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Exploring 4-H

Exploring 4-H Family Heritage Spark Activity: Digital Scavenger Hunt

What is our heritage? Heritage is something that belongs to us by reason of birth. It is the history of a family. Where a family came from and all of the traditions, customs and more that have been passed down from generation to generation make up a family’s heritage.

Explore artifacts that your family has from previous generations. Document them with photography. Discuss found artifacts with family members to learn more about them and why they are important to your family. Share your findings with your broader family through social media.

Artifact examples/ideas: Scrapbook/baby book, newspaper clipping, letters/postcards, old fashioned toy, dishes, recipes, obituary of a relative, wedding picture of a family member, a pocket watch or special piece of jewelry belonging to a relative, a piece of antique furniture that has been in your family for generations, aerial photo of a family farm or property, a quilt or needlework made by a family member, letters your relatives wrote to each other or old postcards received by family members, military uniform or medals

How many items can you find with special meaning to your family?

Source: Oklahoma State University “4-H Heritage Scrapbook” project manual

4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Create a family tree Collect pictures of family - include full names and dates 
  • Develop a family heredity chart (physical characteristics) 
  • Create a time capsule about you and your family or friends 
  • Tour a cemetery
  • Practice letter writing
  • Collect favorite family recipes
  • Interview yourself
  • Involve your friends in creating a community time capsule to be opened on a determined date in the future
  • Interview family members - keep a video or written record of what you learn from their interview
  • Document holiday customs that your family celebrates
  • Explore local museums
  • Create a time capsule for your community
Put Your Project Into Action

Show Your Skills

  • Prepare an exhibit of items, pictures, maps, charts, slides/tapes, drawings, illustrations, writings or displays that depict the heritage of the member’s family or community or 4-H history
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Complete a family tree

Service and Leadership

  • Help maintain and beautify the cemetery grounds: prune trees, mend flags and ensure they are in perfect condition for public display, sponsor a burial area or flower bed and maintain it all year long, resurface and repaint/stain cemetery benches used for reflection and rest
  • Volunteer at a nursing home or assisted living facility
  • Supply a meal at a local VFW, or veterans’ organization and visit with the veterans
  • Assist with placing flags in the cemetery on Memorial Day and Veterans Day
  • Host a meeting with the local historical society
  • Host a flag retirement service/ceremony
  • Present at a meeting on local historical topics and your findings
  • Educate your peers about the history of another culture


  • Research the heritage of others
  • Develop a portfolio for others
  • Digitize old photos/film reels to preserve family memories and heritage

Technology Connection

  • Creating digital copies of old family records
  • Digitizing photos and film reels
  • Connecting with a Mentor
  • Historical Society - a “Directory of Local Illinois Historical Societies” is available at:


  • Flag retirement service & ceremony
  • History Hub in partnership with National Archives and Library of Congress

Project Manuals & Exhibit Requirements

  • Family History Treasure Hunt

Purchase manuals on the Shop Illinois 4-H Store

View exhibit requirements and scoresheets on the Illinois State Fair page.

boy and grandfather look at photos together
  • Genealogist
  • Tour Guide
  • Museum Curator
  • Historian
  • Educator
  • Public Archivist
Start a Conversation
  • Are you interested in discovering events and facts that happened during an ancestor’s life?
  • Do you enjoy visiting historical places?
  • How can you express your creativity through the development of a portfolio or scrapbook of your family heritage?

Oklahoma State University Extension-4-H Youth Development: Heritage Scrapbook online project manual

Illinois 4-H Project Guide: 2019- 2020

University of Illinois Extension staff that contributed to this resource include Sarah Luce.

4-H Spark Sheets are a collaborative effort of 4-H staff, volunteers, alumni and teens from across Illinois. A big thanks to the many contributors and reviewers!