About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Edward Penniman House" and related materials from the archives of Cape Cod National Seashore. It was written by Barbara Dougan, National Park Service Education Specialist, and Cathy Skowron, National Park Service Interpretive Park Ranger. The lesson was edited by the Teaching with Historic Places staff. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in US history, social studies, and geography in units on maritime history and the whaling industry.
Time period: 1850-1874
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To chart places and regions associated with the whaling industry on a historic whaling ground map.
2) To describe the impact of the whaling industry on a captain and his family.
3) To identify the global, cultural, and economic connections made by the whaling industry in the middle through late 1800s and the impact of the whaling industry on ethnic diversity in the United States.
4) To explore the concept of "sky glow" and list ways to protect the night sky that in the past was used to navigate by.
5. To research the historic homes in their community that are historically significant because of their association with a profitable industry of a particular time.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and a world map showing 19th-century whaling grounds;
2) four readings on whaling history, the Penniman family, cultural connections, and the Penniman House;
3) four photographs of the Penniman House, the Atwood-Higgens House, Captain Penniman, and scrimshaw.
Visiting the site
Cape Cod is a peninsula in the shape of a bold, flexed arm extending some 60 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and forming the easternmost part of Massachusetts. Cape Cod National Seashore lies mostly along the eastern portion of the Cape and is about 100 miles southeast of Boston. Cape Cod National Seashore contains 44,000 acres along a 40-mile section between Chatham and Provincetown, which sits at the end of the peninsula. The Captain Penniman House is located off Route 6 in the Fort Hill area of Eastham. Cape Cod National Seashore offers tours of the Captain Penniman House during the summer months. Educators should contact the Salt Pond Visitor Center in advance of visiting. The phone number is (508) 255-3421. Additional information about the seashore may be obtained by writing to the Park Superintendent, Cape Cod National Seashore, 99 Marconi Site Road, Wellfleet, MA 02667, or by visiting the park's website.