Monday, August 2, 2010

The Library Company Hosts Two Summer Programs for Educators

During June and July the Library Company hosted two National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded workshops co-sponsored by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) that brought in teachers from all over the United States to learn more about our nation’s rich history. Both groups utilized the Library Company’s seminar facilities at the adjacent Cassatt House as well as the extensive collections available in our reading rooms.

In June two groups of 25 community college faculty participated in NEH Landmarks week-long workshops on “Revolution to Republic: Philadelphia’s Place in the Early Republic.” Under Project co-Directors Dr. Roderick McDonald and Dr. Michelle Craig McDonald, the two groups explored America’s history through Philadelphia field trips, guest lectures, and primary source materials.

Dr. Rich Newman directed a Summer Seminar for School Teachers in an examination of abolitionist history in Philadelphia. “The Abolitionist Movement: Fighting Slavery and Racial Injustice from the Revolution to the Civil War” brought in 14 school teachers and 2 graduate students from mid-June through mid-July. The group explored abolitionism through primary sources, site visits, and the expertise of guest scholars.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Delaware State History Day

The Library Company and its history were highlighted in a student project submitted for the Delaware State History Day competition held this past April. All over the country, middle school and high school students competed by submitting research papers, creating websites, making documentaries, staging performances, or producing exhibitions based on a general theme, which this year was Innovation in History: Impact and Change. Rachel Cress and Danielle DeCostanza, juniors at Padua Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, placed third in the Senior Group Exhibit category with their project on the Library Company.

Inspired with the idea for the project by Padua Academy’s librarian Barbara Ruszkowski, Rachel and Danielle worked diligently for months researching, designing, and constructing their award-winning exhibit. In order to replicate the Library Company 's original building, they studied exterior and interior images and created a miniature. The entire process took nearly six months. “The process was long, but fun!” they said. “We enjoyed painting, and our favorite part was using cat-litter to create the textured look of brick on the outside!” Danielle added, “This process was enjoyable because we worked on it as partners and as close friends.” The collaboration made learning about the evolution of the library system in America and participating in History Day even more memorable. According to Rachel, “While working in the library and doing our project on a library, we realized how privileged we are today to have all kinds of books available to us at our fingertips.” “To us,” commented Danielle, “The Library Company is one of the most innovative institutions in America.”

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