Hands On Learning at the Historical Society


Thanks to a grant from the Bloedorn Foundation, students from the SEED Public Charter School were among those who explored the resources of the Kiplinger Research Library during the 2015-2016 school year.

The beginning of the traditional summer break is a great time to look back at the at the educational programming the Historical Society of Washington, D.C, has provided this past year to elementary, high school and college students. Thanks to incredible support from a private foundation, a 150-year-old civic organization, and individual donors, it has been quite a year!

A grant from the Walter A. Bloedorn Foundation supported the research visits of more than ten classes, allowing the Historical Society to say Yes! when individual teachers connected with the Kiplinger Research Library to develop their syllabi.

An individual Adopt A Class donation allowed the Historical Society to dedicate resources to exposing the riches of a special collections archives and library to eight- and nine-year-old students.

And thanks to an Association of the Oldest Inhabitants (AOI) gift which funds projects at the Historical Society that further educational programming for third and twelfth graders, a team of public history graduate students were able to develop two prototype activity kits incorporating ephemera, maps and other historic holdings that explore the geographic development of Washington, D.C.

While school may be out, this summer the staff of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., will again welcome D.C. students through the on-going Investigating Where We Live collaboration with the National Building Museum and THATSummer with The Humanities and Technology (THAT) Class and the DC Public Library. Going forward, non-directed Adopt A Class donations, which allows individuals to support an educational visit to the Historical Society, are now dedicated to supporting visits by Title 1 schools; contributions from community members wishing to coordinate a visit for a specific non-Title 1 school are also welcome.

We’re looking forward to the 2016-2017 school year – and hope you’ll join us in supporting hands-on learning at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Students explore the Historical Society's exhibitions as part of the structured class visits.

2015-2016 visitors, such as this student from the Cornerstone School, explored the Historical Society’s exhibitions and present to their classmates as part of the structured class visits.


A collaboration between School without Walls and The George Washington University allows high school students to take a college-level course in D.C. History; these students were among those who become new library patrons at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. during class research trips.


Public History graduate students from American University worked with Historical Society staff to create activity kit prototypes that, once further developed, can be used in the Kiplinger Research Library as well as delivered to schools for hands-on historical exploration in the classroom.


Third graders explored neighborhood history- and examine transportation options through the decades by examining images from the holdings of the Historical Society …


… while a display of basketball trading cards from the 1960s and 1970s sparked conversation about the future research value of every-day objects in their lives.

Student research conducted in the Kiplinger Research Library helps inform year-long projects, such as National History Day presentations at the SEED Public Charter School.

Student research conducted in the Kiplinger Research Library helped inform year-long projects, such as this National History Day presentation at the SEED Public Charter School.