The Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) announced it has been awarded a $45,048 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to adapt part of its current catalog of Pre-K through Grade 8 educational programs for virtual delivery, and to develop a line of downloadable activities called “History in a Nutshell.” The NEH awarded Cares Act grants to just 13% of 2300 applicants.
The CHS will deliver real-time, interactive programs through our new John G. Martin Distance Learning Studio and develop quality history education resources that students and teachers can access anytime or from anywhere. Both digital education program offerings reduce the need for students and teachers to travel away from their schools or home location to receive quality educational programming that connects people with Connecticut’s rich history.
The CHS will continue to offer museum-based and outreach programs for schools and community venues that wish to have those experiences, and will add these new digital programs to help groups who need this option.
Robert A. Kret, CEO of the Connecticut Historical Society, said, “Through this wonderful grant for our digital education programs, The NEH has honored us and demonstrated their support of the Connecticut Historical Society and its future.” Kret continued, “Travel time and transportation costs should not limit anyone’s opportunity to learn from trained historians and to discover the power that historic objects can convey. We are grateful to the NEH for helping us to bring Connecticut’s rich history to even more people.”
The CHS’s educational programs, presented to thousands of Connecticut students from hundreds of schools each year, have been designed to meet the goals and objectives of the Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks and Common Core State Standards. Programs are inquiry-based and help develop skills in close observation, evidential reasoning, and critical thinking.
In keeping with best practices, the Virtual Educational Programs will be con presented live by CHS’s museum educators from the CHS’s John G. Martin Distance Learning Lab. The funding will also support outfitting a mobile cart to be brought into the museum galleries and collection storage rooms, so students can virtually experience our exhibitions as well as collection items not usually on public display. Adapting these programs for a virtual format will involve researching content, developing activities, creating lesson plans, and refining protocols for the handling of objects.
Ultimately, the CHS’s goal is to adapt all current and future educational programs for virtual delivery. For this project, the CHS is committed to adapting a minimum of eight programs, including three popular programs related to the Revolutionary War.
In responding to the need of Connecticut teachers to have quality, history education materials that students can access at any time, the CHS developed a line of downloadable activities called “History in a Nutshell.” Each offering includes a short video overview of a history topic, activities that promote students engaging with primary source items from the CHS’s vast collection, and inquiry-based extension activities that invite students to connect the topic’s theme to contemporary issues. For this project, the CHS will develop a minimum of five new “History in a Nutshell” lessons.
The Connecticut Historical Society (www.CHS.org) is a private, independent, not-for-profit educational organization founded in 1825. Located at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford, the CHS is home to a museum and library, the Waterman Research Center, and the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program – the state’s folk and traditional arts initiative. The CHS’s facilities and programs are open to the public and funded by private contributions. Its mission is connecting you and the stories of Connecticut. Its vision is a society that values historical perspective and understanding as essential tools in connecting with others, shaping communities, and making informed decisions. To accomplish that, the CHS serves tens of thousands of people annually through adult, youth and family educational programs, as well as tours, exhibitions, and library and research services. The organization’s renowned collection includes more than 4 million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts, and other materials accessible at its Hartford campus and on loan at other organizations.