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Teaching with Historic Places

Heritage Education Services Program

Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) uses properties listed in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of products and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.


Teaching With Historic Places Author's Packet

SOME SOURCES OF EVIDENCE

Places have stories to tell, but do not always speak in a language that is easy for most of us to understand. The following is a list of the kinds of sources that can help those preparing educational materials know what story they want to tell. They also can help students understand and learn from that story.

You will not use all of these sources, of course. National Register nomination files contain descriptions of the property, historical background and analysis of significance, photographs, maps, a bibliography, and sometimes other materials. Information in the Register file should be enough to give you a sense of the historical context of the place you want to use and to indicate what the focus of your lesson plan should be. The Register files can also provide some material for readings from which students gather the background information they need to determine the facts about the place. Some files provide all of the materials needed for a lesson plan. Where needed, information in the National Register files can be supplemented with material from other general information sources listed below. The other categories can supply additional written and visual evidence that will illustrate what you want to teach and make the place come alive for the students.

This list also includes some suggestions on where these sources of information can be found.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION (usually secondary sources)
National Register documentation
Published histories
Unpublished histories
Walking tours

 

HISTORICAL PUBLISHED MATERIALS
General or local histories
Textbooks
Newspapers--News articles, Editorials, Cartoons
Guidebooks
Travellers' accounts

 

HISTORICAL UNPUBLISHED WRITTEN MATERIALS
Diaries
Correspondence

 

MAPS
Historical
Real estate atlases, esp. Sanborn maps
Modern

 

PICTORIAL INFORMATION
Paintings and sketches
Woodcuts, lithographs, engravings, etc.
Bird's eye views
Postcards and souvenir views
Historic photographs
Modern photographs
Architectural drawings (plans and elevations)

 

MONUMENTS AND PUBLIC ART
War memorials
Statues and other sculpture
Fountains
Town squares or other public spaces

 

PUBLIC RECORDS
Census data
Tax records
Building permits
Deeds
Inventories
Legislation (proposed and enacted)
Transcripts of legislative debates
Court cases

 

RECORDS OF ORGANIZATIONS
Churches
Chambers of Commerce
Clubs
Fraternal organizations

 

PEOPLE
Living witnesses
Taped oral histories

 

ARTIFACTS
Furniture
Tools/implements/machinery
Clothing

 

SIGNS
Street Signs
Historic markers
Cornerstones
Commercial signage
PLACES TO LOOK

National Register of Historic Places
State or local libraries
State or local historical societies
State-wide or local non-profit preservation organizations
State historic preservation offices
Local universities and colleges
U.S. Bureau of the Census (regional offices)
State, county, or local courthouses
Organizations
People