Thursday, May 3, 2007

Encounters with History: Learning and Teaching from Primary Sources

This was a program of the Boston Regional Library System. I was only able to get to the end of this presentation, so I missed the--already-blogged!--segments from:

Earle Havens, Acting Curator
Rare Books and Manuscripts, BPL

Beth Prindle
Manager, John Adams Library Project

I came in at the end of the presentation from:

Ron Grim, Curator and Roni Pick, Director
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center
This collection has many maps with birdseye views—users can zoom in on the maps to see buildings, ships, etc.

Marta Pardee-King, Curator of Social Sciences, BPL

Many electronic resources are available from home:
Using maps with students helps illuminate the events/locations (e.g., when the outline of Boston has changed)
Often the BPL has both scanned images and transcribed text from historic documents; helpful so students can understand the text, but also can see the original.
Marta showed examples and discussed ways to use these documents with students:
Textbooks from an older era
Images of people, both old and recent
Examples of changing vocabulary
Political commentary (e.g. cartoons)
Minorities are also represented
For genealogists/beyond the census: Ancestry and New England Ancestors (In library only), city directories, town histories

For a list of primary documents covered by the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, see:
Appendix A

An issue brought up during Q&A:
Availability of the online materials/indexes means the use of the physical materials is increasing as well, as users are more aware of what exists in these collections, raising preservation issues.

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