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NEH Teachers Workshop Accepting Applications

Friday, February 01, 2013

Siena College has been awarded a highly competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to design and deliver the workshop titled “Heaven on Earth: Shakers, Religious Revival and Social Reform in America.” The NEH grant is worth more than $175,000. Jennifer Dorsey, Ph.D., associate professor of history and director of the McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution will lead 80 K-12 school educators from across the country this July for two, one-week workshops about the American Shaker movement and its impact on United States history.

“This grant offers an extraordinary opportunity to share a piece of New York history with a national audience of K-12 educators. Siena College is proud to provide teachers and librarians with the chance to rethink or enrich their teaching,” Dorsey said. So far, she has received inquiries and applications from teachers and librarians working in diverse fields, including English, music and social studies. Interest has come from Albany to Mississippi and Utah.

“Heaven on Earth” is part of the NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture workshops for school teachers. The workshops will take place on the Siena College campus and at three landmark historic sites: Watervliet Shaker National Historic District (the first Shaker site in America), Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon and Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts. Applicants can choose the July 7-13 or July 14-20 session.

Each participant – or NEH Summer Scholar – will receive a $1,200 stipend to help defray the costs of travel, food, housing and other expenses incurred during the workshop. Applications will be accepted until March 4. Click here for more information.

NEH Landmark Workshops are intended to engage teachers in an intensive study of American history and culture though scholarly interpretation of cultural sites, key primary sources, documents and scholarly works. According to the NEH, “New York’s Capital Region, with its ample trove of documents, collections and preserved Shaker communities, is prime territory for studying Shaker history and culture. The workshop promises a rich account of Shaker life as situated within both scholarly perspectives and the Shakers’ own writings and remarkable material culture. When the workshop is over, the teachers will know that the Shakers stood for more than well-crafted furniture and will appreciate them in all their historical and cultural complexity as an important part of the American story.”

Along with visiting historic Shaker sites, participating educators will engage in interactive seminars with scholars and museum professionals. They will also explore the collection of Shaker documents housed at the New York State Library and view the comprehensive collection of Shaker artifacts held by the New York State Museum.

“We want participants to leave the workshop with a deeper appreciation of Shaker history and the influence of the Shaker movement on American culture.” Dorsey said.

The NEH Landmarks program is now in its tenth year. It has supported 220 workshops at more than 80 locations nationwide. More than 16,500 teachers from all 50 states and many U.S. jurisdictions have participated in Landmark workshops. As a result, hundreds of thousands of students throughout America have benefitted from their teachers’ enhanced knowledge and renewed zeal for teaching. “Heaven on Earth” is among the twenty-one projects slated for this summer.

This is the McCormick Center’s second NEH grant since 2010. The grant proposal was developed in partnership with the New York State Education Department's Office of Cultural Education, Shaker Heritage Society, Shaker Museum and Library and Hancock Shaker Village.

About the McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution:
Siena College’s McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution was founded in 2005. The McCormick Center is an academic program that combines academic history with service and outreach initiatives. McCormick Center students complete internships and take courses that emphasize cultural, social, economic, military and constitutional history during the era of the American Revolution. Students are given unique opportunities to learn about the American Revolution through partnerships with museum, public history and preservation professionals in New York’s Capital Region. They also take courses that emphasize essential skills in public history including management, budgeting, marketing, public relations and the computer sciences.

Photos (in order of appearance): Hancock Shaker Village, Watervliet Shaker Historic District, Shaker Museum and Library

Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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