Suzanne Judson-Whitehouse models a visit to a local archive, Northampton's Forbes Library. (6:35 minutes).
CREATE LOCAL HISTORY PROJECTS WITH STUDENTS
Visit a local archive
- What is your goal for students? To observe physical archives? To learn about their community’s local history? To create and publish local histories?
- Start with staffed archives. They know their collections and can guide novices.
- Brainstorm possible topics and time periods, yet keep an open mind to what stories and facts local sources and local experts have to tell.
- Call in advance to set up an appointment.
- Scan Library of Congress and other online resources–including maps, newspaper articles, and photos–to gain context and primary sources to contextualize the history of your community.
Browse project guidelines and examples from local history projects
Download slides from Emerging America’s Windows on History graduate course.
- Project Guidelines – Plan your project slide presentation.
- Civic Engagement Through Service Learning – Local History Projects:
- Student Project Examples – Browse student websites.
- Analyze elements in Emerging America's own online exhibit of a local story with national significance: Radical Equality: The Northampton Association of Education and Industry.
Additional Resources for Organizing Projects
- From photographs and town maps to newspaper articles and oral histories, the Library of Congress digital collections offer a profusion of resources for communities throughout the U.S. Start with this blog post by Danna Bell.
- Chronicling America offers hundreds of newspapers from the 1780s to the 1960s. Follow this link for Massachusetts newspapers.
- The Geography & Map Reading Room holds local maps from across the United States.
- Find a list of multimedia timeline tools at this discussion post on the TPS Teachers Network. (You must join this free network to access.)
- The National History Education Clearinghouse offers a mix of resources on local history projects, including this blog post from Daisy Martin.
National History Day programs state affiliates can help organize local history research and offer opportunities for students to showcase their projects.