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Teaching with Historic Places

Heritage Education Services

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.


Recreation, Leisure, and Tourism

To better understand the continuing need for Americans to explore new places, new forms of recreation, and escape everyday life, Teaching with Historic Places posted on the web the following complete lesson plans that study the history of recreation, leisure time, and tourism in America. Created by National Park Service interpreters, preservation professionals, and educators, these lessons are free and ready for immediate classroom use by students in history and social studies classes.

Boston's Arnold Arboretum: A Place for Study and Recreation (56)
Discover how the first arboretum in the United States became part of the burgeoning urban park movement in the second half of the 19th century. (National Historic Landmark)

Bryce Canyon National Park: Hoodoos Cast Their Spell (64)
Explore the natural wonders of this once remote area in Utah and learn how it became a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century and finally a national park. (National Park/Includes Bryce Canyon Lodge, a National Historic Landmark)

Camp Misty Mount: A Place for Regrowth (47)
Inspect a recreational demonstration area (RDA) in western Maryland, created as part of a Great Depression government relief program. (National Park)

Chicago's Columbus Park: The Prairie Idealized (81)
Learn about a famous landscape artist and his efforts to promote conservation and an appreciation for the native plant life of the United States.

The Emerald Necklace: Boston's Green Connection (86)
Learn about Frederick Law Olmsted and his philosophy about parks and cities as well as city life during the Industrial Revolution. (Includes Arnold Arboretum, a National Historic Landmark)

Glen Echo Park: Center for Education and Recreation (24)
Trace the evolution of this Maryland site from a chapter of the Chautauqua movement, to an amusement park, to a national park. (National Park)

Going-to-the-Sun Road: A Model of Landscape Engineering (95)
Learn about some of the practical problems of constructing roads in difficult terrain and about the added challenge of building in such a way as to enhance, rather than damage, fragile and beautiful places such as Glacier National Park. (National Park/National Historic Landmark/Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site)

The Invention Factory: Thomas Edison's Laboratories (25)
Tour Edison's West Orange complex where his determination to invent things to improve the lives of people spurred products that still affect our lives and leisure time today. (National Park)

Mammoth Cave: Its Explorers, Miners, Archeologists, and Visitors (35)
Tour the world's longest cave, a geological wonder, and assess the ways it has been used and preserved as a historic resource. (National Park/UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Mount Auburn Cemetery: A New American Landscape (84)
Explore the country's first large-scale designed landscape open to the public that spawned the development of other rural cemeteries, public parks, and designed suburbs.

Run for Your Lives! The Johnstown Flood of 1889 (5)
Determine how environmental management, technology, and the leisure activities of 19th-century industrialists contributed to a disaster in Pennsylvania that shocked the nation. Also understand why an inclined railway, built as part of measure to carry men and women to safety, was restored and operated under the auspices of the Cambria County Tourist Council and the Johnstown Chamber of Commerce. (National Park)

Roadside Attractions (6)
Follow the highways of the 1920s and 1930s, exploring the whimsical, extravagant architecture that came with American auto culture.

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