School may be almost out for summer – but in the weeks before the semester ended nearly 50 students spent time among the collections here at Historical Society of Washington, D.C. In addition to individual research visits over the last two weeks, class groups included both graduate and undergraduates from the Corcoran School of Arts and Design and the Museum Studies Programs at The George Washington University, and honors students from Western Kentucky University.
The Corcoran School of Arts and Design students came as part of their course “The Art and Architecture of Washington, D.C.” which explores the historical context around D.C.’s built environment. The following week, Western Kentucky University visited the Historical Society as part of a pilot travel program integrated with their core course, “Citizen and Self,” which engages students with local issues to encourage civic engagement. The group’s topics included gentrification in Columbia Heights, access to mental health in D.C., D.C. home rule, D.C. queer history, Anacostia River preservation, public art in D.C., and Metro and street harassment. Later in the week, Museum Studies students from The George Washington University researched Columbia Heights, Meridian Hill, and D.C. locals such as Mary Foote Henderson for an upcoming exhibit with Washington Parks and People.
As part of their visits, Library and Collections Director Anne McDonough and Research Services Librarian Laura Barry introduced students to skills ranging from exhibition design to primary document research. Summer 2015 Historical Society interns Jessica Richardson and Susan Philpott helped to pair collections with the curricula needs of visiting universities, as well as introduced the students to the Historical Society as a whole.
Library orientations and research visits allow students hands-on opportunities to interact with evidence from D.C.’s rich history. To learn more about integrating a visit to the Historical Society into high school and graduate classes, please visit this page. You can also support programs through the Adopt-a-Class initiative, which brings younger students into the Kiplinger Research Library to experience the collections at the Historical Society.