Teaching State and Local History
Curriculum Ideas Using Primary Sources
Teachers are always looking for new ideas to make learning experiences interesting and challenging for their students. This seems to be particularly true in the subject area of state and local history, where there are only a few sources available commercially.
What are Primary Sources
Primary sources are original documents created at the time an event occurred. They are usually divided into two types: manuscripts and public records. Manuscripts are materials created by private individuals, businesses or organizations. They usually can be found in the format of diaries, letters reminiscences, subject files, minutes, and so on. Public records are the documents created by public officials or agencies as they perform their duties. Historical public records exist at state, county, and local levels.
Where Do I Go to Find Resources?
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Area Research Center holds original records for eleven northeastern Wisconsin counties. Operated cooperatively with the Wisconsin State Historical Society, the Area Research Center (ARC) has diaries written by school children, first-hand accounts of the Peshtigo Fire, maps, photos, letters from immigrants, censuses, oral history interviews with Belgian-Americans, fur trade accounts, and more! The materials in the collections date from the 1600’s to the present.
Can Anyone Use the ARC Collections?
The Green Bay Area Research Center is open to everyone. You do not need to be affiliated with the University to use the collections. Almost all of the materials may be copied. With advance notice, the Area Research Center can accommodate large and small groups. Staff members can also visit your classrooms to introduce students to primary sources. Orientation sessions can be provided as well as assistance with specific curriculum projects.
What if the ARC Does Not Have Enough Materials?
The Green Bay ARC is part of a cooperative network operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society, and the UW System campuses. Almost any of the original materials (archives) at these agencies can be brought to Green Bay for use.
What is My Next Step?
The best way to begin working with primary sources at the Green Bay Area Research Center is to contact the coordinator, Debra Anderson. She may be reached at 465-2539 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Debra will discuss your project ideas with you, make suggestions based on the original materials available, and schedule a time to meet with your classes. Even if you only have a concept for a project, call the ARC! We will be happy to work with you developing and implementing projects.
Contact information: Deb Anderson, Archivist
Archives is located in Cofrin Library, Room 705