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Center for American Heritage Studies Collaborates with Pennsylvania Military Museum

Article about the Center for American Heritage Studies and its collaboration with the Pennsylvania Military Museum
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(March 2008)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s Center for American Heritage Studies has established a working relationship with the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Thirty-four social studies student teachers from the College of Education have been working with the Center this semester to assemble hands-on teaching kits on selected topics for use in public schools, according to Center director David Saxe.

“With the exploding growth of heritage tourism, in conjunction with the College’s Social Studies/Citizenship Education program, the Center for American Heritage Studies has established educational partnerships with national, regional, and local museums and historical sites,” said Saxe. “Since last summer, the Center has worked with Colonial Williamsburg and the Centre County Historical Society, and now with the Pennsylvania Military Museum.”

Teachers who cover wars and military life of the 20th century can apply to receive kits that include artifacts (real and facsimiles), activities, lesson plans, media and film guides, and more on the selected topics. All teaching kits include detailed teaching guides. After May 15, individual teaching kits will be available for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Kits for the American Colonial period will also be available.

As a service to public schools and other interested schools and teachers, the teaching kits will be hand delivered without charge to teachers for a specific time period. The kits can be used to introduce and/or supplement classroom instruction as well as provide authoritative project ideas and lesson enhancements and extenders.

While the teaching kits are specifically designed to introduce and complement the collections found at the Pennsylvania Military Museum, they can easily be used as stand-alone units. However, teachers planning to visit the museum with their classes or individually will find the kits an excellent means not only to foster optimum use of the museum’s collection but also to create a more enjoyable and rewarding visit for students.

In promoting American heritage, the Center is keenly interested in exploring exciting, engaging, and effective products and methods for teaching our Nation's heritage. As a research interest, the Center will track the viability of its projects and report its results to the public.

To request a teaching kit, please e-mail heritage@psu.edu