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September 2017

Dear Interested Educators and Scholars,

The NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Women Making Change Institute took place for 2 weeks in July and August of 2017.  The week long institutes offered teachers and educators the opportunities to visit historic sites in Holyoke; to learn about Women’s History from top scholars; to have hands-on time with archival materials; to engage with each other to learn new tools and share classroom tips; and to enjoy networking with their peers.

Some of the goals of the institute were to introduce the landscape of Holyoke, Massachusetts, a planned industrial city to show how industry shaped the social structure of the community; to use several examples of local women who were active participants in making changes, either as philanthropists, professionals in the workplace or rallying union organizers; and to engage with archival materials and primary sources.

The weeks proved to be successful for the participants who enjoyed visiting the sites, working with archival materials, discovering different ways to engage students in history, and learn about where to find national and local woman who made history in their own backyards.  Participants left with a renewed sense of vigor to actively seek out women change makers in various fields to include in their lesson plans.

It is our hope that Wistariahurst will again be able to host additional NEH funded institutes to continue to engage teachers and educators across the United States. Until that time please feel free to take a look at our Teachers’ Resources and Activities page here and use the materials there to help you bring more Women’s History into your classrooms.

Penni Martorell
Institute Director


January 2017

Dear Interested Educators and Scholars,

Wistariahurst and I are so excited to offer an NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Institute which specifically addresses the accomplishments of women in history. Women Making Change aims to illuminate the intersection of gender and class at the start of the 20th Century.

We have created a week full of site visits, speakers, research collections, and adventures to keep you actively engaged in learning about local history, women’s history and teaching history.  During the week you will be introduced to local research archives, online research collections, and free tools available for teachers.  We will use the landscape of our planned industrial city to develop a sense of how industry shaped our social structure. We will look at several examples of local women who were active participants in making changes, either as wealthy philanthropists, middle-class females in professional workplaces, or rallying union organizers.

Expect to get your hands onto primary resources and dig in to the unique contents to uncover the stories of women in our city.  Using correspondence, newspapers, scrapbooks, photographs and archival records, you will have the opportunity to discover new stories of women working to bring issues to the forefront and make social change.

We will walk, talk, research, write, learn techniques, and share ideas with each other. It is our hope that our institute scholars will walk away with an understanding of the differing roles women played as agents of change; some concrete places to look to uncover your local women’s histories; and learn some practical tools for bringing women’s stories into your classroom.

I can only hope that you will find the week exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.  The week will move quickly with days filling your senses and taxing your critical thinking skills.

So, If you are up to the challenge of looking for new histories I highly encourage you to apply for Wistariahurst Museum’s Women Making Change Landmarks of American History and Culture.

I Look forward to meeting you this Summer,

Penni Martorell

Holyoke City Historian and Institute Director

The Women Making Change Teachers Institute has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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