School Program

Curriculum: A Window to the Past

An innovative project funded by the TELUS Vancouver Community Board
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Imagine life without television, computers, electronic games…a life of meals cooked on a wood-burning stove, handmade clothing, laundry washed by hand…Imagine simple family fun around the piano in the parlour or around the big dining room table…Imagine a world in which the first telephones and motor cars were wonders to behold…

School children are fascinated to learn how much life has changed in a mere 100 years and many of them can identify with the experiences of an immigrant family making its way in early Vancouver. Roedde House Museum’s Schools Program provides docent-led tours for elementary school classes from the Lower Mainland. The tours complement an in-class curriculum, A Window to the Past, which is adaptable to all grades. The curriculum covers early 1900s social history, the immigrant experience, genealogy, architecture and the importance of heritage preservation. A Window to the Past won a City of Vancouver Heritage Award in 1997; in 2006 it was extensively revised and updated with the assistance of a TELUS Vancouver Community Board grant, and put online in its entirety. As an online resource, A Window to the Past can be accessed by teachers anywhere and with some adjustment; the curriculum can be a useful study guide.


These are projects from the Windows to the Past curriculum that students can work on individually, as a class group at school, or at home with their parents, using the Artefact Suitcase provided as part of the Roedde House School Program.

In the 1990s Roedde granddaughters Gwen and Kay visit the house where they had lived with their mother and grandparents at the time of the First World War. They are able to tell us about what life was like as young girls over a hundred years ago.

Curriculum: Bookbinding Lesson

(This lesson builds upon “Windows from the Past” and tour info)

The lesson plan introduces elementary and middle school-aged students to bookbinding through a hands-on experience and discussion. They will also learn about the day-to-day life of Vancouver’s first bookbinder G.A. Roedde and his family and tour their house at the Roedde House Museum in Vancouver, BC. Through this visit, students will gain insights into the life of middle-class families and early settlers in Vancouver.

Before the museum visit, students engage in a bookbinding activity in the classroom. They learn about the concept of bookbinding, explore different binding techniques, and discuss the historical significance of bookbinding, including its role in spreading information to the masses and providing opportunities to marginalized groups like women.

This comprehensive approach aims to not only teach practical skills in bookbinding but also provide students with a deeper understanding of its cultural and historical importance.

For further insights into how bookbinding activity works, please check out this video on our YouTube channel: Roedde House Bookbinding Activity.

Curriculum: Heritage Lesson Plan Secondary

(This lesson builds upon “Windows from the Past” and tour info)

This heritage lesson plan, intended for grades 8-12, focuses on historical preservation, particularly built heritage in Vancouver, BC. It broadens the understanding of heritage beyond old buildings, emphasizing cultural, historical, and natural assets valued by communities. Acknowledging the colonial context, it respects Indigenous peoples as the original inhabitants. The plan consists of three parts:

Part 1: What is Heritage? (Before Roedde visit):

Introduces heritage encompassing cultural, historical, natural, intangible, and built aspects.

Discusses heritage significance and impact on individuals and communities.

Explains Vancouver’s heritage designation process, citing the Roedde House Museum as an example.

Part 2: Deeper Dive (Before or after Roedde visit):

Explores the Roedde House Museum’s significance within Vancouver’s heritage.

Discusses heritage preservation importance, including UNESCO World Heritage and local initiatives.

Group activity identifies other heritage-designated buildings using Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s ‘Site Finder.’

Part 3: Putting it Together (After Roedde Visit):

Reflects on the Roedde House Museum visit’s role in Vancouver’s heritage.

Assign students to investigate and present on two additional Vancouver heritage sites.

Encourages consideration of diverse heritage perspectives, including Indigenous and BIPOC heritage.

Online Learning Options

For those who cannot visit in person!

Watch a two-part video tour of the house below. To view these videos you will be required to register to receive a password for access.

Please email us at after watching the video to provide comments. 


This resource reflects the collaborative effort of professionals. For their contributions to the development, piloting and editing of the final document, the authors and the Roedde House Preservation Society would like to thank:

Eve Haveman, Teacher, Vancouver School Board
Jerry George, Consultant
John Lawrence, Consultant
Mary Locke, Teacher-Librarian, VSB
Dr. Jay Powell, UBC, Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Randy Rotheisler, Video producer, VSB
Mariette Smith, Teacher, VSB
Jim Taggert, Architect in Schools Program, AIBC
Loma Wing, Anti-Racism Consultant, VSB

And for her excellent clerical work, thanks are due to Pat Dymond, VSB.

Finally, generous funding for this resource has been received from the following foundations by the Roedde House Preservation Society:

TELUS Vancouver Community Board – An Innovative Project Funded by the TELUS Vancouver Community Board. This Board was launched in January 2006 to allocate funding for innovative programs which involve youth and/or technology in the areas of arts and culture, education and sport, health and well-being.

The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation
The Chris Spencer Foundation
The Hamber Foundation

Revision and Edition for the 2010 version:
Holly McMillan
Adonna Rudolph
Jenny Yule

Jane Kinegal, Architect, Teacher with Richmond School Board
David McMillan, Consultant
Helene Perndl, Museum Manager, RHM
Maryann Kempthorne, Media, Library & Technology, Vancouver School Board
Daniel Bolanger, French Immersion Consultant, Vancouver School Board

Yassine Baba Ahmed: Design
Jessica Gnyp: Photography and illustrations
Denis Lebrun: Web development
Bénédicte Schoepflin: Translation
Jean-François Jutras and Anthony Norfolk: Project Managers

Activity Cards:
Created by the Roedde House Preservation Society
2022 School Program Committee
Concept and Creation: Diana Mogensen, Vancouver Visual Art Foundation VP
Creation and formatting: Sara Hepper, Roedde House Manager
Edits: Judy Finch