Think Historically, Act Locally

A Transformation in Teaching History

In July 2014 VFH African American Programs sponsored two, three-day professional development sessions for Virginia’s social studies teachers, supervisors, and librarians.  “Think Historically, Act Locally:  Using Nearby History in Classrooms and Museums” sought to revive an interest in local and state history by establishing connections between educators, Virginia’s African American historic sites, and members of Virginia Africana: The Network of Museum, History & Preservation Professionals.    

Through local site visits educators were able to supplement their own understanding of Virginia and African American history by using a method known as Historic Environment Education.  HEE merges learning with local resources to engage learners in their local history and environment.  This method uses the primary sources found at local sites to provide an active educational experience that inspires educators to:

  • learn from the people preserving and interpreting the sites
  • focus on events and people significant in local history
  • obtain relevant Virginia Standards of Learning resource materials, and
  • gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of history from a local perspective

 Tour 1 (Central, Coastal, and Northern Regions)

July 9-11, 2014

  • Virginia Historical Society
  • Maymont Mansion
  • Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church
  • Hampton University Museum
  • Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center
  • Alexandria Archaeology
  • Laurel Grove School
  • Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County

 Tour 2 (Central, Mountain, and Valley Regions)

July 21-23, 2014

  • Reynolds Homestead
  • Booker T. Washington National Monument
  • Legacy Museum
  • Moton Museum
  • Jefferson School

Both tours began and concluded at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in Charlottesville.