Posts Tagged 'American history'

History, Pirates, and Spies, Oh My!

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It’s April 1861, and Virginia has just seceded from the Union. Mary Bowser, a former slave, is recruited for a life-changing and dangerous mission—to act as a spy in the Confederate White House. Joining the staff as a maid, Mary finds herself in a position to smuggle out the secrets she finds on President Jefferson Davis’ desk. Hiding information in dress linings, passing secrets through the baker, sending coded messages using laundry hanging in the window—Mary’s life as a spy has all the elements of a suspenseful action movie!

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Join us next Tuesday, February 28, when the acclaimed acting troupe The Story Pirates present Spy on History LIVE! and bring Mary’s story to life. The Story Pirates’ shows are interactive, engaging, and sneakily educational—and this one is like enrolling in Spycraft 101. The audience will learn spy techniques during the show (similar to the ones Mary used) to crack the mystery-within-a-mystery.

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If Mary were alive today, I’d love to take her on a special tour of the Museum’s collection, showing her objects that might have a deeply personal meaning for her.

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After the show, you can pick up a copy of the new children’s book Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring to learn even more about Mary’s life and practice your new spy skills.

Reserve your FREE tickets to Spy on History LIVE! here.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Educator Resources: Teaching the Twenties

During my reading about and google-ing of the “Jazz Age” for the Dallas Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, I discovered some very thoughtful and useful resources for teachers that delve into this fascinating decade. Here are some of my favorites.

1. The University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center: Teaching the American Twenties

This K-12 online resource explores connections between the art, literature, and culture of the 1920s (not unlike our recent teacher workshop). What I find most fantastic about this resource are the high-resolution images of primary source documents from the decade in the Ransom’s collection. Created in conjunction with The Harry Ransom Center’s exhibit The American Twenties in 2007, this resource includes contextual information organized in rich and unique themes, and an assortment of lesson plans that could be adapted to various classroom settings.

2.  History by Era: The Roaring Twenties (The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History)

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization that provides programs and resources for students, teachers, and lovers of history. History by Era, their newly renovated resource, takes an in-depth look at American history through timelines, explanations of people/places/events, essays by a variety of scholars, primary source documents and artworks, teaching ideas, and multimedia. This site provides rich contextual information not only for The Roaring Twenties, but for the entire span of American history.

3. History.com: The Roaring Twenties

For some rich multimedia tools for teaching the twenties, check out this resource. It includes videos and photo galleries on topics such as Prohibition, Al Capone, the Harlem Renaissance, and women’s suffrage. The supplementary text is concise and easy-to-digest. This site is an efficient snapshot of the cultural scene of the American twenties.

If you haven’t already, visit Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties at the DMA, which takes the cake as my favorite resource!

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator of Teaching Programs


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