Education Blog Posts

Media – Consuming and Creating

Films are just one of the many ways that we can consume history. Although historical films can be a very dangerous endeavor depending on the director’s true intentions, they can be very useful in our understanding of history. I am currently working as a Museum Program Associate at President Lincoln’s Summer Cottage. We have two films included in our exhibits. These two films discuss Lincoln’s personal life and views. The purpose of the cottage is to think about why it was important to the Lincolns and the refuge it provided them. The movie Lincoln (which is discussed under Lincoln Film Review) would be a good film to play at the cottage. Although Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation at the cottage and not the 13th amendment, the film still accurately portrays the period Lincoln would have been going to the cottage. The film also illustrated briefly the grief endured by Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln after the death of their son Willie. The cottage was used as a place of sanctuary for them to mourn in private and escape the chaos of the White House. This film would provide an insight as to what the Lincolns were dealing with externally and why the cottage was needed as a place of respite.  I believe this film would be a great addition to the cottage’s education center.

Digital storytelling has the potential to be very useful in the classroom. I think that digital storytelling can be useful when discussing complex histories. I think it provides students with an opportunity to construct their own narrative and perception of history with the information given. One of the main goals that is at the heart of teaching history is historical thinking. By placing events in the context in which they occurred and understanding the societal norms, we can analyze how or why a person acted the way they did. Through digital storytelling, students will be able to learn research skills and develop historical empathy.

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