AP U.S. History Students Dig in to Primary Sources
This month, a group of nearly 40 Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History students from North High School in Denver visited WHG for a hands-on workshop using primary sources. In advance of their well-planned visit, library staff worked with history teacher Tom Bergen to scour manuscript and photograph collections to find documents, newspaper articles, memoirs, financial records, advertisements and ledger books that contributed to each of six topics in Colorado history: Homestead Act(s) (1862, 1909); Sand Creek massacre (1864); Anti-Chinese riot in Denver (1880); Ludlow massacre (1914); City Beautiful movement (c. 1900-1910); Japanese internment and Amache (1942-1945).
Each student chose a topic of interest and spent the morning diving into a variety of primary sources. They practiced making sense of single artifacts within the context of an historic Colorado event and then made connections to larger national historic events and themes from the same time period. Students also learned about other research resources in the department and got a behind-the-scenes tour of the archives.
Staff were thrilled to work with such a curious and engaged group of young scholars. Students benefited from using original primary source material to practice skills that will be directly tested on their AP U.S. History exam, a test which will be given to these students later this spring.
If you are a Denver-area teacher or know someone who might be interested in a class visit to use primary sources as a learning tool, please let us know! For those teachers with difficulty getting time away from the classroom, we can also provide custom primary source sets electronically.