Center for the Teaching of History


It is anticipated that with full implementation of this three-year plan, the Center for the Teaching of History at the Massachusetts Historical Society will be widely recognized as a provider of superb resources for K-12 educators and their students. Our region’s pivotal roles in the founding of New England and the United States, and the Society’s unparalleled history collections, place us in a unique position to serve teachers across the nation. Improved funding through endowment, gifts, and grants will strengthen our existing programs while allowing us to develop new and improved resources designed specifically for educators. Expanded marketing will promote our resources to a wider audience.

Old Towns workshop photoWe will build on our nationally recognized professional development programs to create a range of online and in-person workshops that immerse educators in the work of historians, provide them with opportunities to engage with scholars, analyze primary sources, and collaborate with colleagues on issues of pedagogy.  Enhanced and newly developed online offerings will allow teachers to enliven the classroom experience through easy access to digitized primary sources, lesson plans, and other classroom resources. The Society offers thousands of images of primary-source documents and artifacts through its website, and a new user-friendly portal will provide educators with clear pathways to materials organized by historical era and themes, as well as teacher-tested suggestions for using primary sources with students of different ages and abilities. Over the next three years we will expand our professional development offerings by creating graduate-level online courses for educators that use the Society’s digital offerings to explore a number of our program areas, specifically the era of the American Revolution and social movements of the 19th century. 

National History DayThe Center will interact with students primarily through the Massachusetts History Day program. We will build on the Society’s current leadership role by piloting new online resources for program participants. In order to recruit additional students (and teachers) to MHD, we will develop and implement new introductory workshops that encourage students to use MHS collections in their projects. 

Student workshopBy 2019, the Center for the Teaching of history will be a national leader in providing resources for the study and teaching of history, as well as an advocate for the importance of the discipline in K-12 classrooms. Continued collaboration with local and national organizations will highlight the civic literacy and critical thinking skills fostered by the study of history. With a larger audience, a larger staff dedicated to education programs, and a robust funding stream, the Center will enhance the Society’s reputation as a respected voice for the importance of understanding our nation’s past.