The Society's Education Department offers primary-source-based workshops for K-12 educators and their students on a variety of topics. Participants become historians as they investigate a particular historical topic using a broad range of materials from the Society’s collections. Most programs also include an introduction to the library, a virtual tour of the MHS website or particular digital projects, and an opportunity to examine original documents and artifacts. Programs for teachers also address the various ways in which primary sources can be incorporated in to the K-12 curriculum.

The MHS Education Department frequently partners with local historical sites and institutions, as well as the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and both the Massachusetts and the United States Departments of Education to develop and deliver interactive programs using the Society's collections. The MHS is a registered Professional Development Provider in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and graduate credit is avaliable (for an additional fee) for many of our workshops.

Scheduling a Program

Interested in bringing a group of teachers or students to the Society? The MHS Education Department will work with you to create a memorable educational experience! We can organize workshops on various aspects of these general themes:

  • Colonial Boston and the Atlantic World
  • The Coming of the American Revolution
  • Slavery, Antislavery, and Abolition in New England
  • Civil War Massachusetts
  • Imperialism/Anti-imperialism at the Dawn of the 20th Century
  • Massachusetts and WWI

For more information, or to schedule your program, please contact the education department at (617) 646-0557 or

Upcoming Programs

Tell it with Pride: The Massachusetts 54th Regiment

April 22-23, 2104, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Registration Fee: $55

Join us as we explore the role of African Americans in Massachusetts in the era of the Civil War!

Day one (April 22) will take place at the Massachusetts Historical Society, where participants can view original documents and artifacts that shed light on the antislavery movement, the work of the 54th Regiment and its supporters, and the creation of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ memorial on Beacon Street.

Day two (April 23) will take place on Beacon Hill. In the morning, we will take a walking tour through the neighborhood with a ranger from Boston African American National Historic Site. After a lunch on your own at Faneuil Hall, we will regroup for a program at the Museum of African American History, which includes a tour of the recently restored African Meeting House.

This workshop is open to all K-12 teachers and library media specialists. The $55 registration fee covers lunch on April 22, materials, and admission to the Museum of African American History. Teachers can earn 10 Professional Development Points for their participation.

To Register: Please contact Kathleen Barker at or 617-646-0557. You may also complete this registration form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215.

Painless: A Survival Guide to the (Dreaded) History Project

April 7, 2014, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Registration Fee: offered in conjunction with the Northeastern Regional Conference on the Social Studies:

Are you a teacher who dreads teaching & grading the same old history projects each year? Are you interested in immersing your students in the excitement of historical investigation? Then this workshop is for you!

Using the broad theme of “Rights and Responsibilities” as a springboard, you’ll explore how to approach primary source research in special libraries and archives, the Massachusetts Historical Society & the National Archives through a range of historical documents, including letters, diaries, songs, petitions, and government records.

You’ll collect evidence, analyze information, draw conclusions, assemble your findings into an historical narrative, and design a history project as a paper, website, exhibit, documentary, or performance.

By applying National History Day methodologies, the “dreaded” history project is transformed into the creation of imaginative, engaging, and meaningful history experiences. Representatives from Massachusetts History Day will share how the program works.

For more information: Please contact Kathleen Barker at or 617-646-0557.

Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation

2014 Locations:

  • Framinghman, Massachusetts: September 26 & 27
  • Milford (NH) and Pepperell (MA): July 30 & 31
  • Searsport, Maine: Dates coming soon!
  • Cape Cod: Dates coming soon!

Registration Fee: $25 (to cover the cost of lunches on both days)

This two-day workshop will focus on how to use local resources – documents, artifacts, landscapes and the rich expertise in every town – to examine historical issues with a national focus. We will concentrate on the period just after the Revolution and the concerns and conflicts, hopes and fears, experiences and expectations of the people living in the Boston area at a time of uncertainty, fragility, and possibility. We will investigate such questions as: What was it like to live in a town that had been around for a long time in a country that was new? When the nation was first forming after the Revolution, what were people in our town/region worried about? How much did the geography, economy, culture, and social makeup of our region influence those concerns? How can we find out? What resources/pieces of evidence does our community have that relate to this time period and the people living in it? How can we best present this evidence and allow people of all ages to discover answers to some of these questions? How does our local focus add a crucial dimension to our understanding of a key period in American history?

The workshop is open to teachers, librarians, archivists, members of local historical societies, and all interested local history enthusiasts. There is a $25 charge to cover lunches both days; program and material costs have been generously funded by the Saltonstall Foundation.Educators can earn 14 PDPs and 1 Graduate Credit (for an additional fee) from Framingham State University.

To Register: Registration information coming in Spring 2014!

For Additional Information: Contact the Education Department: 617-646-0557 or Visit our web calendar for more information and a draft workshop schedules.