Newberry Traveling Collections
“My favorite part was interacting with the actual sources instead of looking at pictures of them or only being able to see them from afar.”
“It felt like a time machine.”
“I loved how old the documents were. It was a first-hand experience.”
-Civil War Traveling Collection Participants, John Hancock High School
Can’t come to the Newberry? Let our research library come to you!
The Newberry is pleased to offer two new opportunities for teachers and high school students to work with original primary sources in their own classrooms.
The Civil War
Newberry staff will bring a traveling collection of original Civil War documents and images to your classroom. Highlights include illustrated copies of Harper’s Weekly, Union and Confederate soldiers’ letters, and The Liberator. Learn how both mass media and personal documents shaped Americans’ understanding of the Civil War. Students learn to engage in close reading and primary source analysis to better understand the Civil War.
World War II
Newberry staff will bring a traveling collection of original World War II documents and images to your classroom. Highlights include propaganda posters, a newspaper from the Heart Mountain Japanese internment camp, newspapers reporting on the Pearl Harbor attack and the D-Day invasions, and personal letters and photographs. Your students will learn to interact with primary sources ranging from the war front to the home front. Whether you seek World War II-era content or just want to introduce students to primary source analysis, this collection provides a unique experience for students to interact with historical documents.
This program, generously funded by the Mazza Foundation, is free for Chicago Public Schools and Big Shoulders Fund schools.
Registration is now open. Register here.
What to Expect during a Traveling Collection Visit
Upon registering for the program and scheduling a visit, the Teacher and Student Programs team will send you a short document, written by a subject specialist, explaining important background context for the historical period we will cover in the traveling collection. You are free to assign the document or incorporate into your lesson planning however you wish. The day of the visit, we will arrive with a selection of historical artifacts to display, discuss, and engage with during your class. Your students are welcome to touch the items and take pictures. Following a brief analysis and discussion of the items as a large group, we will branch out into a small-group analysis activity, which will allow your students to practice document analysis skills first-hand. We strive to adjust the curriculum to best suit your class size, time allotment, and population needs and abilities.
Field Trips to the Newberry
Class field trips at The Newberry offer high school students the unique opportunity to explore the library’s rotating and permanent exhibitions; collaborate with subject specialists; learn more about class research opportunities; and experience first-hand the library’s extensive collections of books, manuscripts, maps, ephemera, and more. These class visits allow students to learn about best practices for handling collection items and using archival materials in class research projects. They also encourage the practice of other valuable skills, including historical contextualization, collaborative discussion, and visual and textual analysis, as well as personal observation, reflection, and evaluation.
The Newberry has collaborated with subject-area specialists to create the following field trips, which are aligned with Common Core standards.
Bus transportation will be provided.
The Great Migration (Spring 2019)
Designed by Dr. Elizabeth Todd-Breland (University of Illinois Chicago), “The Great Migration” uses primary source materials from the Newberry’s collections to inquire into various motivations for (and cultural responses to) the Great Migration. Using materials like newspapers, maps, pamphlets, letters, and photographs, this field trip invites students to learn and engage with how Black Chicagoans founded community organizations, businesses, social clubs, political movements, religious institutions, and new cultural and artistic forms geared towards Black residents during this turbulent era in Chicago history. Registration is now open. Register here.
The American Revolution & Early America (Fall 2019)
Most people do not know that the title for one of the most famous political documents ever written was “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.” The word comes before the more famous part of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson’s eloquent words promising all American individuals “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” For many groups of people, though, the Declaration became a touchstone for questioning one’s exclusion from the political life of the new nation.
This field trip, developed by Dr. Andy Trees (Roosevelt University), is designed to help students explore the deceptively simple theme of “unanimity” as it appears in the Declaration of Independence. Participants will discuss this theme, with the help of primary source documents housed at The Newberry. These archival materials, including the various drafts of this document and written correspondence by its various creators, will also offer a sense of how the events surrounding the creation and circulation of the Declaration of Independence were shrouded in mystery, and took place within social and cultural arenas far from unified in political vision and representation. Registration Opens September 9, 2019.
Please check back soon for registration deadlines and further information!