School-Year Professional Development Programs
Mystic Seaport hosts free monthly professional development workshops that provide teachers with “behind-the-scenes” tours and thematic workshops that correlate the Museum’s vast collections with classroom curriculum. Workshops show teachers how to utilize the Museum and its collections in their classrooms through active participation and interaction with experts, primary source documents, and exhibition objects. Topics range from immigration, whaling, and life at sea, navigation and nautical instruments to the Civil War and World War II. Each session will also highlight our website for teachers.
Please check back soon for upcoming professional development opportunities.
Past Programs (2015)
Inquiry Learning, Ships, Clocks & Stars, and the Quest to Control Time with Dr. Catherine Snyder (Professor and Interim Dean of the School of Education at Union Graduate College) and Mystic Seaport Staff, Elysa Engelman and Brian Koehler — There is a new dichotomy facing teachers today: preparing students for success based on a set of fixed standards without sacrificing the development of collaborative and analytical skills. In this workshop, teachers were introduced to an inquiry model which can accomplish both goals simultaneously. Using primary source material from the Museum’s collection and special exhibit, “Ships, Clocks, & Stars”, participants engaged in a sample lesson about the impact of accurate measurement on the success of the British Empire. Participants also discussed the adaptability of the inquiry method to their classroom. The night ended with a special tour of the new “Ships, Clocks & Stars” exhibit, led by the Museum’s Director of Exhibits, Elysa Engelman and Treworgy Planetarium Supervisor, Brian Koehler.
Putting the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks into Action with Stephen Armstrong, Social Studies Consultant at Connecticut State Department of Education; Laura Krenicki, Global Education Consultant; and Krystal Rose, Mystic Seaport — During this workshop participants discussed how the social studies frameworks can be effectively utilized by schools and museums as they evaluate the ways they educate students. The inquiry arc was analyzed in great detail, with attention given to approaches to getting students to ask compelling questions. Methods to promote effective collaboration, both between students and educators, was also a focus of this session. Participants left with a Mystic Seaport inquiry-based lesson plan using objects from the Museum Collection, featured on the Mystic Seaport for Educators primary source website!
Gerda III: A Story from World War II with Howard Veisz — Mystic Seaport Volunteer and researcher Howard Veisz spoke about Gerda III, a wooden work boat built in 1926 for the Danish Lighthouse Service. She spent 60 years bringing supplies to the Drogden Lighthouse in the waters between Denmark and Sweden. During World War II, while continuing to perform her intended function, she took on other clandestine roles that established her place in history. Veisz discussed in-depth the vessel’s profound impact upon the fate of so many Jewish people who escaped the terror of the Gestapo because of her heroic actions. By an act of the Danish Parliament, the Gerda III was donated to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. The vessel was restored to her wartime appearance, complete with neutral flags, by the J. Ring Andersen yard in Denmark. Mystic Seaport is proud to help care for the boat and exhibit her in the United States.
The Historian as a Detective with Dr. Elysa Engelman — The world around us is filled with primary source material and clues about the past. It’s also filled with legends and stories that may or may not be “true.” Engelman shared how to help students navigate the art of inquiry and decipher the world around us. She shared how researching a historic house with a rumored Underground-Railroad connection led to a different story – a fugitive slave whose experience in New London triggered national coverage in the 1850s. Additionally, the program included ways that teachers can look at how artwork, stories, and primary sources can help students unpack the impact of memory and myth on our popular understanding of the past.
Inquiry Learning, Primary Source Workshops, and the Whaleship Essex with Dr. Catherine Snyder — There is a new dichotomy facing teachers today: preparing students for success based on a set of fixed standards without sacrificing the development of collaborative and analytical skills. In this workshop, teachers were introduced to an inquiry model which can accomplish both goals simultaneously. Using primary source material from the Museum’s collection focused on the whaling industry, participants engages in a sample lesson about the whaleship Essex and then discuss the adaptability of the inquiry method to their classroom.
Workshop leader Catherine Snyder is professor and associate dean of the School of Education at Union Graduate College. Prior to teaching at the college level she spent 10 years teaching secondary social studies in New York public schools and is National Board Certified. She has published extensively on topics related to the transformative nature of graduate education, teacher education, and the Suchman Inquiry model.
Summer Professional Development Programs
The Frank C. Munson Institute of American Maritime Studies at Mystic Seaport offers dynamic and challenging graduate-level courses in American maritime history. During a six-week summer session, students may take two out of three possible courses for graduate credit or CEUs. Course selections include a Maritime History Survey, a Maritime Studies Seminar and Independent Research. Mystic Seaport serves as the unique campus for the courses, and students will also attend field seminars in New London, Stonington, and Newport. Anyone with a strong personal and academic interest in the sea may apply. For more information, call 860.572.0711, ext. 5089.