Daily News

Holyoke Wins ‘Landmarks’ Grant

HOLYOKE — The National Endowment for the Humanities recently announced that the city of Holyoke, along with 20 other entities across the country, has been awarded a Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for School Teachers grant, which funds one-week workshops for K-12 educators that address themes and topics in American history, government, literature, art history, and other humanities fields related to historic landmarks.

Wistariahurst, on behalf of the City of Holyoke, has been awarded $123,768 to implement two, week-long intensive history summer teaching institutes to be held in August, 2017. The institutes, titled Women Making Change: Activism and Progressivism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century will be presented twice in August, 2017 with the first week being designed and reserved specifically for local teachers and the second presenting the history of Holyoke to teachers from across the country.

“Over the past year we have been re-investing in our institutional roots as an educational center serving the City of Holyoke and especially our local school system,” said Kate Preissler, Director at Wistariahurst. “This grant will allow us to take that work to a new level as we develop training materials that not only showcase Holyoke history’s significance on a national scale, but will bring archival techniques and resources into classrooms enabling teachers to more easily make history come alive for students.”

The content of the institutes will focus on the work of Holyoke women in the late 19th and early 20th century who were working to make change at all levels of society — from the Skinner sisters, Belle and Katharine who founded the Skinner Coffee House to Anna Sullivan, who led the movement to unionize the workers of Holyoke’s textile mills. The teaching institutes are designed to use the physical landscape of the City of Holyoke to guide teachers through historical content that many teachers may not have had the opportunity to previously learn. In addition to studying at Wistariahurst, participants will have the chance to explore many corners of the city as they work with materials at the Holyoke History Room, attend lectures and discussions with scholars, take a history tour of the city, visit an operational mill, and participate in hands-on teaching workshops.

The week-long institute for commuting teachers will include activities and materials designed to integrate local history content directly into their classrooms, while teachers from farther afield will be given training and resources to research similar local stories in their home communities.

“This is a great opportunity for both Wistariahurst and Holyoke’s educators,” said Mayor Mayor Alex Morse. “Not only is teaching local history important but so is teaching about the impact women have had throughout our community. I’m proud that we’ll be able to support continued learning for our local teachers while also showcasing the significance of our city’s history at a national level.”

Both sessions of the institute will be free for participants and include a stipend. Applications will be available later this year. Interested teachers should contact Wistariahurst at (413) 322-5660 or [email protected] to add their names to the institute contact list.

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