SOE News

Colonial Williamsburg and LEARN NC Embark On New Partnership Bringing Museum Skills to the Classroom

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and LEARN NC, an outreach program of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, have launched a new partnership to bring museum skills to the classroom.

The partnership has developed an online course to help teachers learn how to use historical artifacts in their classrooms. This instructor-led, media-rich social studies methods course centers on best practice teaching strategies, drawing on Colonial Williamsburg’s 25 years of successful teacher professional development at the world’s largest living history museum.

As a national advocate for history and social studies education, Colonial Williamsburg meets the needs of professional educators with classroom, blended and online learning. Since 1990, more than 18,000 teachers have participated in Colonial Williamsburg professional development training, including the summer Teacher Institute, on-site and off-site programs, and video conferences.

“Using Artifacts as a Bridge to the Past” employs the resources of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and its collections, related digital media and history methods. The course models hands-on interpretation and analysis of artifacts with students through videos, course readings, digital media, discussions and electronic postings.

Participants will work individually and as a learning community to construct an archive of related classroom resources and will also earn continuing education credits. The course is designed so that teachers can apply the techniques of artifact or object analysis immediately in their classroom instruction. More than two dozen teachers nationwide contributed to the development of “Using Artifacts as a Bridge to the Past” as beta testers with additional contributions from the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. To register for this course, go to http://tinyurl.com/mh482ef.

This new partnership between Colonial Williamsburg and LEARN NC is the first online course the museum has designed that merges effective museum skills with interactive history education methods to support teachers in meeting curricular objectives. Facilitated by Colonial Williamsburg staff educators, these courses help teachers bring history to life in their classrooms. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg’s developing distance learning programming for teachers, go to www.history.org/History/teaching/distancelearning/index.cfm

Background about the partners

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital of Williamsburg as a 21st-century center for history and citizenship. Innovative and interactive experiences, such as the street theatre Revolutionary City® and the RevQuest: Save the Revolution!TM series of technology-assisted alternate reality games, highlight the relevance of the American Revolution to contemporary life and the importance of an informed, active citizenry. The Colonial Williamsburg experience includes more than 400 restored or reconstructed original buildings, renowned museums of decorative arts and folk art, extensive educational outreach programs for students and teachers, lodging, culinary options from historic taverns to casual or elegant dining, the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club featuring 45 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son Rees Jones, a full-service spa and fitness center, pools, retail stores and gardens. Philanthropic support and revenue from admissions, products and hospitality operations sustain Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs and preservation initiatives. Read more about them at http://www.history.org/

LEARN NC serves more than 20,000 teachers and students daily, delivering continually updated lesson plans, best practices, classroom content, and professional development to schools in 50 states, more than 200 countries, and all 115 North Carolina school systems via experiential learning and its website at www.learnnc.org.