Professional Development

Professional Development

Professional Development

We offer summer institutes and half day department visits. These have the same experiential, multi-disciplinary qualities that are the hallmarks of our school visits.

Summer Teacher Workshop at the Museum

July 10-12, 2018

This past July, the Museum hosted 22 high school and middle school teachers, from 14 MetroWest districts, at its summer workshop, Artifacts and Archives: Using Primary Source Materials to Teach WWII.  Over the course of three days, teachers practiced a variety of new teaching techniques and strategies, learned from university history professors and a WWII veteran, and enjoyed exclusive access to the permanent exhibits and selected pieces from the archives in order to develop their own WWII lesson plans.

Teachers were excited to learn new ways to tackle this vital but daunting historical topic and to build on their own content knowledge.  Most were greatly moved by the Museum’s collection of authentic artifacts and documents:

  • Being among the authentic artifacts and primary sources makes the war feel alive and palpable. . . seeing the collection up close reminds me that World War II was not fiction, a book, a movie, or a class. The stories are real.  Yesterday when we were exploring the Resistance room, I glanced down into a case and saw the pictures of three girls who lost their lives for being members of the French resistance.  These were not characters in a book.  These were real people who took real risks in a real war.
  • The design of the museum reminds us that in a world that is increasingly interconnected, we share this global piece of history. For students first learning about WWII, who maybe don’t have the benefit of having known people who lived through it and didn’t grow up hearing relatives’ stories, visiting the museum or experiencing primary sources and artifacts would be a very important piece of their learning; a reminder that the war was real, it was recent, and it affected the whole world.
  • I am reminded of the power of using artifacts to teach history. Walking through the museum and seeing the artifacts up close really helped to provide a more engaging and meaningful context for this era and these historical events.  In addition to helping me understand what was happening, interacting with the artifacts also helped with my personal connection to the people who lived through this extraordinary time.
Dr. Cathal Nolan, Boston University
Dr. Michael Geheran, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Sue Wilkins, Dir. of Education
Jon Bassett and Gary Shiffman, 4QM Teaching
Bob Neidich, WWII Veteran

8 Mercer Road
Natick, MA 01760

Sue Wilkins
Director of Education

Professional Development Institutes

Our professional development institutes offer teachers unusually close access to materials normally available only to professional historians and academics. Teachers participating in International Museum of World War II professional development institutes refresh their historical knowledge, and discover new ways to teach students the skills involved in primary source analysis.

Our approach for students and for teachers is hands on. We believe in the power of original artifacts to engage and instruct, to share their emotional content, and to reveal their stories.

Professional points, graduate credit, and priority visits

Teachers participating in our professional development workshops can receive professional points, graduate credit, and priority visits for their students.

Key features of our professional development institutes

  • Orientation to the Museum and its collections.
  • Extended access to the Museum’s original artifacts, letters and documents to develop lesson plans and other curricular materials.
  • Instruction on teaching with primary sources, which also includes posters.
  • Engagement with and coaching by college and university history scholars, as well as a cohort of fellow teachers.

Departmental Visits

We welcome the opportunity to work with department faculty on professional half-days. We offer an introduction to the Museum’s collection as well as time to explore the collection independently. The goal is to inspire the creation of World War II-focused lesson plans, or to enhance existing ones.

We will share our lesson plans with you and offer ideas for adapting them to suit a variety of student interests and ability levels. While the Museum is a natural choice for history faculty, the collection is so multi-disciplinary, that it is suitable for a broad spectrum of faculty. Art, technology, oratory, pageantry, sociology, psychology, communications, to name a few, are all strong collections. The perspective is global, as is the world students live in today.