four people looking at a large old book set on a table.

Professional Development

Upcoming Workshops


Abolition and Activism: Black Women in 19th Century Boston

July 30, 31, August 1 (optional research/lesson work day)Teachers viewing old documents in the study center.
9 am – 3:30 pm

Priority given to K-12 educators.

Location: Boston Athenaeum and Museum of African American History Boston

Cost: $50. Registration is required. Register here.

This workshop will focus around collections and locations in Boston that can be used to teach about the fight for racial equality and suffrage by 19th century Black Bostonians with a focus on the central role of women.

Following up the Boston Athenaeum’s recent exhibition, Framing Freedom: The Harriet Hayden Albums, educators will engage deeply with primary sources, especially photography, learn about the fight to desegregate the Boston Public Schools at the Museum of African American History and experience the Beacon Hill and West End community of Black women activists with the National Park Service.

Participating educators will receive a one-year membership to the Boston Athenaeum. Participants can take the course for one graduate credit from Westfield State (for an additional $200) or 22.5 PDPs.


Primary Sources in the Classroom is sponsored in part by Taylor Mudge through the Mudge Fellowship Program.

Participating educators are designated as Mudge Education Associates at the Boston Athenaeum and receive a one-year Individual Membership to the Athenaeum.

Special thanks to Boston University Center for the Humanities for supporting this initiative through PhD Graduate Internships in the Humanities.

Past Workshops

2023: Im/migration

The 2023 educator workshop explored the Boston Athenaeum’s collections related to the history of migration and immigration in the United States. Presenters included Dr. Davarian Baldwin and artist Alex Gerasev.

2022: Active Citizenship

Our 2022 workshop opened with a virtual lecture featuring Henry Santana, Director of Civic Organizing for the City of Boston and Rev. Kevin C. Peterson of the New Democracy Coalition. In the following days, participants explored sources ranging from 19th-century ballots to 1960s flyers and welcomed guest lecturers Elizabeth Carroll (Program Director at Facing History and Ourselves) and Lynn Brown, K-12 Education Manager at the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

2021: Abolition and the Underground Railroad

Our 2021 workshop focused on primary sources related to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad, using the Harriet Hayden Albums as a starting point. Visits to the Boston African American Historic Site and the Museum of African American History offered opportunities to consider historic sites as primary sources, and a guest speaker from Historic Newton led a session on project based learning. Dr. Kellie Carter Jackson gave the keynote lecture, “Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence.”

2020: Changing Status and Role of Women in American History, 1776-1920

As part of the Athenaeum’s year-long program series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the 2020 workshop focused on materials related to women’s history from the Revolutionary War through World War I. The workshop featured a keynote lecture, “Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement,” by Allison K. Lange, PhD.

2019: Teaching the Civil War

The 2019 workshop used the Athenaeum’s exceptional collections of Civil War-related materials to demonstrate and allow participants to develop a range of methods for reading, analyzing, and implementing the use of primary sources.