Think history is dry? Think again. Interpreting history to students in the 21st century means incorporating objects, music, dance, and theatre.
Beginning on Saturday, May 22nd and running through Friday, June 11th, the Institute for Public History--recently established by Gordon College, in Salem--will offer four courses for the training of public educators, undergraduates in history or theatre, or just those interested in adult development activities.
The courses cover four areas of training in historic interpretation. Meeting on the weekends, Researching Folkways and Material Culture covers the skills of understanding and extrapolating information from historical objects. Longtime North Shore historian and Gordon professor David Goss will be beginning with this course and then following with one called, The Salem Witchcraft Hysteria.
Two other courses will meet on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and will be taught by History Alive! Artistic Director Kristina Wacome Stevick: Improvisation and Interactive Theatre and Period Style, Voice and Movement. These theatre-focused courses will teach the art of using dramatic technique and the understanding of class, fashion, mores, geography and invention to literally bring history alive on the stage or in the classroom.
All courses will include special guest speakers, historic tours and site visits, and all will take the Salem historical setting as their foundation. Many of those involved in the courses will be training for the summer season with the long-running play, Cry Innocent, or as historical hosts and volunteers at Pioneer Village: Salem in 1630. Public school teachers are encouraged to register for the weekend sessions, earning 4 graduate credits and learning valuable transferrable skills to history classrooms.
Official undergraduate or graduate college credit (2-credits per course) is available for all of the courses and will require the completion of various projects. However, the Institute does invite those who wish to attend the training for enrichment purposes only to register at a greatly reduced fee.
All courses will meet in the Salem Old Town Hall at 32 Derby Square, Salem. Tours of numerous Salem sites will be included in the instruction and will be covered in the costs for the course. Syllabi for each of the courses is available at the Institute for Public History website.
For specific dates, costs, and registration please visit the Institute website at: gordon.edu/public-history. Register soon, space is limited to less than 20 students per course.