The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is offering a one-week NEH Summer Institute June 21-26, 2020 entitled Becoming U.S.: The Immigrant Experience through Primary Sources. Thirty educators will be introduced to archival research and provided strategies for using primary source materials to build lesson plans within their social studies and civics education curriculum around the theme of immigration. In partnership with the Heinz History Center of Pittsburgh and the National Museum of American Jewish History, the institute will examine complexities of immigration experiences throughout American history, placing lessons about the past within historical and contemporary contexts.
The institute will simultaneously engage the teachers with HSP’s renowned archival collections that document the stories of our nation’s past immigrant groups and their experiences while delving into how to use these stories and collections to make social studies curriculum more effective. Specifically, we will introduce a teaching model that encourages students to pair historical research with family and community history, making the topic of immigration resonant with the students on a personal level. Immigration has played a critical role in the development of our country as we know it today, and almost all students can relate in some way to the stories of past immigrants and how it plays into the definition of what it means to “be American.”