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Educator Workshops

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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, pre-service teachers, homeschool educators, 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.

Save the date: August 9-12, 2022: Active Citizenship

Registration will open in early 2022.

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Past Workshops

July 13-16, 2021: Abolition and the Underground Railroad

Our 2021 workshop focused on primary sources related to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad, using the Harriet Hayden Albums as a starting point. Visits to the Boston African American Historic Site and the Museum of African American History offered opportunities to consider historic sites as primary sources, and a guest speaker from Historic Newton led a session on project based learning. Dr. Kellie Carter Jackson gave the keynote lecture, "Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence."

August 26-28, 2020: Changing Status and Role of Women in American History, 1776-1920

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 focused on materials related to women's history from the Revolutionary War through World War I. The workshop featured a keynote lecture, "Images in the Women's Suffrage Movement," by Allison K. Lange, PhD.

July 11-12, 2019: Teaching the Civil War

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 Individual Membership to the Athenæum.

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