Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014: A Year of Anniversaries

Happy New Year everybody!

2014 is going to be the year of anniversaries.

It is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and Civil Rights Act. These two national laws greatly influenced Montana--and Montana senators Lee Metcalf and Mike Mansfield played important roles in their passage. Wilderness50th.org is the national clearinghouse for events and projects relating to the Wilderness Act's anniversary. Many organizations are creating projects around the Civil Rights Act--so many that it is hard to choose just one to feature. It never hurts, though, to go the source--in this case the National Archives, which created a Teaching with Documents Lesson Plan, "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." 

2014 is the centennial of women's suffrage in Montana. The constitutional amendment giving Montana women the vote passed six years before women received the right to vote nationally. You'll be hearing a lot more about this over the course of the next year, but for now, I encourage you to visit the website we've created in the anniversary's honor, Women's History Matters (http://MontanaWomensHistory.org/) and to like the Montana Women's History Matters Facebook page.

2014 is also the 150th anniversary of the formation of Montana Territory. Humanities Montana has set up a Facebook page to share information on this sesquicentennial.

Finally, it is cowboy artist Charles M. Russell's 150th birthday. The Montana Historical Society (and no doubt, the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls) has big plans to celebrate this in March.

How, if at all, do anniversaries affect what you teach? Do students respond to these milestones?  Are they useful for focusing attention on sometimes overlooked topics? Or do you see them as distractions? Comments welcome as we head into this year of commemoration.

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