Constructing, Consuming, and Conserving America
The Cleveland-based TAH Grant, Constructing, Consuming, and Conserving America (CCC), offers teachers hands-on experience in archives, museums, historical societies—and on the web.
More than two out of three students in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, attend schools requiring additional instructional resources and support. The TAH Grant, is designed to give their teachers a foundation in content and methodology to cover a 250-year span of American political, social, and cultural history.
During the first year of the program, teacher historians researched the archival holdings of the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland State University's Special Collections, online archives, and the holdings of local museums and historical societies. They defined research topics to complement their classroom teaching—placing local history into the context of American history to help their students see the importance of the big picture.
The results of their research among primary sources are posted on the History Exhibit website from Cleveland State University's Center for Public History and Digital Humanities: Teaching and Learning Cleveland. These searchable exhibits, built on the Omeka platform from George Mason University's Center for History and New Media, include annotated photographs, maps, census data and oral history posted with inquiry-based questions for the classroom. Teacher historical investigations included Children during the Industrialization Era: At Work and Play; What's for Lunch? A Taste of Northeast Ohio Food Industries and their Development; and Steel and Identity: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Lorain, OH.
The project emphasizes learning activities that provide participants with models of history teaching calibrated to different learning styles. This year's focus on consumer activities introduces the consequent issues of gender, social class, the consumer movement, politics, civil rights, kitchen table debates, finance and economics, and advertising and marketing. The third year takes a look at how Americans have interacted with their material and physical environments and how they have conceived of frontiers and borders.
The CCC project maintains a blog that includes relevant information about the grant since its inception, including an introductory powerpoint presentation explaining the structure and goals of the project and referrals to useful classroom resources and professional development opportunities.