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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.

Professional Development

Gettysburg Battlefield, Historic Red Mill, Stewart Building, Grand Canyon

Most of us can recall a moment when we realized we were standing on a spot suffused with history. It might have been the home of a famous person, the site of a famous battle, or a neighborhood that recalls life a century ago. 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 that 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 contains most of our professional development materials, including materials highlighted below. There you'll find introductory PowerPoints and video clips, articles by professors of education and classroom teachers, sample workshop agendas, links to other resources, and more.


Video Clip

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.




CRM, Creative Teaching With Historic Places Cover

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.




CRM, Teaching with Historic Places Cover

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.




Lesson Plan Example

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.




Participants in a Teaching with Historic Places field study in Cleveland, OH. Photo Courtesy of Beth Boland.

Teaching with Historic Places occasionally offers 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. Much of this information is now available on the Teaching Teachers the Power of Place website.

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.