Teaching Preservation (& Diversity)

Posted on: March 12th, 2009 by Guest Writer

 

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Notes from the Teacher's Desk

As an educator, you can’t make important classroom decisions in a vacuum.

In Research History, I always try to interject a healthy dose of diversity into my curriculum, but not just because of the rich and invaluable context it adds to my lesson plans. You see, the State of Ohio has the following stats to report when it comes to the demographic make-up of my rural school district:

.7% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2.8% Black/Non-Hispanic, 3.6% Multi-Racial and 91.9% Caucasian/Non-Hispanic.

Because diversity doesn’t necessarily jump out at us from the window of our classroom, I feel like integrating it into our projects is something that I simply must do whenever possible.

That’s why I make the choices that I do. It’s also why I think now – as we leave Black History Month, enter Women’s History Month, and prepare for the many others in line on the calendar – is the perfect time to reflect on the “how” factor.

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A field photo from one of my previous classes.

Since I started my class in 1998, my students and I have work on several hands-on projects (you know that’s my thing) that not only teach important history lessons, but carry equally important messages about people and the human experience. For example, I invite you all to explore the lesson plans that I developed for my most recent partnership with the History Channel and their Take a Vet to School Day program. While the idea is to tell the stories of our country’s African-American soldiers, the lesson can and should be used as a model to tell the stories of women service members and their peers from different ethnic backgrounds.

Over the years, former Research History students have also developed an Emancipation Day website (my students researched and asked the State of Ohio to designate September 22 as our official Emancipation Day), conducted an archeological project at the Gist Settlement, created an online catalogue of the burials of African-American soldiers throughout our state, and learned (and then conveyed in their own words) inspiring stories about the Freedom Fighters.

All of these projects have given my students the opportunity to preserve cultural diversity in our community, even if it’s not always apparent to the naked eye. In the same way, I encourage all teachers to get inspired and to look beyond their classroom windows when penning their own lesson plans.

- Paul LaRue

Paul LaRue teaches Research History at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. The ultimate “hands-on” classroom experience, his course takes students into the field to learn about preservation and community service. Stay tuned this semester as Paul and his students document their project at Good Hope Cemetery here on our blog and on their Flickr photostream. Also, keep an eye out for future “Notes from the Teacher’s Desk” columns from Paul himself.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

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Facebook Marketplace Offers a New Way to Show Your Support

Posted on: March 12th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern 1 Comment

 

Jennifer Coolidge in the dress she is selling to support the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Jennifer Coolidge in the dress she is selling to support the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Everyone has stuff lying around that they don’t need or want anymore – things that are too good or useful to throw away, but are no longer really needed. For most people, these items eventually make their way into thrift store donation boxes and garage sales. Now, however, they can be sold through the new Facebook Marketplace – with proceeds supporting the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

To kick off this new marketplace, Facebook is launching an initiative called "Celebrities Selling for a Cause,” and we’re a part of it. Actress Jennifer Coolidge is selling a custom made dress she wore when starring as Paulette in "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" and donating the proceeds to benefit the National Trust's "Rebuilding New Orleans" project.

Happily, you don't have to be a celebrity to sell for a cause. Anyone can buy an item or sell one on behalf of the National Trust and all the proceeds will go toward our efforts along the Gulf Coast. I'm not sure what I’m going to buy yet, but I know my colleague Caroline has her eye on the collectible sock puppet up there now. I know I'll be going through my closets when I get home tonight – and I suggest you do the same. Together, we can make a real difference in rebuilding New Orleans.

And, even if you can't buy or sell an item, there are several other ways that you can support the National Trust:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Way Outside the Beltway TV: Exit Interview with Chris Moore

Posted on: March 11th, 2009 by Jason Clement

 

Way Outside the Beltway TV is back with Chris Moore. Hear all about his meeting (and witness for yourself exactly how hectic the halls of a congressional building can be…sorry for the bumpy camera work) with a staffer from Representative Jim McDermott’s office.

Want to see more? Check out additional exit interviews from Team Way Outside the Beltwayers, and stay tuned as we add others over the coming days.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

"Ah-ha!" Moments from Main Street 2.0

Posted on: March 11th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

As a staff member who spent many hours planning the educational component of our Main Streets Conference, I was thrilled to witness several “ah-ha!” moments when the power of social media crystallized with attendees.

For example, during the session, “Social Media for Restaurants, Boutiques, and Antique Shops,” Chicago social media specialist Blagica Bottigliero hit on many opportunities that these common Main Street-type of businesses could benefit from. One point Blagica made was that business owners need to “listen” to what is being said about their establishments throughout the online community. Marketing strategy isn’t only about what you tell people or what kinds of ads you place. For example, people can use Google’s News Alerts to have a daily round up of blogs and on websites where the business name was mentioned. Blagica explained, too, that the micro-blogging tool Twitter (which people use to post a sentence or two to update people about what they are doing or thinking about), is a neat way to connect with what people are saying online.

A business owner in the audience who has a shoe shop raised her hand and asked, “So all I have to do is see who is ‘tweeting’ about my store through a search on Twitter and then I can see what my customers are thinking?” Customer feedback is priceless for business owners and this is a free and instant way to get this information. Not only that, but this same business owner can set up a Twitter account for her store and get people to subscribe to her updates and send out “tweets” about new shoe arrivals, special deals, and other tidbits that customers might find interesting.

Another presenter, Ben Muldrow of Community Newspaper Holdings, at a session called “Managing the Growth of Your Website” relayed another "ah-ha!" moment to me. He said a Main Street program executive director told him she was spending $700 a month on hosting for their website. During his presentation, he had discussed various web hosting options and how much each service should cost and which kinds of bells and whistles come with each package. He told her that he was paying that same amount for web hosting and many, many more perks; therefore, her program could save considerable money by choosing a different web hosting arrangement. Now that she understands the type of web hosting service she actually needs and understand about how much this should cost, she can go home with some real cost-saving ideas.

– Andrea Dono

Andrea Dono is the associate editor for the National Trust Main Street Center.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

"Ladies, the home of Washington is in your charge."

Posted on: March 11th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Mount Vernon (Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey)

Mount Vernon (Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey)

The story goes like this: Louisa Cunningham was traveling down the Potomac on her way back to South Carolina after a trip to Philadelphia. At one point along the river she looked out the window and saw a once stately manor staring down at her, clearly having seen better days. Its columns were crumbling, the landscape untended, and the roof propped up by the masts of ships.

The year was 1853 and the manor was Mount Vernon the home of George Washington.

At the time John Augustine Washington III, the great grand-nephew of President Washington owned Mount Vernon. Lack of funds and the wear and tear of thousands of visitors left him fielding offers to sell, despite his wish that the house be placed in government hands.

Shocked, astounded, and maybe a little disgusted, Louisa writes a scathing letter to her daughter, Ann Pamela, asking why it was not possible for women to fight for the estate when it was clear that the men would not. Ann Pamela agreed with her mother and wrote an anonymous letter to the Charleston Mercury asking for action. By April 6, 1858 the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union signed a contract with John Washington III for $200,000, eventually taking charge of the mansion on February 22, 1860, on the 128th Anniversary of George Washington's birth.

Mount Vernon (Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey)

Mount Vernon (Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey)

It seems easy, right? A group of women, from the upper class of American society, gathering together from across the nation to raise the money to save the home of the father of our country. How could anyone oppose this cause? Unfortunately, in 1853 the United States was on the brink of civil war, and tensions were high. Despite Ann Pamela’s initial plan to raise money and buy the house for the Commonwealth of Virginia it soon became clear that the state would not support them. In 1858, she approached Washington directly and was rebuffed. Not to be deterred she waited a night and approached Washington’s wife, who was able to convince her husband to sign the contract on April 6. Since that day the Mount Vernon Ladies Association has worked to preserve and protect the home of George Washington.

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.