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Educator Workshops

Three people huddled together to study a book that is open on a table.

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.

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

Our 2021 workshop will focus on primary sources related to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad using the Harriet Hayden Albums as a starting point.

We'll have hands-on opportunities to work with rare materials from the Athenæum's collections. And guests from the Boston African American National Historic Site, Historic Newton, and the Museum of African American History will lead special workshop sessions.


  • Tuesday, July 13 from 6 to 7 pm | Keynote lecture by Dr. Kellie Carter Jackson (to be held virtually)
  • Wednesday, July 14 from 8:30 am to 5 pm | Workshop sessions
  • Thursday, July 15 from 8:30 am to 5 pm | Workshop sessions
  • Friday, July 16 from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm | Optional research and writing day

We plan to hold this year's workshop in person. Only the keynote lecture on Tuesday, July 13, will be held virtually.

Email with questions.

Register for the workshop.

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Past Workshops

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.