The following feedback is from past NEH Teaching Seminars led by the Smith Center.

Here’s what past participants have to say about their experience at the Newberry:

photo 3
2005 participants in the Newberry NEH Summer Seminar

“I am delighted that I had the opportunity to study at the Newberry Library and enjoy access to its incredible resources.  The friendly staff and knowledgeable seminar leaders made the three-week course a truly enlightening experience.  I utilize maps in my English Language Arts classes as a way of linking American literature and American history, and I feel much more proficient in my own ability to ‘read’ a map and help my students ‘read’ maps.”

“I think about what I learned all the time, and when I daydream lesson plans and course plans, I think about them differently.”

“I can’t say enough about Jim and Jerry’s skills as group facilitators, not to mention their expertise and encouragement.”

“It would be impossible to describe the impact of seeing the artistry of an original document and know that you are touching the same map someone used centuries ago.  It made our projects authentic and exciting.  It also opened our eyes to the many uses for maps throughout the ages and how to appreciate the artistic beauty of cartography.”

“The time allotted for my individual research project was quite valuable, especially in conjunction with the guidance offered during the lecture portion of the day.”

“The reading was enlightening without being laborious.”

“I have continued to explore the research I began at the Newberry…I am presenting my research at the state social studies convention and at a convention of consortium schools, and next year I plan to present it at the National Social Studies conference.”

“The whole concept of map-as-text permeates my teaching.”

“The group was fabulous, the facilities were amazing, the staff was supportive, the seminar was inspiring, the workshops were invaluable, and it was a privilege to have time to work with the collections and on our own research.”

“I’m eager to work maps into future history lessons, and I see lots of possibilities for using maps and teaching map literacy in teaching literature…My teaching of Gulliver’s Travels, for example, will be completely different in the future.  Having students make their own maps could be one of the best imaginable devices for teaching writing skills.”

“This seminar was the best-designed, best-planned NEH seminar.”

“Shortly after the end of the seminar was over, I was visiting my mother and did some exploring in my parents’ attic…I found original Beers county atlases, nineteenth-century Massachusetts county maps, nineteenth-century US atlases and geography textbooks…I’m sure I had noticed some of these before this summer, but they certainly didn’t have the effect on me that they had now.  I was entranced.  I have spent many hours perusing and cataloging these treasures…I have still not finished this project, but their presence on my shelves serves as a constant reminder of the impact of this seminar.”

“I use this experience almost daily to measure what I am doing.  ‘Am I impacting students with maps the way I was impacted at this seminar?’  The journey continues….”


photo 18
2005 Seminar, Developing Cartographic Literacy with Historic Maps