Most of us can recall a moment when we
realized we were standing on a spot suffused with history. It might have been a place connected with a dramatic figure or event--the home of a famous person, the site of a famous battle--or it might have been significant on a smaller scale-- a neighborhood that recalls life a century ago,
a building that documents how or why a community grew. Teachers, preservationists, and historic site specialists have long known that historic locations can have the same effect on students, capturing their attention and interest in a way textbooks may not.
Yet professional training on how to incorporate these places into the classroom has rarely been easily available. The Teaching with Historic Places program has responded to this need by developing a series of professional materials and development opportunities.
•Teaching Teachers the Power of Place
Teaching with Historic Places
is an introductory video to the Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) program. The video explains the concepts and benefits of using historic places to improve both teaching and learning, describes lesson plans developed by TwHP, and shares experiences of educators who use the program. To help illustrate the benefits of teaching with historic places, the National History Education Clearinghouse has posted clips from this video on its website.
Cultural Resource Management: Creative Teaching with Historic Places
(vol. 23, No. 8, 2000)
is a thematic issue of CRM now available online. The articles in this issue of CRM highlight the power of place in learning, the evolution and creation of TwHP lesson plans, how individuals and organizations have employed TwHP ideas and materials, and the program within the broader context of a variety of National Park Service initiatives.
Cultural Resource Management: Teaching with Historic Places
(vol. 16, No. 2, 1993)
is a thematic issue of CRM now available online. The articles in this issue of CRM explain the origins, goals, and progress of the Teaching with Historic Places program within the wider contexts of educational programs that use the built environment--often called "heritage education"--and national educational reform.
Teaching with Historic Places' lesson plans
use historic sites to examine developments throughout American history and across the country. Many of our lesson plans are now on the Web and ready to use in the classroom. These lessons are created by National Park Service interpreters, preservation professionals, and educators. The lesson plans act as models for creating your own educational materials. We also have added an online author's packet providing further guidance that can help you write a lesson plan using the TwHP format.
A Curriculum Framework for Professional Training and Development
explains the educational and historical foundations for the Teaching with Historic Places program and describes how to bring places into the classroom. Distributed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it offers chapters on educational reform, content and skills to be learned from historic places, teaching strategies, the selection and use of places, collaborative programs and activities, and available resources.
How To Teach with Historic Places: A Technical Assistance Sourcebook is an important reference kit for those planning professional development programs for teachers, public historians, and anyone interested in heritage education and curriculum development. The kit is no longer available in print in its entirety, but most of the content is available either online or in another form: “The Power of Place” slide show is now available as a PowerPoint on the TwHP website. "A Guide for Developing Lesson Plans," "Finding and Using Documents," and CRM: Teaching with Historic Places are also available online, as is the more recent CRM: Creative Teaching with Historic Places. A Curriculum Framework for Professional Training and Development can be purchased from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust's earlier Information Series #73 has been replaced by Heritage Education: An Introduction for Teachers, Group Leaders, and Program Planners, also for sale by the trust.
Participants in a Teaching with Historic Places field study in Cleveland, OH. Photo Courtesy of Beth Boland.
Teaching with Historic Places conducts workshops and conference sessions that explain the ideas behind the program and demonstrate how the historic places in your community can teach American history to people of all ages.
Learn more about these programs by visiting our workshops page.
- Comments about previous workshops:
- "The field study was great...I've never been in another program like this."
- "One of the best if not the best I have attended."
- "Extremely valuable.."
This bibliography lists sources that describe TwHP and the theory behind it and provides other information about how places fit into the teaching of history and social studies.
*Images from top of page (left to right): Gettysburg Battlefield, courtesy of Beth Boland; The Red Mill, Clinton, New Jersey, courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons; The Stewart Building at Kempner & Mechanic, Historic Strand District in Galveston, Texas, courtesy of Colleen Shepherd; Grand Canyon, courtesy of Greg Hindsley.