Teachers Delve into Primary Sources and Explore Huntington Library Collections

Teachers Delve into Primary Sources and Explore Huntington Library Collections

This past summer was the tenth anniversary of an institute at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens called Nature, California’s Place, and The American Dream. The institute was organized by William Deverell, professor of history at USC and David Igler, professor of history at UC Irvine.  The primary source workshop portion was led by Raul Almada, Cotsen Mentor at West Whittier Elementary in the Whittier City School District.  The purpose of the institute has always been to explore the significance of California and its role in the history of the United States and how teachers of all grades might keep that in mind when teaching history in their classrooms.

The second purpose of the institute is to learn about how to use primary source materials in the classroom, not only for teaching history but teaching all subjects This year’s institute was attended by 26 teachers that ranged from elementary school to middle and high school.  The institute took place the week of June 24-29.  The historians who presented were Steven Hackel from UC Riverside, David Igler from UC Irvine, William Deverell from USC, Natalia Molina from USC, and Jessica Kim from Cal State Northridge.  They spoke on topics ranging from early Native Californians, the Missions, the Pacific, Manifest Destiny, and local Los Angeles history. This year the teachers could really see how historians research using primary source materials, interpret them, and then use them in their instruction with college level students.  This helped the attendees really understand how they might approach grade level historical concepts with their elementary, middle school, and high school students. The teachers also developed three lesson plans using Huntington resources in the lessons.  These lessons will be hosted on the huntington.org website in the future.


Some of the primary source materials used:


Waldseemuller Map (Prints in 12 sections total-6 sections in each set):


Part 1: (6 sections)



Part 2: (6 sections)



Bibliographic Info:




J Goldsborough Bruff:


The Mountain Lodge-In Prosperity



The Midnight Visitor



Camp Scene-Reading the latest news (4 months old)



The Weary Explorer



Scene on the Emigrant Trail, Near Settlements Nov. 1849



Mountain Hospital




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