Center for the Teaching of History

About

I also feel very strongly that history is essential for all of us, and particularly for our children and grandchildren...it's important that they know our history so they understand how our government works, so they realize the responsibilities of citizenship, and the struggles that made possible what we have.

- David McCullough, Remarks on receiving the John F. Kennedy Medal, May 7, 2014

 

The MHS offers an engaging array of programs and resources to K-12 teachers and students, including workshops, fellowship opportunities, curriculum resources, and access to the Society’s digital collections. The MHS develops and implements a full schedule of 16-18 teacher professional development workshops per year on a variety of American history topics. Participants become historians as they investigate materials from the Society’s collections and discuss methods of using these primary sources in the classroom. Workshops often include appearances by noted scholars, visits to partnering historic sites, and opportunities to view treasures from the Society’s collection. The MHS is a registered professional development provider in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Teachers can also earn graduate credit for many workshops through Worcester State University, with approval of the workshop syllabus by the college curriculum committee. 

What teachers say

This particular workshop should be offered often as it relates to every state's content standards and it helps teachers show how decisions made by ordinary people make history. It also shows how important considering different points of view is essential to the study of American history.

 

– At the Crossroads of Revolution: Lexington and Concord in 1775, 2015 NEH Workshop participant

This program was very well organized and will have significant impact on my teaching in the classroom. We dug deep into historical artifacts and these types of experiences will only continue to enrich teaching and learning in my school.

 

– Teaching Three Centuries of History, Saltonstall Workshop participant

Schools don't offer professional development in history, only the STEM subjects, so these kinds of programs are really, really needed.

 

– Teaching Three Centuries of History, Saltonstall Workshop participant

This workshop was extremely informative and gave me many valuable lessons and resources that I know I will use in my classroom. Professional development [workshops] like these are what keeps me excited about teaching history.

 

– Women in the Era of the American Revolution, Society of the Cincinnati Workshop participant

This program was very well organized and will have significant impact on my teaching in the classroom. We dug deep into historical artifacts and these types of experiences will only continue to enrich teaching and learning in my school.

 

– Teaching Three Centuries of History, Saltonstall Workshop participant

This was a terrific experience that connected directly to my curriculum. I appreciated the theme of "crossroads" and feeling the tensions between different view points. So often we look at the Patriots as "good" and the Loyalists and British army as "bad," but this workshop provided a variety of lenses that shined a light of the complexities of the time period.

 

– At the Crossroads of Revolution: Lexington and Concord in 1775, 2015 NEH Workshop participant

The Society has offered teacher fellowships since the summer of 2001, and we currently offer 4 fellowships each fiscal year. Teacher fellows develop lesson plans and other classroom resources during their four-week residence at MHS. Alumni of the fellowship program continue to work with the Society as workshop instructors, mentors, advisors, evaluators, and promoters. In 2013 we began offering the Winthrop Fellowship to one high school student/teacher pair. The student fellow produces a piece of original research and publishes an entry about his/her work on the Society’s blog.

Through onsite programs and in-class visits, students engage with documents and artifacts from the Society’s collection and work with MHS staff to make connections to the history they are learning in the classroom. MHS serves as state sponsor of National History Day, a program that encourages project-based learning among middle and high school students. Each year we work with participants presenting original historical research in various formats (papers, documentaries, websites, exhibitions, and performances) at local, regional, state, and national competitions.

As time and funds permit we create content-rich websites that include contextual essays, documentary resources, lesson plans, and supplementary materials. We also build on the work of the collection services department to create lesson plans and other resources based on new and ongoing digital projects. We also post lesson plans, curriculum units, and other resources to the Society’s website. Many of these tools were created by teacher fellows and educators who have attended MHS workshops. 

The MHS advises schools, colleges, museums, historical societies, and libraries on educational programming that connects local resources to key themes and topics in American history to comply with state frameworks and Common Core learning standards. MHS staff members actively participates in professional organizations such as the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Council for History Education, the New England History Teachers Association, the American Association for State and Local History, and the National Council for Public History.