Editor’s Note: This July, 72 teachers from around the United States came to Washington for the first ever Ford’s Theatre Seat of War and Peace summer teacher workshop. This workshop was part of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Landmarks of American History and Culture program, which aims to connect K-12 teachers with the places where history occurred and with the people producing scholarship about that history. Below we share photos of the two weeks and reflections from some of the teachers who participated.
Sunday: How the Assassination Shaped Lincoln’s Legacy
“The workshop’s focus on memorials and perspective are valuable tools to share with my students, and will be applicable to any era of history. The revelation of how perspectives toward memorials change over time provided great insight into how we should study history in relation to society today.” – Barbara Fowler, Emporia, Kan.
Monday: From Joy to Grief in Washington
“I really learned more about the assassination plot then I had ever known before. One of the best things about the workshop was the intellectual exchange between all the participants. I felt like everyone valued each other’s opinion and reflected upon the readings, the lectures, the site visits and each other’s comments.” – Joe Moneymaker, Smithland, Ky.
Tuesday: The Hunt for Lincoln’s Killer
“One of the best parts about the entire experience was the location. Whether it was Ford’s Theatre, the Petersen House (where President Lincoln died) or a journey to Surrattsville, having the opportunity to see firsthand the locations of this historic event brings history to life, thus allowing me to bring my personal experience back to my students, with pictures included.” – Waylon Lewallen, Hope, Ark.
Wednesday: The News Spreads: Responses to the Assassination
“Under Abraham Lincoln’s watchful and, perhaps, encouraging eyes, 36 NEH Summer Scholars [per session] embarked on a week-long journey, not only reading and learning about Lincoln, Reconstruction, the Civil War and final emancipation, but traveling back in time by visiting sites where these events occurred. History came alive for us. The Summer Scholars used primary sources to develop lessons and activities to bring back to their home schools in order to share them with students and teachers.” – Diane Nelson, Darien, Ill.
Thursday: Reconstruction and African Americans
“As we considered Reconstruction, I remained struck at how sweeping legislation and reforms could be–on paper. Rights guaranteed to Americans under the 14th and 15th Amendments were chipped away, and oppression still exists. While I learned so much content that week, I’ll be grappling with how to best teach my students to be good stewards of their communities, who defend the right of everyone within their communities. “ – Kate Lukaszewicz, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Friday: Lincoln’s Legacy
“The complex mix of how Lincoln’s death clouds our assessment of his life — and likewise, how the events of his life directly led to his death — have created the Lincoln legacy we live with today. Unpacking that legacy with masterful historians and engaging facilitators was an enduring lesson from the Seat of War and Peace seminar, one that will powerfully affect my teaching, as my students and I consider not only what and who we remember, but why and how we remember our history.” – Mary Beth Donnelly, Arlington, Va.
“The workshop succeeded in demonstrating the “power of place.” Using place as a primary source is a way for teachers to make history relevant for our students.” – Karen Richey, Elk Grove, Calif.