By Kate Melchior, Center for the Teaching of History
Friday, June 20th marked the end of our three-day teacher workshop, “Loyalism in the Era of the American Revolution”. The program played host to 40 K-12 teachers and heritage educators from the Boston area to as far as Seattle, providing them with an in-depth perspective on both the motivations and struggles of American loyalists in the late 18th century.
Participants arrived early Wednesday morning to begin the workshop. MHS Adams Papers’ Christopher Minty kicked off the program by introducing participants to the roots of Loyalist ideology and motivations. Teachers then explored Loyalist primary source materials from the MHS collections, including the broadside denouncing Loyalist shop owner William Jackson and his later letter to the Continental Congress protesting his imprisonment and the seizure of his property. Teachers also explored political cartoons and propaganda from the period. After lunch, Christina Carrick from the MHS Robert Treat Paine papers discussed violence and “civil war” during the Revolution, and we ended the day with MHS intern Lindsay Woolcock presenting on primary sources from the Revolutionary period in South Carolina and comparing the occupations of Boston and Charlestown.
On Thursday, participants received a guided tour at the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford from Education Coordinator Amy Peters Clark, where they learned about how the Revolution impacted two familes: the Royall family, who owned the home, and the Sutton family, who were enslaved there. Afterwards, we headed to the Medford Public Library to hear a talk on Black Loyalists and Loyalist slavery in the Canadian Maritimes from Professor Harvey Amani Whitfield of the University of Vermont.
Upon returning to the MHS on Friday, participants were treated to several other sessions on loyalism by scholars Patrick O’Brien (USC) and Christina Carrick on Loyalist exile and return, ultimately finishing their workshop with a session on technological tips and tricks from local educator Edward Davies. Throughout the course of the workshop, participants received guidance on accessing primary source materials through the MHS website and other digital resources.
Thank you to all of our speakers and staff for helping to make this seminar so successful, and to our wonderful community of educators!
Looking forward, the MHS will be hosting an October workshop titled “Fashioning History” to partner with our upcoming MHS exhibit on “Fashioning the New England Family.” In December, we will host the “Remembering Abigail” workshop celebrating the life and legacy of Abigail Adams. To learn more, visit our Teacher Workshops page at the Center for the Teaching of History website.