As of July 6th, APS offices are open to staff and invited visitors. The Society will remain closed to the public for at least the rest of the summer. Library & Museum staff now have access to our collections and will respond to reference and photoduplication requests as soon as possible. However, please note that response times may be delayed due to increased demand. The Society will continue a robust slate of virtual programs throughout the summer and fall. Read more about virtual programming and resources that can be accessed remotely. For further information on the APS reopening and its COVID response, please click here.

APS Library & Museum Collections Break Barriers in History

Michael Madeja is the Head of Education Programs at the APS Library & Museum. Prior to joining the Museum team...

The APS Library & Museum is a proud partner of National History Day Philly (NHD Philly). This year, middle and high school students are presented with the theme “Breaking Barriers in History.” To help make connections between this year’s theme and the APS Library & Museum collections, we enlisted the help of our Cultural Fieldwork Initiative intern, Jared Mahoney. The Cultural Fieldwork Initiative (CFI) out of Temple University’s Education program places pre-service teachers with a cultural organization in the city to learn how those organizations develop teacher resources. Jared went through our collections and provided some highlights that connect to the theme. For the full list, we’ve made a handy document that provides more information here. But, while you’re reading, here’s a bit more on Jared’s favorite collection connections and why the APS is a great resource for National History Day:

The collection that has the strongest connection to NHD’s theme of “Breaking Barriers” is Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic. The maps highlighted in this exhibition were used to break ideological, political, and even natural barriers by showing how the United States was created at a time when the massive scale of the North American continent was mostly unknown. Maps gave (and continue to give) people a way to understand the world around them, allowing them to think beyond what they knew and expand their points of view to a new degree. This is what “Breaking Barriers” is about-- changing people’s understanding of the world while physically and tangibly accomplishing something that has never been done before, like mapping out the western territories.

Cultural Fieldwork Initiative intern, Jared Mahoney
Cultural Fieldwork Initiative intern, Jared Mahoney, exploring the APS archives.

Overall, the APS is a great place to conduct research for National History Day because of its extensive collection and helpful online tools. When browsing the Digital Library, you can find copies of primary source documents that are useful for a variety of NHD projects. The Digital Library also offers a number of virtual galleries. These provide an interactive way to learn about several of the Society’s important collections, including the Baruch S. Blumberg and Britton Chance papers.

We hope Jared’s unbiased opinion above helps as you continue work on your NHD projects! We encourage you to conduct your own search of our collections here. Our Education department is always happy to help educators, students, and the curious public with questions about our collections. If you find yourself scratching your head and wondering where to begin, take a look at our Educator Resources Page!