A new program in Cotsen Children's Library offers local teachers an opportunity to instruct with rare primary sources

Thursday, Oct 31, 2019

By Stephanie Ramírez, Princeton University Library

Through a collaboration between Princeton University Library and the Program in Teacher Preparation, local teachers now have an opportunity to instruct in their classrooms with rare primary sources. “Time Travel 101,” a new program led by Cotsen Children’s Library, offers educators a circulating case of special collections materials and corresponding curricula for their students.

Teachers can borrow one of five cases: “Illuminate Me,” which examines and compares 15th-century manuscript pages to better understand how books were created and used in the Middle Ages; “Selling, Selling, Sold!,” which demonstrates life in late 19th-century New Jersey by examining authentic period advertisements and colorful trade cards; “Show Me the Money,” which utilizes a timeline of monetary artifacts to demonstrate how New Jersey was colonized, grew, and nationalized; “Got Anything to Read?,” which walks students through period publications and household objects; and finally, “World War II New Jersey,” which explores items children encountered on the World War II home front. 

“We actually purchased a set of teaching collections of primary source objects – medieval manuscript pages, a World War II child’s gas mask, colonial money from New Jersey (some of the first printed colonial money) – and made them available to teachers to check out in cases, take to their classrooms, and using the suggested curriculum provided, teach using actual special collections,” said Dana Sheridan, Cotsen Education and Outreach Coordinator.

To the program, Sheridan brings over 10 years of collections-based educational programming with local and home schools, as well as experience developing creative literacy programming for local youth.

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