of the leading providers of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (“STEM”) programming for kids in the Hamilton area. We are excited to team with up with Scouts Canada and the Girl Guides of Canada to offer STEM programming tailored to your group’s interests.

Our programs are designed to ensure that your group learns something new, in an exciting, interactive way. We offer themed activities for Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Sparks, Brownies, Girl Guides, and Pathfinders that can help fulfil the requirements for a variety of Personal Achievement and Discovery badges.

We welcome groups on weeknights and weekends. Programs include a hands-on introduction to the museum, tour of the historic Pumphouse, and themed activity.

  • Fee is $10.00 per child; two supervisors are included for free with every 10 children.
  • All programs are 1.5 to 2 hours in length.
  • Minimum of 10 children and a maximum of 50 children at one time.
  • Participants receive a special “Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology” badge to remember their visit.

Pumphouse Discovery

Hamilton’s first Pumphouse pumped clean water from Lake Ontario to the city of Hamilton. The Pumphouse worked smoothly thanks to workers completing a variety of important jobs, with the support of their families. Through story-telling, exploration, and free play, discover the different characters who worked together in the Pumphouse followed by a tour to see where these people worked in real life.

Recommended for: Beavers and Sparks

Radical Reactions

The Steam Museum Woodshed has been transformed into a chemistry lab! Investigate chemical and physical reactions through hands-on science experiments – from classic baking soda / vinegar explosions to mysterious super-absorbent polymers – then tour the museum to investigate how reactions and changing states of matter operated the 1859 steam engines.

Recommended for: Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Sparks, Brownies, Girl Guides, and Pathfinders

Cool Catapults

A catapult was a medieval weapon that was used to hurl stones, and even flaming tar-covered rocks at enemies. Explore the simple machines and physics used in this medieval technology by building and testing miniature catapults. They won’t be as dangerous as the originals but will fire a ping-pong ball about 10 meters! Tour the historic Waterworks focusing on how simple machines were used in the construction of the 70-ton steam engines.

Recommended for: Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Sparks, Brownies, Girl Guides, and Pathfinders

Science of Structures

What does a civil engineer do? Find out in this hands-on engineering program! Teams will face two civil engineering challenges: build the tallest skyscraper that can withstand a simulated wind storm and build the strongest bridge to support a variety of weights. Tour the historic Pumphouse to learn how engineers were able to build strong, stable structures 160 years ago.

Recommended for: Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides, and Pathfinders

Powerful Pulleys & Great Gears

Pulleys and gears are amazing machines! They can help change direction, speed, and force and make difficult tasks easier – like constructing the historic Pumphouse. Discover the 70-ton steam engines and experiment with gears and pulley systems, then work in groups to assemble and test a working crab winch that combines pulleys and gears to lift heavy loads.

Recommended for: Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides, and Pathfinders

The Price of Water

Engineering at the Hamilton Waterworks was not possible without mathematics! Basic math skills were used every day to determine how much water was pumped, how much coal was burnt, and how much money people were charged for clean running water. Engage in a simulation activity using estimation, addition, and subtraction skills to ‘purchase’ a historic house in Hamilton. Design your home with all the water-consuming amenities you need – bathtubs, livestock, toilets – while staying on budget! A tour of the 1859 Pumphouse highlights how basic math skills were essential to operating the Hamilton Waterworks.

Recommended for: Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides, and Pathfinders

Water Systems in Action

All living things need access to water. In Hamilton, the need for clean, potable water was met by the construction of the city’s first municipal Waterworks in 1859. Investigate the systems that pumped water more than 160 years ago and the changes that have occurred since. Discuss ways to access clean water and work in teams to assemble a working Waterloo-style water pump.

Recommended for: Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides, and Pathfinders

Discovering Diversity

The construction of the Hamilton Waterworks in 1859 brought opportunities for immigrants from around the world. Unfortunately, not all immigrants were treated equally by the 1910 Canadian Immigration Act. By using artifacts, documents and the historical inquiry process, create profiles of people from various countries and cultures attempting to immigrate to Canada and identify the push and pull factors that influenced them. Using primary sources, determine whether they would be granted citizenship or if prejudice may have kept them from Canada. A tour of the Waterworks will focus on the working conditions faced by some immigrants and the role immigration played in the development of Canadian industry.

Recommended for: Scouts and Pathfinders