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Teaching with Historic Places

Heritage Education Services Program

Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) uses properties listed in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of products and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.


Preserve America

Beacon Hill Historic District, Boston, Massachusetts


The Preserve America initiative recognizes communities that: protect and celebrate their heritage; use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization; and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs. Preserve America is a White House initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

In honor of the Preserve America initiative, Teaching with Historic Places has posted on the web the following lesson plans that feature historic sites in Preserve America Communities. These lessons, based on sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, are free and ready for immediate classroom use by students in history and social studies classes. The lessons are listed alphabetically by states and then by communities within the states.

Huntsville, Alabama
America's Space Program: Exploring a New Frontier
Discover how NASA, private industry, and research institutions across the country cooperated to develop and implement the complex technology that enabled man to land on the moon.

Mobile, Alabama
Fort Morgan and the Battle of Mobile Bay

Follow Admiral Farragut's attack on Fort Morgan and Mobile Bay, and consider the human reaction to technologies such as ironclads and underwater mines.

Selma, Alabama
The Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March: Shaking the Conscience of the Nation
Learn how people in Selma, Alabama, and national civil rights organizations worked together to end the unconstitutional denial of voting rights to African Americans in the South.

Ontario, California
The Frankish Building: A Reflection of the Success of Ontario, California

Analyze how this local landmark came to symbolize the commercial prosperity of a western town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Richmond, California
Liberty Ships and Victory Ships, America's Lifeline in War

Learn how the United States mobilized a massive construction effort to build a large merchant fleet to serve in war and peace.

San Francisco, California
Liberty Ships and Victory Ships, America's Lifeline in War

Learn how the United States mobilized a massive construction effort to build a large merchant fleet to serve in war and peace.

Colorado Springs, Colorado
The United States Air Force Academy: Founding a Proud Tradition

Learn how the expansion of military air power in the first half of the 20th century led to the establishment of the United States Air Force and the Air Force Academy.

Denver, Colorado
Federal Courthouses and Post Offices: Symbols of Pride and Permanence in American Comunities

Learn how three buildings restored and maintained by the U.S. General Services Administration illustrate the important role the federal government played and continues to play in communities across the country.

Little Rock, Arkansas, and Canterbury, Connecticut
From Canterbury to Little Rock: The Struggle for Educational Equality for African Americans

Understand the magnitude of the struggle involved in securing equal educational opportunities for African Americans by examining the 1957 attempt to integrate Little Rock's schools, and by examining how Prudence Crandall challenged the prevailing attitude toward educating African Americans in New England prior to the Civil War.

Washington, District of Columbia
Brown v. Board: Five Communities That Changed America
Learn about the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
The Building of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal; Decatur House: A Home of the Rich and Powerful
Assess the importance of America's early canal system and its economic and social effects.
The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House: African American Women Unite for Change
Learn about Mary McLeod Bethune and how she and the organization she founded promoted political and social change for African American women.
The Washington Monument: Tribute in Stone

Understand why George Washington was so revered during his lifetime and beyond, and learn why it took 100 years to complete this famous monument in his honor.
Woodrow Wilson: Prophet of Peace

Examine Wilson's struggle to achieve lasting world peace following World War I.

Tampa, Florida
Ybor City: Cigar Capital of the World
Discover how immigrant cigar makers in this section of Tampa, Florida, adapted to life in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th century while maintaining their ethnic identity.

Rome, Georgia
The Trail of Tears and the Forced Relocation of the Cherokee Nation

Understand the factors that contributed both to the forced removal of the Cherokees from their homelands and to painful divisions within the tribe.

Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia: The Lasting Legacy of Colonial City Planning

Learn about James Oglethorpe and his enduring city plan from the colonial era.

Walker County, Georgia
The Trail of Tears and the Forced Relocation of the Cherokee Nation

Understand the factors that contributed both to the forced removal of the Cherokees from their homelands and to painful divisions within the tribe.

Kamiah, Idaho
The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Documenting the Uncharted Northwest

Learn how the 1804-1806 expedition effectively opened the Northwest to the influence of the United States, established relations with numerous American Indian nations, and gathered useful scientific documentation about the West.

New Orleans, Louisiana
The Vieux Carré: A Creole Neighborhood in New Orleans 

Examine New Orleans' distinctive French Quarter, a vibrant reflection of its Creole heritage, and recall the city's role in American westward expansion.

Baltimore, Maryland
Liberty Ships and Victory Ships, America's Lifeline in War

Learn how the United States mobilized a massive construction effort to build a large merchant fleet to serve in war and peace.
“The Rockets' Red Glare”: Francis Scott Key and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry
Learn how the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore led to the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and how Key’s song became a powerful symbol for Americans. Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.

Lowell, Massachusetts
Building America's Industrial Revolution: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, MA

Learn how technology applied to textile mills revolutionized industry, in turn affecting mill architecture, city planning, and transportation.

Worcester, Massachusetts
Mechanics Hall: Symbol of Pride and Industry

Examine how the advent of industrialization in 19th-century America impacted the workforce in New England's Blackstone River Valley.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Wheat Farms, Flour Mills, and Railroads: A Web of Interdependence

Examine the inextricable connections binding railroads, North Dakota wheat fields, and Minnesota flour mills during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Corinth, Mississippi
The Siege and Battle of Corinth: A New Kind of War

Understand how newly developed technologies affected two military engagements and one tiny town in Mississippi during the Civil War.

Independence, Missouri
Harry Truman and Independence, Missouri: "This is Where I Belong"

Learn why the life of the 33rd U.S. President serves as an example of civic duty and explore the town that helped form his character.

Las Vegas, Nevada
The Old Mormon Fort: Birthplace of Las Vegas, Nevada 

Learn how an obscure settlement created during Mormon expansion grew into a well-known and prosperous American city, and consider factors that hinder or contribute to the evolution of early settlements into permanent communities, towns, and cities.

Buffalo, New York
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site: Birthplace of the Modern Presidency
Examine the circumstances under which Theodore Roosevelt first became President of the United State and how his policies and actions modernized the presidency.

Dutchess County, New York
First Lady of the World: Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill

Examine how Roosevelt's activities at home reflected her interest in humanitarianism, as epitomized by her leadership in the creation of the UN's Declaration of Human Rights.
Springwood: Birthplace and Home to Franklin D. Roosevelt 
Understand how Springwood was the keystone in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's public as well as private life by playing host to some very dramatic events in American history.
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site: Monument to the Gilded Age
Discover how the Vanderbilts became one of the wealthiest families in America and how their lifestyle influenced business, culture, architecture, and society in ways that still affect us today.

Rensselaer County, New York
The Battle of Bennington: An American Victory

Learn how a battle in a tiny valley near the frontier in northern New York helped determine whether the American colonies would become an independent nation. Also understand why a town in Vermont erected a monument to the battle.

Saratoga Springs, New York
Saratoga: The Tide Turns on the Frontier

Learn about 18th-century warfare and the battle that was a turning point of the American Revolution.

Dayton, Ohio
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park: Where the Wright Brothers Conquered the Air

Discover the early influences that inspired the Wright brothers as inventors and the importance of the Wright Cycle Company Complex where they developed the key mechanical skills that profoundly impacted their invention of the airplane.
A Nation Repays Its Debt: The National Soldiers' Home and Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio
Learn about the evolution of a system to honor and care for U.S. veterans beginning with the creation of soldiers' homes and national cemeteries during and after the Civil War.

Astoria, Oregon
The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Documenting the Uncharted Northwest
Learn how the 1804-1806 expedition effectively opened the Northwest to the influence of the United States, established relations with numerous American Indian nations, and gathered useful scientific documentation about the West. [The property is Fort Clatsop in Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Astoria]

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: A Moravian Settlement in Colonial America
Learn why Moravian immigrants moved to the New World and how the towns they established embodied their religious beliefs.

Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Libraries: The Future Made Bright
Discover how and why industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie chose libraries to be among his greatest benefactions to the U.S., and assess the impact of libraries on American society.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Choices and Commitments: The Soldiers at Gettysburg
Trace the course of this Civil War battle and consider the wrenching personal choices that were made by soldiers on each side.

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
At a Crossroads: The King of Prussia Inn

Learn how transportation routes affected a local inn, how archeology revealed the inn's use over time, and how preservation efforts saved the historic site from suburban sprawl.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Independence Hall: International Symbol of Freedom Learn about Independence Hall and about how the international influence of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution led to the designation of the building in which they were adopted as a World Heritage Site.
The Liberty Bell: From Obscurity to Icon
Analyze the influences that shaped the symbolic meaning of the bell, and evaluate the various claims as to how and when it was cracked.

Harris County, Texas
America's Space Program: Exploring a New Frontier

Discover how NASA, private industry, and research institutions across the country cooperated to develop and implement the complex technology that enabled man to land on the moon.

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio Missions: Spanish Influence in Texas.

Explore a group of 18th-century missions in modern San Antonio to learn about Spanish influence on native peoples and the patterns of Texas culture.

Bennington, Vermont
The Battle of Bennington: An American Victory

Learn how a battle in a tiny valley near the frontier in northern New York helped determine whether the American colonies would become an independent nation. Also understand why a town in Vermont erected a monument to the battle.

Prince William County, Virginia
First Battle of Manassas: An End to Innocence

Study personal accounts of soldiers who fought in the first battle of the Civil War, and discover how the day set the tone for the many bloody battles to come.

Waterford, Virginia
Waterford, Virginia: From Mill Town to National Historic Landmark

Examine continuity and change in this rural Virginia town from its founding as a Quaker agricultural community and mill town in the 18th century to today.

King County, Washington
Gold Fever! Seattle Outfits the Klondike Gold Rush

Examine how the discovery of gold in Canada's remote Klondike region touched off the last great gold rush, creating an economic boom that changed the city of Seattle forever.

Spokane, Washington
Carnegie Libraries: The Future Made Bright

Discover how and why industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie chose libraries to be among his greatest benefactions to the U.S., and assess the impact of libraries on American society.
Roadside Attractions
Follow the highways of the 1920s and 1930s, exploring the whimsical, extravagant architecture that came with American auto culture.

For more information about the Preserve America initiative and other designated communities, please visit the Preserve America website.

To learn more about TwHP's other lessons, visit the Lesson Plan Descriptions page. ;