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Diary of an Archivist: Online Resource for Teaching Effectively with Primary Sources

Posted by Emily Chicorli
3 April 2015 - 12:35pm

I have another wonderful resources for teachers interested in using primary sources in their lessons! is a website created from the Students and Faculty in the Archives (SAFA) project, a three-year grant at the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) which partnered with a number of faculty at three colleges near the archives.

The website includes articles reflecting on pedagogy and offering practical advice from experienced educators and archives professionals, sample in-archives exercises that have been tweaked and refined in real courses, and more details about the project that helped create the site.

While the content on the website is based on American history and themes, with a specific focus on the Brooklyn Historical Society, we can use the activities and information as templates to create resources that are relevant to our own different contexts, geographic areas, themes, lessons and curriculum. The sample lesson plans/in archives exercises can also be tweaked to relate to an archive near you.

Additionally, the website includes explanations on:

  • What document analysis is
  • What high-impact practices are
  • The benefits of teaching with primary sources
  • A description of a directed, hands-on approach to archives-based learning
  • How to's for crafting learning objectives, providing context, using cameras and tablets, and more
  • Success stories on designing your visit to an archive, digging into collections, building real-world skills, and models for history survey courses

Let me know if you found the resources from this website helpful!