Object-based learning is often presented as a recent phenomenon, that uses the physical presence of objects to incite complex knowledge transfer in different pedagogical settings, including in medical, artistic, and scientific environments. This research project shows that object-based learning has a long history, dating back to eighteenth-century European reform-pedagogy and evangelist communities and further to early modern pedagogical traditions, manifest for instance in Comenius’ writings. My project highlights key moments in time, when object-based teaching is explicitly foregrounded as a way to enhance the holistic transmission of cognitive knowledge, manual skills, and ethical values; all through interaction with materials and things. Apart from a trans-historical continuity of learning through things, this project will bring to light how teaching with and through objects relates apparently disparate learning environments (e.g. kindergarten, university, workshop, kitchen, and studio).