Digital Classroom

The Massachusetts Historical Society’s rich collection provides educators with a wealth of primary sources that can bring the past to life. The digital projects featured here present primary source documents such as letters, diaries, broadsides, maps, portraits, engravings, and pamphlets selected specifically for use in the classroom. Each digital project provides documents organized around particular topics, and includes images of original materials, transcriptions of written documents, contextual information, and classroom-ready discussion questions and activities.

The Coming of the American Revolution, 1764-1776

In the years between 1764 and 1776, America truly became a nation. Using letters, diaries, broadsides, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, and engravings, this website brings those tumultuous years to life for students of all ages. The site is organized around fifteen key topics and features more than 150 documents from the Society's collections. Components for teachers include a clear statement of core concepts, goals, objectives, and framing questions, and alignment to curriculum frameworks. The project will also feature curricula written by MHS Teacher Fellows and other educators who have worked with documents from MHS collections. Student components include guidelines for examining documents, project suggestions, and suggestions for further exploration.

The Case for Ending Slavery

Massachusetts (and Boston in particular), became known world-wide as the nexus for the American antislavery movement in the first half of the nineteenth century. Using documents from the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Library of Congress, this web-based curriculum resource presents primary sources that document the end of slavery in Massachusetts and the nation. The Case for Ending Slavery encourages teachers and students to analyze pairs of documents or artifacts, asking visitors to think critically about how one document or artifact informs the other. Each pair of primary sources (one source from the Society’s collections and the other from the collections of the Library of Congress) includes links to digital images of the original item, a brief contextual introduction, and a series of questions related to the content, context, and connections revealed by the items under study.


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