Boston Events


Boston is the perfect location for the 94th NCSS Annual Conference. The city offers a treasure trove of resources for social studies educators—from historic landmarks and organizations to its many educational institutions, including the nation’s oldest school district—many of which we have engaged to make the Boston conference truly reflect the city's history and culture.

Before you make your travel plans for Boston, please review this list of the resource-rich clinics, tours, and special events that will make the Boston conference professionally rewarding, personally memorable, and wickedly awesome.

Pre-Conference Clinics

Thursday, November 20

9:30AM-3:30PM

Crucible of Revolution: Boston's Freedom Trail

Join university professors Drs. Ed Crowther and Rich Loosbrock on a trek along Boston’s Freedom Trail and see the sites where the American Revolution was born. They have developed and entertaining and engaging style by using historical sites coupled with images and documents to provide a vivid and deep understanding of the events that shaped the American past. The stroll will cover about a mile and a half of the Freedom Trail, beginning with a ride to America’s first subway station, Park Street Station. The walk includes many stops, with lunch in the vast food court of Quincy Market, featuring many of the area’s local delicacies.

Transportation for this clinic will be by subway. A round-trip pass is included in the cost of the clinic.

Presenters: Edward Crowther, Rich Loosbrock, Adams State University, Alamosa, CO
Fee: $20 for members, $35 for nonmembers


9:00AM-4:30PM

One Tumultuous Year! 1963: The Struggle for Civil Rights

Host: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, MA
Learn about a unique teaching resource, "1963: The Struggle for Civil Rights," in this interactive clinic for middle and high school educators at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Explore how this online exhibit and related resources can engage students in the compelling story of a tumultuous year in civil rights history that included children marching in the streets of Birmingham; President Kennedy speaking to the nation about civil rights as a “moral crisis” and proposing major new legislation; and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressing an integrated crowd of 250,000 at the Lincoln Memorial. Delve into two case studies through hands-on investigation of the evidence to examine presidential decision making and the workings of government, the strategies of civil rights activists and segregationists, and the role of the media and ordinary citizens. Exchange teaching ideas and strategies with participants and presenters. Visit the research room where the original sources are held in the public trust and complete your day by touring the Museum galleries. The clinic includes transportation, lunch and Museum admission.

Transportation for this clinic will be by shuttle bus.

Presenters: Nancy McCoy, Sam Rubin, Nina Tisch, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA
Fee: $50 for members, $60 for nonmembers


1:00-5:00PM

EMK Institute Senate Simulation of Human Rights

Host: Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Columbia Point, Boston, MA
The Institute will conduct an introductory training to its Senate simulation experience, focusing on human rights legislation, with curricular materials to assist teaching on this topic and the legislative process.

Transportation for this clinic will be by shuttle bus.

Presenters: Nell Breyer, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Boston, MA; Glenn Mitorna, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Fee: $70 for members, $80 for nonmembers


8:15AM-12:00PM

Keeping it Real: Making History Relevant for the Contemporary Student

Host: Old North Church, Boston, MA
This exciting clinic at Old North Church, a national icon, will provide high school teachers with fresh perspectives on how to foster student interest in social issues throughout American history. Participants in this clinic will learn how to incorporate museum visits and museum education programs into their curricula, how best to engage students with inquiry-based learning, and how to bridge the gap between historical social issues and contemporary issues teens face. The clinic will consist of a tour of the campus, lesson planning strategies for using museum resources in the classroom, and participation in Old North’s new teen program, “Sacred Seats: Social Implications of Colonial Church Seating.” This will give teachers the opportunity to put themselves into their students’ shoes and experience how history can come alive for teens by tapping into their social and cultural issues.

Important Note: Tour of the campus and participation in “Sacred Seats” requires climbing and descending narrow stairs. Persons with mobility limitations or claustrophobia are not advised to register for this clinic.

Transportation for this clinic will be by subway. A round-trip pass is included in the cost of the clinic.

Presenters: Amy Budge, Concord Museum, Concord, MA; Erin Wederbrook Yuskaitis, Old North Foundation, Boston, MA
Fee: $20 for members, $35 for nonmembers


9:30AM-4:30PM

The Real Deal: Art, Artifact, and Document in History Lessons

Host: USS Constitution Museum, Boston, MA
With the USS Constitution Museum as a backdrop, explore best practices in using art, artifact, and primary source in your teaching. Leave with a tool kit of lessons and resources.

Transportation for this clinic will be by shuttle bus.

Presenter: Rebecca Crawford, USS Constitution Museum, Boston, MA
Fee: $35 for members, $45 for nonmembers


12:15-4:00PM

Black Voters: Prince Hall to the Voting Rights Act

Host: Museum of African American History, Boston, MA
Celebrate the approaching 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by examining the long history of black voting activism at Boston’s historic African Meeting House (1806). During this 3-hour clinic at the Museum of African American History (MAAH), you’ll meet Prince Hall, the founder of black freemasonry, a leading member of Boston’s 18th century black community, and a registered voter by 1780. Explore how personal stories like Hall’s, paired with powerful primary sources, reveal the multitude of ways in which free and enslaved blacks pressed for, used, and expanded their rights as citizens as early as the founding of the nation and through the 19th century. In addition, explore debate as a strategy for animating and complicating historical understanding through a hands-on demonstration of “They Spoke Here: Abolitionists’ Debates.” All participants will receive the lesson plans and primary source packet that accompany the program.

Transportation for this clinic will be by subway. A round-trip pass is included in the cost of the clinic.

Presenters: L'Merchie Frazier, Samantha Gibson, Museum of African American History, Boston, MA
Fee: $10 for members, $25 for nonmembers


9:00AM-12:00PM

The American Revolution as a Model for Civic Engagement

Host: Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA
From town meetings to tea parties, colonial Americans actively influenced the workings of government. Using primary sources, we'll connect models of 18th century civic engagement with 21st century service learning.

The Massachusetts Historical Society is about three blocks from the Hynes Convention Center.

Presenters: Kathleen Barker, Jayne Gordon, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA
Fee: $10 for members, $25 for nonmembers


9:00AM-12:00PM

Maps Tell Stories: Using Historical Maps in Social Studies Classrooms

Host: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library, Boston, MA
Learn core concepts for teaching with historic maps and participate in "map lab" sessions comparing American Revolution era maps and the role of geography in the war and new nation.

The Boston Public Library is about three blocks from the Hynes Convention Center.

Presenters: Michelle LeBlanc, Ronald Grim, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, Boston, MA
Fee: $20 for members, $35 for nonmembers


8:00AM-4:00PM

Mass Media and the Creation of America

Host: American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA
Through hands-on interactions with original primary source material from the collections of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), participants will explore the part mass media played in civic engagement in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as practice disciplinary skills such as forming questions, analyzing evidence, and communicating conclusions with both textual and visual sources.

As a research library and learned society whose collection of over 4 million items covers the printed record of the United States from 1640 to 1876, AAS is the ideal place to examine the ways in which mass media has played a part in the creation of America through politics, social reform, and ideas of national identity. Over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, advances in printing and transportation technologies changed the way Americans thought about their government, their nation, and their participation as citizens, very much as the internet is doing so today. By exploring the ways in which the colonists and early Americans responded to these changes and interacted with mass media as a way of civic engagement, participants can better understand how they are doing the same.

Participants will work directly with original primary source materials from the AAS collections to explore these themes and engage in activities that will require close reading, both textually and visually, as well as critical analysis and synthesis of evidence. Some of the original documents participants will explore are the first eyewitness account of the Battles of Lexington and Concord published in a newspaper, the only known copy of a political cartoon that depicts Jefferson with his enslaved mistress Sally Hemmings, all three versions of the famous Boston Massacre image, and a host of 19th-century political newspapers, including The Liberator.

In addition to exploring original documents and honing disciplinary skills, participants will also be introduced to the library itself – what it is, what it does, and how to use it – as well as AAS’s wide array of digital content. The day will include a tour of the library with an exclusive look at the stacks, which are normally closed to the public.

To learn more about AAS, visit their website (http://americanantiquarian.org/) or watch their informational orientation videos (http://americanantiquarian.org/podcasts.htm).

Transportation for this clinic will be by shuttle bus.

Presenters: James Moran, Kayla Haveles, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA
Fee: $55 for members, $65 for nonmembers


9:00AM-4:00PM

Teaching Civics from a Culturally Responsive Perspective

Host: Discovering Justice, Moakley U.S. Courthouse, Boston, MA

Learn about the robust civic education programs conducted by Discovering Justice for children as young as six, and receive practical ideas to enliven your civics instruction. This all-day clinic includes a tour of the stunning Moakley U.S. Courthouse on Boston Harbor, meeting with a U.S. District Court judge, and participation with local middle school students in a Discovering the Bill of Rights field trip, as they learn about the First or Fourth Amendment and present an appellate argument based on a landmark Supreme Court case before a lawyer presiding as a judge. The day will also feature a professional development workshop on teaching civics from a culturally responsive perspective. You will revisit historical events, explore visual thinking strategies, engage in courageous conversations on difficult topics, and examine popular culture.

Transportation for this clinic will be by shuttle bus.

Presenter: Elisabeth Medvedow, Discovering Justice, Boston, MA

Fee: $40 for members, $50 for nonmembers


8:30AM-12:00PM

Applied Drama Methods for Civics and Social Studies Learning

Host: John Adams Courthouse, Boston, MA
This clinic introduces “applied drama” methods you can incorporate in your social studies curriculum, showing how they catalyze students’ deep engagement with historical content and documents. Case materials come from the fugitive slave trial of Anthony Burns, an explosive incident in Boston’s abolitionist history. In the three-hour clinic you will practice a range of techniques, from living timelines to “hot seating” a historical character. You will receive a script & study guide, primary documents and resource links for further learning. No prior acting experience is required!
For those interested, a post-clinic tour of the historic Adams Courthouse building can be arranged.
Presenters: Susan Zeiger, Primary Source, Watertown, MA; Wendy Lement, Theatre Espresso, Boston, MA

Transportation for this clinic will be by subway. A round-trip pass is included in the cost of the clinic.

Fee: $15 for members, $25 for nonmembers


12:00-4:00PM

Civic Technologies and Participatory Approaches for Civics Education

Host: MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA
Curious how to adapt civics education in light of new technology? Join MIT Center for Civic Media researchers for hands-on demonstrations of technologies we've built and collaborative lesson plan design. Researchers will introduce the technologies for civic engagement and civic media research they have been developing, as well as their vision for participatory approaches to civics that tie technologies to impact. Participants can then collaborate with the researchers to brainstorm and design how the demonstrated technologies and approaches might be integrated into formal civics education, after-school clubs, informal activities, or even student governance. You'll walk away with handouts describing the civic technologies, as well as any outlines we develop together for lessons, curricula, and activities. This workshop is best suited to high school-level educators already using digital technologies of some kind (laptops, cell phones, cameras, etc.) with their students.

Transportation for this clinic will be by subway. A round-trip pass is included in the cost of the clinic.

Presenters: Erhardt Graeff, MIT Center for Civic Media, Cambridge, MA
Fee: $10 for members, $25 for nonmembers


12:15-4:00PM

Why Go? The Field Trip as Extension of the Classroom

Host: Historic New England, Boston, MA
From cards to courts, discover Historic New England's strategies for success and ways to replicate them through participation in and discussion of some of our most popular curriculum-focused, student-centered programs.
Presenters: Carolin Collins, Kate Hooper, Kim Nadell, Linda Billikas, Historic New England, Boston, MA

Transportation for this clinic will be by subway. A round-trip pass is included in the cost of the clinic.

Fee: $10 for members, $25 for nonmembers


8:30AM-12:00PM

Fighting Climate Change: Québec's Clean Energy Initiatives

Host: Québec Delegation, Québec Government Office, Boston, MA
As the Northeastern states work with Canada to negotiate energy supplies, Québec stands out as a leader in hydroelectricity and electrical transportation. How is Québec fighting against climate change?

Transportation for this clinic will be by subway. A round-trip pass is included in the cost of the clinic.

Presenters: Laurence Gagnon, Québec Delegation, Québec Government Office, Boston, MA; Betsy Arntzen, Canadian American Center, University of Maine, Orono, ME; Amy Sotherden, Center for the Study of Canada and Institute on Québec Studies, Plattsburgh State University of New York, Plattsburgh, NY
Fee: $10 for members, $25 for nonmembers


1:00-4:30PM

The U.S.-Canada Partnership: Teaching our Shared Trade, History, Geography, Culture

Host: Canadian Consulate General, Boston, MA
The U.S./Canada relationship has evolved over two centuries. U.S. and Canada are the world's largest trading partners, sharing the world's longest undefended border. What makes this relationship worth teaching about?

The Canadian Consulate is about three blocks from the Hynes Convention Center.

Presenters: Mark Jacques, Canadian Consulate General, Boston, MA; Andrew Holman, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA; Betsy Arntzen, Canadian American Center, University of Maine, Orono, ME; Tina Storer, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
Fee: $10 for members, $25 for nonmembers


3:00-6:00PM

Revolutionizing Curriculum: Steeping Students in the Boston Tea Party

Host: Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, Boston, MA
History has always been taught as a series of disconnected dates and events. At the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, we use engaging reenactments and stimulating lesson plans to bridge the gap and advance the Four Dimensions of the C3 Framework. This three-hour clinic focuses on the techniques we use to engage students on the political protest that sparked the American Revolution. As part of our clinic, attendees will participate in our interactive educational performance, discuss the issues over wine and cheese, and together we will reconstruct the events that forever shaped the course of American history.

Transportation for this clinic will be by shuttle bus.

Presenter: Sean Lawler, Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, Boston, MA
Fee: $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers


Tours

America's Founding in America's Hometown

Thursday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 23, 8:30AM-4:15PM
Fee: $69
Plimouth Plantation offers educators the opportunity to explore the powerful stories of two distinctly different cultures, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. Engaging with staff will provide the tools to help teachers to develop student skills that are necessary in a globalized, creative, and flexible 21st century economy. The tour includes round-trip transportation to Plymouth, Massachusetts; admission to Plimouth Plantation's immersive history sites, the Wampanoag Homesite (guided tour) and 17th Century English Village; Taste of Two Cultures lunch; panel discussion (Wampanoag Culture Then and Now, NAMI Project, Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project, Wampanoag Perspective of the Thanksgiving Story) with management staff from the Wampanoag Indigenous Program; guided tour of America's Hometown, including a visit to historic Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock. Have an enjoyable and informative day while you learn about primary source as object, document and landscape as it relates to America's founding story.


Lowell, Massachusetts

Thursday, Nov. 20, 9:00AM-4:00PM
Fee: $45
Explore Lowell, a living monument to the dynamic human story of the Industrial Revolution. Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began there still reverberate in our shifting global economy. Your day at Lowell National Historical Park starts at Market Mills, the former Lowell Manufacturing Company mill complex, which houses the National Park Visitor Center. You’ll also visit the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, with its operating power looms, and the Suffolk Mills Turbine Exhibit, telling the story of how water provided power for the mills, and serving as a reminder of Lowell’s once-great cotton textile industry. A hands-on waterpower workshop at the Tsongas Industrial History Center in the Boott Mills pulls the Lowell story together in an experiential way.


Historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Thursday, Nov. 20, 8:30AM-5:30PM
Fee: $25
Experience nearly 400 years of history in lovely Portsmouth, where New Hampshire was born in 1623. The hub of the New Hampshire seacoast, Portsmouth’s downtown streets are reminiscent of a small English market village. Your tour features a history lesson from local historian J. Dennis Robinson; an entertaining walking tour led by George Hosker-Bouley, including visits to the new African burying ground memorial park and the oldest cemetery in Portsmouth; and a guided tour of Strawbery Banke, an outdoor museum tracing 375 years of history in one of America’s oldest continuously occupied neighborhoods.

This tour is generously sponsored by the New Hampshire Council for the Social Studies.


Boston's Revolutionary Heritage: A Freedom Trail Walk

Thursday, Nov. 20, 1:00-5:00PM
Fee: $10
Ray Raphael, author of A People’s History of the American Revolution, Founding Myths, and other books on the Revolutionary Era, will facilitate an encounter with Boston’s Revolutionary heritage through site visits and interactive experiences along the Freedom Trail. At Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Faneuil Hall, and Paul Revere House, participants will discover resources available for student field trips and classroom lessons. By contextualizing iconic events and focusing on political caucuses, they will be able to present Revolutionary Boston as a vivid and accessible example of collaborative civic action.


Boston's Black Heritage Trail Walking Tour

Thursday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 22, 2:00-3:30PM
Fee: $15
Join a National Park Service Ranger on a walking tour through Beacon Hill that explores the unique history of the free black community in antebellum Boston and their leading efforts in the Abolition Movement, the Underground Railroad, the early struggles for equal rights and education. The tour begins at the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Beacon Street, and concludes at the Museum of African American History's African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School on Joy Street.

For more information, go to www.afroammuseum.org/trail.htm


Fenway Park Tour

Thursday, November 20, 2:30-3:30PM
Fee: $20
Though generations have come and gone, Fenway Park remains, much like it did the day it opened on April 20, 1912. "America's Most Beloved Ballpark," uniquely nestled in the city of Boston, is a place where dreams are made, traditions are celebrated and baseball is forever. See the home of such Red Sox legends as Williams, Yaz, Fisk and Rice. Visit Pesky's Pole and sit atop the world famous Green Monster, which stands 37 feet 2 inches high overlooking left field. Experienced tour guides will provide a thrilling one-hour walking tour of the park. All fans are welcome at Fenway Park, home of the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and the pulse of Red Sox Nation.


John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Friday, November 21, 11:30AM-3:30PM
Fee: $45
Visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in our striking I.M. Pei building set in ten-acre park on Boston's waterfront. Take a guided tour of the Museum galleries with education staff and discover the Kennedy presidency through period settings, museum artifacts and 25 multimedia exhibits. In a "you are there" experience, explore the 1960 presidential campaign, the president's inauguration, and years in the oval office as well as Jacqueline Kennedy's role as first lady. The Museum curator will provide an introduction to the To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis exhibit featuring secretly recorded tapes from EXCOM meetings and an exchange to correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev. Tour this special exhibit on your own. A packet on Library resources for educators and a bag lunch will also be included in your visit.

Transportation for this tour will be by bus.


Freedom Trail Tour: Meetings, Mobs and Martyrs

Friday, November 21, 1:30-3:30PM
Fee: $10
By imposing taxes and oppressive policies on the American colonies, the British Parliament threatened their traditions of self-government and Bostonians defied them. Join a National Park Service Ranger for this walking tour focusing on Faneuil Hall, Old State House, Boston Massacre Site and Old South Meeting House. Along the Freedom Trail, discover how Bostonians resisted these repressive strategies.

Tour participants will receive a copy of The American Revolution: Official National Park Service Handbook to enhance their experience, thanks to the generous support of Boston National Historic Parks.


Freedom Trail Tour: From Allegiance to Revolution

Saturday, November 22, 1:30-3:30PM
Fee: $10
Dumping 46 tons of privately owned tea into Boston Harbor set in motion a series of events that would lead to Great Britain's loss of her American colonies. Join a National Park Service Ranger for this walking tour focusing on Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, and Old North Church. Along the Freedom Trail, meet the people who shifted the conversation from allegiance to revolution.

Tour participants will receive a copy of The American Revolution: Official National Park Service Handbook to enhance their experience, thanks to the generous support of Boston National Historic Parks.


The Mary Baker Eddy Library

Thursday, Nov. 20, Friday, Nov. 21, and Saturday, Nov. 22, 2:20-4:00PM
Fee: $4

Experience one of Boston’s hidden treasures and delve into the extraordinary life of one of the most interesting women in American history. The Mary Baker Eddy Library tour includes a trip through the world-famous Mapparium, a three-story, stained glass globe of the world of 1935, enhanced by an orchestration of words, music, and LED lights to illustrate how ideas have traversed time and geography and changed the world.

The tour will also include visits to the Quest Gallery—providing a glimpse of the medical, cultural, and religious history of mid-nineteenth-century America through photographs, documents and images—and the Hall of Ideas—a cast glass and bronze sculpture acting as a fountain of constantly changing quotation from some of history’s most influential thinkers.

The library is a short walk from the Hynes Convention Center.


Historic Pub Crawl

Thursday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 22, 6:30-8:00PM or later
Fee: $50. Includes beer samples at four pub and light fare dining.
Warm the cockles of your heart and your taste buds, too, when you join the Freedom Trail Foundation's Historic Pub Crawl. Hear the tales of Boston's treasonous events hatched in four of Boston's historic pubs--Union Oyster House, the Point, the Green Dragon, and Bell in Hand. Led by an 18th century costumed guide, this tour will stroll to the pubs and sample a variety of Samuel Adams beers. Make a meal of the light fare included in the tour.


Special Events

Saturday, November 22

Reception at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

6:00-8:00PM
Fee: $25
Get a preview and tour of the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, located on the UMass Boston campus at Columbia Point, adjacent to the JFK Library and Museum. The Institute, opening next March, hosts this private reception for NCSS conference attendees.

Please note that due to this pre-opening event, all cameras and digital devices brought to the Institute will need to be checked in at the entrance.


An Evening at Harvard Museums of Science & Culture

6:00-8:30PM
Fee: $40
Enjoy an evening on the Harvard campus discovering The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and the Harvard Semitic Museum. The Peabody is one of the oldest anthropology museums in the world and is renowned for its collections and research on North American and Central American societies. Curator Castle McLaughlin will present an informal illustrated talk about her recent research A Lakota War Book from the Little Bighorn. Cross the street to wander the Semitic Museums galleries of the Ancient Near East including life-sized casts of famous Mesopotamian monuments, authentic mummy sarcophagi and artifacts illustrating the research of Harvard archaeologists. A small reception will enhance the evening.


Special Sessions

Friday, Nov. 21, 1:00PM and 3:10PM
Saturday, Nov. 22, 11:15AM and 3:00PM
Map Your Way! Teaching with Historical World Maps

Explore the historic map collection at the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. Learn core concepts for teaching with maps and searching and using digital historic map collections.


Sunday, Nov. 23, 8:00AM
Behind the Curse: Race and Baseball in Boston

The Red Sox’s championship drought had as much to do with race as the selling of Babe Ruth. A walk around Fenway Park reveals much about Boston’s turbulent history.


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