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  • Ephrata Cloister

    School Programs

There are 3 ways to connect your students to the Historic Ephrata Cloister. Each offers a chance for hands-on learning to make the past an engaging part of learning.

Reservations for school programs are required. Contact us early for on-site museum visits–April and May are the busiest months. Educators are encouraged to visit in advance and talk with our education staff about your visit. Discovery Tours can only be held Wednesday – Friday during Open Hours.

Our programs are designed for grade 3 and above, but other learning options are available. Please contact Museum Educator Sophie Walters to discuss your class’s needs at or 717-733-6600 

Please Note: Memberships in the Ephrata Cloister Associates and PA Heritage Society, Library Passes, and Access Cards are not eligible for discounts for school programs.

Community School Day

This open house hosts a dozen learning stations on the grounds of the historic site such as writing with a quill, the colonial printing press, and building a chair. The stations are open from 9:30am to 1:00pm and you can visit them in any order. Many of our historic buildings will also have stationed interpreters during this event. This is a popular program for homeschools and organized classes.

DATE: May 17, 2024

TIMES: 9:30am to 1:00pm

TUITION: $8.00 for students, 1 free adult with every 10 students, additional adults, or with fewer than 10 students $9.00

REGISTRATION: Last day for Registration is May 16th. To register, call the Visitor Center at 717-733-6600 or email Museum Educator Sophie Walters

Discovery Tours

These focused visits include a look at the lives of Ephrata’s early residents in the Sisters’ House and Meetinghouse followed by your choice of 2 of the following activities:

  • a visit to the Printing Office
  • a visit to the colonial doctor
  • writing with a quill pen
  • going to school in 1842
  • packing a trunk to travel from Germany to Pennsylvania in the 1700s

This visit lasts about 2 hours. A minimum of 10 students is required for a Discovery Tour program.

DATES: Discovery Tours are available Wednesdays through Fridays from April through October

TIME: Suggested starting times at 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning, please discuss the starting time at registration

TUITION:  $8.00 for students, 1 free adult with every 10 students, additional adults, or with fewer than 10 students $9.00

REGISTRATION: Call the Visitor Center at 717-733-6600 or email Museum Educator Sophie Walters

Virtual Visits

*These have been discontinued until further notice*

These Zoom programs bring the Historic Ephrata Cloister into your classroom with stories, pictures, show and tell objects, and worksheets.  Each lesson lasts about 30 minutes. A short pre-visit meeting with the teacher is encouraged before the first visit to work out technical matters. Live real-time two-way communication is required. Please no chat box.

  1. Where Ephrata Began: the story of the people who built the early Ephrata community
  2. By the Book: making books in early Ephrata including the biggest book printed in the colonies 
  3. Good Humors: a look at medicine in colonial America
  4. Lessons of the Past: an exploration of learning from 1740 to 1840

DATES: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from January 5 to March 31

TIMES: to be determined at registration

TUITION: choose 2 lessons for a total of $50 for a classroom or $20 for a family, choose 3 or 4 lessons for a total of $75 for a classroom or $30 for a family.

Ephrata Cloister

Administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission:
Josh Shapiro, Governor – Hayley Haldeman, Chair – Andrea Lowery, Executive Director

Ephrata Cloister is one of 26 historic sites and museums on the Pennsylvania Trail of History. For more information or to request a free 24-page visitor guide, visit or phone toll free 1-866-PATRAIL.

The Ephrata Cloister Associates is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, supporting the mission of preservation and education at this National Historic Landmark.

Anne Brossman Sweigart Charitable Foundation
Irene Weidman Charitable Foundation
Ephrata National Bank
Black Forest Brewery/Americana 1777 Inn
A Woman’s Club of Ephrata
The Historic Ephrata Cloister Summer Hours of Operation: OPEN 9am - 4pm Wed. through Sat. & OPEN 12pm - 4pm Sun. OPEN 9am-8pm Thurs. July 25th for Twilight Hours. CLOSED Monday and Tuesday.