A Note on Links: When reading back posts, please be aware that links have a short half-life. You can find working links to all of the MHS resources on our Educator Resources Page.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mountain West Voices and Headwater News

I just discovered Mountain West Voices—a radio program that uses compelling human stories from the intermountain west to explore the complex history, culture, present and future of this extraordinary place. Broadcast on Montana Public Radio, the short features are also available via the web, where they are accompanied by images, transcripts, and notes in a section called “Reporter’s Notebook.” In the most recent episode, reporter Clay Scott travels to Montana's Fort Belknap Indian Reservation for a ceremony honoring two airmen returning from a tour in the Middle East.

You can find it here: http://mountainwestvoices.org/Default.aspx.

I learned about Mountain West Voices from Headwaters News, which is simply the best aggregator of information on contemporary western topics, from wolf wars to water rights to tribal issues. You can check out the content and subscribe (for FREE) here: http://www.headwatersnews.org/.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History School Affiliate program

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History supports “the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts.” By all accounts, its programs and materials are first rate—their focus is national, not regional (and they have very little specific to Montana), but for American history, it doesn’t get much better than Gilder Lehrman.
Gilder Lehrman is now accepting applications for its School Affiliate program. This program provides FREE professional development on a continuous basis for participating  schools.

Benefits to participating schools include
     • Invitations to professional development opportunities for teachers, including priority consideration in Gilder Lehrman’s renowned 40 summer seminars
     • Personalized master teacher consultations on the Civil War Essay Contest, National History Day, History Club, and Saturday Academies
     • Free and discounted GLI materials, including materials for Constitution Day and Black History Month, posters, booklets and calendars
     • Access to an exclusive Affiliate Schools section of the GLI website
     • 25% discount at the Gilder Lehrman Institute online store
     • Special access to the Gilder Lehrman Collection, recorded lectures from historians, and traveling exhibitions.

For more information, visit the Gilder Lehrman website http://www.gilderlehrman.org/

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Best Practices in Museum Education: Museums and Schools as Co-Educators

There are some exciting culminating events coming up as part of our “Best Practices in Museum Education: Museums and Schools as Co-Educators,” a 2010-2011 grant program. The program is  administered by the Montana Historical Society and funded by the Office of Public Instruction’s Indian Education division.
     Six communities participated in this program, and in each, students, teachers, and museum professionals joined together to engage in serious study on topics relating to Montana Indian history and culture. In all cases, student research is being shared with the larger public, either through programs, publications, educational footlocker, or museum exhibits.
    For example, Columbus eighth and twelfth graders are working with the Museum of the Beartooths to create educational material on the history of Crow people and the second Crow Agency in Stillwater County, including a booklet that will be available through the museum. Choteau students are assisting The Old Trail Museum in improving their exhibit on the Old North Trail. Cut Bank students are studying boarding schools, and the Glacier County Historical Society plans to use their research to create a living history program. Great Falls students worked with the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center to study native plants and created a booklet and educational games that to share the information they learned with other students.
Several of the partners are hosting culminating events to share their work with the public.
  • On May 12, Hardin High School students, who have been studying Crow Fair, are participating in the Big Horn County Museum’s Kids History Day, a day of hands-on activities for grade school students. 
  • Livingston students working with the Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County will share their research at a public gala on June 3.
  • On June 4, the Museum of the Beartooths in Columbus is inviting the public to attend the unveiling of a commissioned piece for the Museum by Crow architect Daniel Glenn.  The work is a small-scale replica of the Absaroka Agency Fort, which served as the second Crow Agency from 1875-1884. A commemorative community event near the site of the historic Absaroka Agency will precede the unveiling at 11:00 am, and is free and open to the public. (Those wishing to attend the onsite gathering should RSVP to event facilitator Shane Doyle, at 406-209-0605 or shanemrdoyle@yahoo.com.)
Whether the culminating project is a living history program, booklet, educational footlocker, museum exhibit, or presentation, each school-museum collaboration is helping to fulfill Montana’s constitutional mandate: to recognize “the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians and … to provide education preserving the cultural integrity of each Montana tribal nation.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not Montana, but oh so cool...

Here are some social studies/history links I’ve come across lately that I thought were useful, fascinating, or otherwise noteworthy—even though they are not directly (or in some cases even tangentially) tied to Montana.

Wessels Living History Farm, York, Nebraska, website looks at how agriculture has changed from the 1920s to the present. (If you know about agriculture and farming history, I’d love to hear from you how the Montana experience compares).

Minnesota Public Radio did a fascinating story on letters written by Dakota men imprisoned after the Dakota Conflict of 1862.

Each year a Book Review Committee appointed by the National Council for Social Studies creates annotated book lists of “Notable Tradebooks for Young People.” Books selected for this bibliography are written primarily for children in grades K-8. Titles are arranged by broad subject categories and subthemes. Annotators also indicate the thematic strand of Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies to which the book relates.

Speaking of booklists: Dottie Susag has created a series of IEFA bibliographies with Accelerated Reader designations:  

The Library of Virginia has digitized surveys completed by soldiers returning from World War I, or their surviving kin. I was fascinated by the answers veterans gave to questions regarding the effect of the war and military service on states of mind and religious beliefs. A fuller review and link to the resource can be found here: 

Happy surfing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April is Archaeology Month

Order your FREE Montana Archaeology Month poster here.

Find a list of statewide events here.

Ellen Baumler wrote a good article on how archaeology has contributed to our understanding of Montana’s Chinese history—available online here.

The Society’s most comprehensive archaeology curriculum remains Montana Ancient Teachings. The entire curriculum can be downloaded as a PDF document here.

We also offer the Stones and Bones footlocker—now with revised user guide. Reserve it to use in your class (either for this year or next year) here.

Our friends at Project Archaeology also have excellent curriculum resources (and professional development opportunities).

MHS to Sponsor Teaching with Primary Sources Workshop--Apply Now

We’re looking for a Few Good Teachers…

To join fellow teachers and academic and public historians, including MHS staff, to gain a greater understanding of Montana history while exploring how using primary sources can improve student learning.

Participants will

·         Receive a travel stipend and scholarship to attend the Montana History Conference, No Ordinary Time: War, Resistance, and the Montana Experience,  Missoula, September 22-24, 2011
·         Receive a travel stipend to attend the Montana History Day Competition, Helena, April 2012
·         Gain in-depth training and ongoing support for integrating primary sources into the classroom
·         Connect with other teachers engaged in inquiry learning
·         Earn OPI Renewal Units
·         Receive money to reimburse their school for paying a substitute

Please consider applying for this exciting new program: “Teaching with Primary Sources: War, Resistance and the Montana Experience.” Applications are due May 15, 2011.

More information here. Please share widely with your colleagues!

The U.S. Census rocks!

This probably marks me as a true history geek, but I love the census—both for what I can find out about individuals and for what aggregate data tell us about communities, the state, and the country as a whole.

Below are some good census sites.

Historical census information is available through the University of Virginia Library's historical census browser. It offers access to data describing the people and the economy of the U.S. for each state and county from 1790 to 1960. This is one of my all-time favorite websites.

The New York Times created an interactive map, Immigration Explorer, that shows the density of various foreign-born nationals in different regions of the United States from 1880 to 2000.

The U.S. Census Bureau website provides statistical information on the United States.

The Montana Census and Economic Information Center offers links to current and historic census and economic data. Particularly interesting is the historical population data.  

Ancestry.com is the best-known genealogy site, but it requires a paid subscription. (You might check your local library, genealogical society or LDS church if you are interested in gaining access.) One benefit to ancestry.com is you can browse the census, so you can look at neighborhoods—not just individuals. If you are looking for an individual in the census, try searching https://www.familysearch.org/, which has the advantage of being free. (Family Search also has better access to marriage records than does Ancestry.)

What’s interesting about the census? The census is an important tool for researching families, historic properties, and social history more generally. Here are a few worksheets we created to accompany the textbook, Montana: Stories of the Land, using census data:

Chapter 6: Gold Rush—analyzing population growth

Chapter 15: The Progressive Era—analyzing immigration patterns

Chapter 18: The Great Depression—analyzing population trends

And here’s census data the Society aggregated as a tool to discover more about the history of African Americans in the state (as well as a lesson plan that has students analyzing this data).

Do you ever use the census in your classroom? If so, how and why?

Picturing the Past--A New IEFA Lesson Plan from MHS

MHS has a new IEFA lesson plan, created by Bozeman high school teacher Derek Strahn, with assistance from Joe Horse Capture, the Associate Curator of Native American Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. (Funding for this lesson plan came from the OPI Indian Education Division).

Recommended for use in grades seven through nine, the activity challenges students to examine historical photographs while considering issues of cultural change and continuity over time. We have links to it from our website (both on our Indian Education for All Lesson Plans page, which can be found under Educator Resources in the Outreach and Interpretation portion of the MHS website) and from the For Educators page of Chapter 11 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook companion website.

I’m excited about this lesson plan, which offers an interesting way to help students interpret historic photographs. I’d be interested to learn what you think of it—and, if you use it—how your students respond.

Art and History

Four very different sites linking art and history came to my attention recently.

The first is the National Museum of the American Indian online exhibit, “Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women’s Dresses.” http://www.nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/identity_by_design/IdentityByDesign.html

The second two are two sites that look at the artwork of Ben Steele: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/bataan/gallery/index.html and http://www.artmontana.com/article/steele/. Steele, who grew up near Roundup, was on the art faculty of at Eastern Montana College (now known as MSU-Billings). He is also a WWII vet and a survivor of the Bataan Death March, who documented his experience while in a Japanese POW camp. I have put links to these pages on the “Chapter 19: World War II in Montana” page of the Montana: Stories of the Land companion website: http://svcalt.mt.gov/education/textbook/Chapter19/Chapter19.asp

The fourth is a video of Joe Horse Capture, the Associate Curator of Native American Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts: http://www.mnoriginal.org/art/?p=1675.  In it, Joe talks about what curators do, how to distinguish moccasins of different tribes, and an exhibit he curated titled “From Our Ancestors: Art of the White Clay People” (White Clay are more commonly known as Gros Ventre and are associated with the Fort Belknap Reservation. Joe’s an enrolled member.)

Do you successfully use art in your Montana history classroom (or teach Montana history in your art classroom)? If you have any favorite resources, lesson plans, or sure-fire techniques, let us know and we will pass them along.

More sources for historic photographs

Several people responded to the last post with suggestions of other sources for historic photographs:

·         the K. Ross Toole Archives at the University of Montana’s Mansfield Library ; 
·         the Denver Public Library, which has one of the best collections of western history images anywhere;
·         Helena As She Was, which offers an amazing collection of historic photos of Helena;
·         and the Library of Congress's American Memory project.

This last site is voluminous and includes images from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection of images from the 1930s and 1940s. (Think “Migrant Mother.”) In addition to the well-known black and white images are rare color images, from the days when color photography was in its infancy.  

A nice gallery of some of the early color images from the FSA (including two from Montana) is here: Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 Photo Blog. 

Online sources for historical photographs

Looking for a good historic image?

Several digital photograph archives have been brought to my attention recently. The hard-working folks at the Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County, in Livingston, Montana, have created the Bill and Doris Whithorn Online Database, which includes over thousands of historic photographs, mostly from Park County and southwestern Montana. Check it out at http://yellowstone.pastperfect-online.com/.

Museum of the Rockies has two online digital photograph archives: http://www.montana.edu/wwwmor/photoarc/. Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains features images from three of the Montana State University campuses ( Bozeman, Billings, and Havre), the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, and Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, Montana. The Ron V. Nixon Railroad Photography Collection , which provides access to Ron V. Nixon Railroad Photography Collection at the Museum of the Rockies Photo Archive. That collection features 20,000 photographs documenting the Northern Pacific Railway and several other northwestern railroads.

Outside Montana, the Oregon State archives has launched a new collection of Western Waters related images using Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/osucommons/collections/72157622545937447/.

And of course there is Montana Memory Project: http://www.mtmemory.org/. This digital archives is so big, that it is sometimes easier to approach it through individual collections, using either the “Browse” feature or the “Advance Search” feature. Among the great photograph collections available through Montana Memory are “Central Montana Historical Photographs” (almost 1,000 images posted by the Lewistown Public Library; “MHS Photo Archives” (300 images and growing from the Montana Historical Society’s collection); the “Jack  L. Demmons Bonner School Photographs” (over 1,600 photographs depicting life in and around Bonner, Montana, from the late 1800s through the 1950s).

Finally, on the national front, the January issue of TeachingHistory.org included a link to this article on how to find good websites filled with reliable images for teaching U. S. History:  http://teachinghistory.org/digital-classroom/ask-a-digital-historian/24089