History Labs in Your Classroom!
Have a field trip experience in your classroom! History Lab programs are designed to be brought to your school. A History Lab is an in-class interactive program that includes the use of primary sources. A museum teacher (often in historic costume) leads the activity. A program offering lasts 30-60 minutes, depending on the grade level and nature of the activity. A History Lab is suitable for students of all ages and abilities.
A History Lab is most effective when all students have an opportunity to interact with the museum teacher and the program materials. Interactions might include activities such as: learning a dance; trying on clothing; role-playing; analyzing historic images and text; handling, analyzing, or categorizing reproductions of artifacts; or tasting food. Foodways, music, daily life, textiles, and the 19th century work world are among the topics that may be incorporated into a History Lab program.
These programs cost $250 a day for up to 4 hours (4 classes) and up to 100 students. Add $100 if more than 100 students will be attending. We do not present these programs to more than one class of students at a time. In other words, you may not have four classes congregate in the auditorium for a session. The programs are meant to be hands-on experiences for class-size groups. If your school is more than 40 miles away from Deerfield, there will be an additional fee of $30.00. Contact Lynne Manring 413-774-7476 X330 for more information or to book a History Lab for your school.
Classroom History Lab Programs
- Paul Revere's Ride: the Story, the Hero, the Truth
How much truth was there depicted in Grant Wood's 1931 painting, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" and in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Paul Revere's Ride"? Students will read Revere's own words about his famous ride and compare it to the poem and painting to discover the fact and fiction in each. Students will also examine John Singleton Copley's painting of Paul Revere for an idea of why Revere might have been considered an influential figure before his 1775 ride.
- Paul Revere's Ride: the Story, the Hero, the Truth
Students will examine Grant Wood's painting, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" for hints about the story depicted in the painting. They will also glean more of the story from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Paul Revere's Ride", and they will examine discrepancies between what really happened during his ride and what the poem and painting illustrate.
- The Four Freedoms
Students will examine Norman Rockwell's series of paintings, "The Four Freedoms", with a close focus on "Freedom of Speech". They will read excerpts from Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" address, and describe how a sampling of posters and ads created during WWII connect to it. Students will also ponder what made these paintings so incredibly popular and well-loved during that time.
- The Four Freedoms
Students will examine Norman Rockwell's series of paintings, "The Four Freedoms", with a close focus on "Freedom of Speech". They will pair a sampling of posters and ads created during WWII with the other 3 freedom images and they will study the posters and ads to gauge how people on the home front were feeling. Students will also ponder what made the "Four Freedoms" so incredibly popular and well-loved during that time.
- George Washington, the American Cincinnatus
When a likeness of George Washington comes to mind, quite often it is his image as it appears on a $1 bill or a quarter. These images were created by Gilbert Stuart and it is said that many of us only envision George Washington through Stuart's eyes. Students will examine Stuart's Lansdowne portrait of Washington and a variety of other images to discover which of his character traits they illustrate. Students will also read Washington's resignation speech and compare him to Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.
- Migrant Mother
Throughout our nation's history, migrations from one area to another within the country have occurred. Students will learn about the plight of dustbowl refugees in California in the 1930's by closely examining Dorothea Lange's photo, "Migrant Mother", other dust storm photos, and the songs of Woody Guthrie. Students will then compare the dustbowl migration to the migration caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
- Seadogs of the Caribbean
Learn about what constitutes "treasure" through a hands-on activity and find out how it connects to the Triangle Trade. Also, examine a map to learn about treasure Captain Kidd is said to have buried in Massachusetts! A pre-lab lesson is available.
- Lewis and Clark: Mapping Native Homelands;
During their exploration of the vast expanses of the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark traveled through the homelands of many Native tribes. In this History Lab, students listen to two different interpretations (one Mandan, one Lewis) of the same landscape and examine the resulting maps, noting differences. Students then use descriptions in journal entries to create maps of Celilo Falls (Oregon) from the Wishram and Euro-American perspective. Pre-visit materials are available.
- Washington Crossing the Delaware
The painter of Washington Crossing the Delaware (1850), Emanuel Leutze, created a window onto a true story that had at its core a very dangerous problem and a secret plan. By carefully looking at this famous work of art, students will gather clues about the nature of this dilemma and how General George Washington and his soldiers worked together to find a solution.
- Washington Crossing the Delaware
Students will understand that when deciding how to represent a true historical event, an artist makes choices. These choices influence what his or her final painting suggests about the people and events involved in the original historical episode. Students will compare and contrast America's most famous representation of Washington Crossing the Delaware (by Emanuel Leutze, 1850) with a version of the crossing story told in a modern-day picture book to compare and contrast two versions of the same true story.
- Vote, Vote, Who's Got the Vote?
Students' examination of The County Election (1852) by George Caleb Bingham will reveal clues about what the "voting picture" looked like in this country in the mid-nineteenth century. An interactive lesson featuring fictional and real profiles of Americans who did or did not qualify to vote will reveal what the "voting picture" looked like at other points in our nation's history. Students will understand that while virtually every American over the age of 18 today has the right to vote, the story of suffrage in America is one of starts, stops, advances, and reversals.
- Vote, Vote, Who's Got the Vote?
Students will compare the African American voting experience before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with the experience suggested by Martin Puryear’s installation entitled Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996). They will learn about the history of suffrage for the African American population through a variety of primary and secondary sources including a 1955 Mississippi voter registration form, a recent oral history account and James Karales' famous photograph, Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965 (1965).
- The Mum Bett Story: "Keepin' Still and Mindin' Things"
In 1781, Sheffield, Massachusetts, resident Mum Bett (Elizabeth Freeman) successfully sued for her freedom from slavery. She had been greatly influenced by hearing conversations in her master's house about a new constitution for the state, and by attending a public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Students will examine primary sources and use Readers' Theater to learn about the life and achievements of this remarkable woman. A pre-lab lesson is available.
- In Flew Enza: The Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918
Enter the “quarantine zone” and examine primary sources to discover the impact of the epidemic in the Greenfield area and what was being done about it. Students will also take a whiff of some home remedies meant to make the patient feel better, and they will discuss the merits of these treatments
- 19th Century School Lesson
Grades 1-8, Maximum of 25 students.
An early 19th century one-room school lesson to include role-play and a historic lesson. Supplies: grades 3-8 students will need scissors and one piece each of 8 1/2 x 11 white paper. Grades 1 & 2 need only the white paper.
- Art and Geometry in American Quilts
Quilting goes back to ancient times, but the beauty of repetitive "patchwork" blocks, which is associated with traditional American quilts, is the invention of frugal and creative American women of the 19th century. After a brief introduction with lots of visuals, the students play with both cloth and paper half-square-triangle units to explore the symmetrical design possibilities associated with this popular quilt design element. They slide, flip, and rotate their block designs, working both individually and in groups. This program is appropriate for a wide range of students, since the designs can be as simple or complicated as the students choose to make them. If time allows, they may each design a paper quilt block that can be glued and displayed.
- Civil War
While studying the Civil War usually involves dates, battles and generals, this History Lab gives students insights into the lives of an ordinary young man and young woman involved with the war, through an examination of their possessions. See how using objects can enhance study of an era.
- Colonial Clothing
Grades K–5, Maximum of 20 students
Students will have the opportunity to try on reproduction clothing from the 18th century.
- Dame School
Students will experience an 18th century school lesson. Activities will include role-play, recitation using hornbooks, and simple stitchery.
- Early American Chores
Grades K–5, Maximum of 25 students
A museum teacher sets up chore stations in the classroom for students to cycle through. Chores might include drawing with a quill pen, simple stitchery, churning butter and stringing squash or apples for drying. Including the museum teacher, 4 adults are needed to supervise activities.
- Alphabet Soup, "THAT Man", and Emergency Beer: The
From Alphabet Soup to WPA Zoos, students will explore jive talk, try to make a teacher's depression-era salary cover a family's expenses, and create a textbook timeline of the decade's events.
- Vamos! Puerto Rican Migration to the Northeast
Grades 7 – 12
Students examine primary sources to learn about the history of Puerto Rican migration to the Pioneer Valley. They will recreate the tradition of “el lector”, a reader in a cigar factory, as they study the cultural and literary contributions of the Puerto Rican community to the Northeast. News articles reflecting attitudes towards the newcomers may be used.
How might Eastern European immigrants have sustained their culture in the face of assimilation? Activities might include the reenactment of an arrival exam, exploration of a sampling of belongings, tasting food and sharing immigration stories.
A room that can be darkened works best.
This activity will include a close look at early lighting devices and their fuels. The lighting devices might include spermaceti candles, oil lamps, floating candles and more.
- Music, Manners & Allemandes
A microphone would be appreciated but is not required. A museum teacher in historic garb leads your class in a hands-on workshop that includes old-time dance exercises, bows and curtsies, a historic dance, and a discussion on etiquette.
- Native American Life
Students will examine a wide variety of touch-its including tools, food, clothing, etc. Might include toys and games, and other aspects of Native American life.
A museum teacher portrays a Pocumtuck (Native American) woman who left her homeland in the 17th Century. She discusses the problems her people had with the English settlers and why she chose to leave the area. Issues of land ownership, the beaver trade, and assimilation are included.
- Old Time Amusements
Supplies needed if constructing a toy or game: scissors, glue and colored pencils or crayons. A potpourri of activities are sampled including indoor and (if weather or large space permits) outdoor games and old-fashioned toys.
- Roaring 20s (Postwar World War I and the Jazz Age)
Students will explore the youth culture of this time period and learn how events following the 'Great War' led to gangster crime, women's rights, and the Black Renaissance. Activities might include samplings of period dance music, clothing to try on, learning some slang from the period, and examining artifacts.
- Speak Up!
Up to the mid-20th century, elocution was considered an indispensable skill for every citizen of a democracy to master. From the silent "tableau" to vibrant oratory, this lively, participatory program is guaranteed to awaken your students' hidden theatrical talents. Historic offerings of recitations, sayings, and poems can be tailored to your curriculum.
- Made in America
Students will examine and discuss many trade goods of the colonial era. They will use primary source documents to determine which items were imported from Great Britain and which ones were exported. Trade routes might also be discussed.
Find out what people from a long time ago put on first. Students will have an opportunity to examine and try on old-fashioned underwear such as hoops, corsets, and drawers, from a variety of eras.
- Voices from the Past
A museum teacher in 18th century clothing and in role will tell the story of one of the captives from the 1704 raid on Deerfield.
- World War II Homefront
Students relive what it may have been like for school children at home during the war. They explore wartime news, music, and food rationing, employing all senses in their learning. The experience is brought "home" through locally-based letters and war memorabilia.