Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Princeton Seminar: Day Three

Seminar participants in Welcome Park
Day Three of the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History Summer Seminar on the "13 Colonies" at Princeton University is in the books 

It was another long day with some great K-8 teachers from around the country.  We have teachers here from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Texas, California, Washington, Kansas, Florida, New York, among others.

We spent the day in Philadelphia.  I turned the seminar over to George Boudreau, the Director of the Public History Program at LaSalle University and a fixture in the Philadelphia early American community.  This was a real privilege for the teachers.  George knows more about colonial Philadelphia and the world of Benjamin Franklin than anyone else on the planet.  He is also a very entertaining tour guide.  Every time I take a tour with George I learn something new.  I highly recommend his Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia.  All of the teachers received a free copy of the book and George signed their copies.  Thanks to Nate McAlister for keeping us all on schedule.

We also learned today that George's National Endowment for Humanities teacher's seminar on Benjamin Franklin will be back in Summer 2016.  Three teachers in our seminar participated in George's Franklin seminar and recommended it to the other teachers.  You can learn more about it here.

George led us on a tour of the colonial city that included stops at Welcome Park, Benjamin Franklin's house and print shop, Carpenter's Hall, the site of Anthony Benezet's school for African children, the William White House, and the Powel House (George is the former director).  Along the way we learned about Penn's plan for the city, the cobblestone streets, Flemish bond brickwork, African-Americans, the Enlightenment, material culture, and Philadelphia's Catholics.  The tour was the highlight of the week.  I think the teachers would agree.

George Boudreau in his natural habitat: The Powel House

I took a "ride" in Ben Franklin's cart
 
George talks to us about the first home of the Philadelphia Library Company: Carpenter's Hall

George left us around 3:30 as we all headed off to the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) for a tour from the National Park Service.  Following the tour some of us made a quick run up Arch Street so we could see Franklin's grave, the Free Quaker Meetinghouse, the Arch Street Meetinghouse, the Betsy Ross House, Elfreth's Alley, and Christ Church.  At 5:00 we jumped on our bus and headed back to Princeton University.  We even made it home in time for dinner!

We squeezed into George Washington's pew at Christ Church for a group photo.

The teachers headed back to Scully Hall after dinner to rest and continue work on their lesson plans.

My feet, legs, and back are sore, but my mind is still in good shape and I am really looking forward to the last two days of the seminar.  Rare books tomorrow!