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Educator Workshops

Primary Sources in the Classroom

Each summer the Boston Athenæum holds a workshop for educators on expanding the use of visual and textual primary sources in classroom teaching. The workshop, designed primarily for teachers of students in grades 5 through 12, is of value to and open to educators of all grade levels, homeschool educators, school librarians, and museum educators.

Workshop participants engage in a combination of group and individual activities, including an introduction to the Athenæum and its resources, analyzing primary sources for inquiry-based learning techniques, methods for discovering and selecting primary sources, and developing new strategies for employing primary sources.

The Boston Athenæum is a Professional Development Provider as recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Licensed Massachusetts educators receive at least 20 Professional Development Points (PDPs) for successfully completing the workshop and all assignments and assessments.


August 26-28, 2020

$75 per person


As part of the Boston Athenæum's year-long program series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the 2020 workshop will focus on materials related to women's history from the Revolutionary War through World War I. 

This year's workshop will be held in a hybrid format, with online class time on Wednesday, August 26; Thursday, August 27; and Friday, August 28, including a keynote lecture, "Images in the Fight for Women's Votes," with Dr. Allison K. Lange at 6 pm on Thursday, August 27. Particpants are encouraged to visit the Boston Athenæum in person to view and work individually with primary source materials and develop a lesson plan as a final project. 

Workshop Schedule
August 26
11 am to 12 pm (Optional)
Pre-Workshop Session
Orientation to searching the library's catalog and digital collections
2-2:20 pm
Welcome and


2:30 to 3:30 pm
Session 1
4 to 5 pm
Session 2
August 27
11 am to 12 pm (Optional)
Pre-Workshop Session (Repeat)
Orientation to searching the library's catalog and digital collections
2:30 to 3:30 pm
Session 3
4 to 5 pm 
Session 4
6 to 7 pm
Keynote Lecture: "Images in the Fight for Women's Votes,"
Allison K. Lange
August 28
2:30 to 3:30 pm
Session 5
4 to 5 pm
Session 6 


The workshop is open to classroom teachers of all grades, homeschool educators, school librarians, and museum educators. Participants are expected to attend all workshop sessions. To attend virtual workshop sessions, participants must have their own computer or tablet with audio and video capabilities.

Please contact Director of Education Hannah Weisman at or 617-720-7617 with questions or to request accommodations.


Past Workshop

July 11-12, 2019

The 2019 workshop used the Athenæum’s exceptional collections of Civil War-related materials to demonstrate and allow participants to develop a range of methods for reading, analyzing, and implementing the use of primary sources.

"Primary Sources in the Classroom" is sponsored in part by Taylor Mudge through the Mudge Fellowship Program. Participating educators are designated as Mudge Education Associates at the Boston Athenæum and receive a one-year Athenæum membership.

Special thanks to Boston University Center for the Humanities for supporting this initiative through PhD Graduate Internships in the Humanities.