The professional development programs at Mystic Seaport 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 Mystic Seaport and its collections in their classrooms through active participation and interaction with experts, primary documents, and exhibition objects.
School-Year Professional Development Programs
Mystic Seaport provides workshops for primary and secondary school teachers and sessions may occur at your school or on Museum grounds. Workshops focus on utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to illuminate history, and topics include maritime history, use of primary documents in the classroom, and how to use a museum as a teaching resource. Museum teachers are also available to do short presentations at teacher meetings.
Upcoming Professional Development Programs
April 30, 4-6 p.m. – Literature of the Sea and the American Environmental Movement with Rich King, Ph.D.
May 20, 4-6 p.m. – Maritime Aspects of the American Civil War with Curator Fred Calabretta and Dr. Glenn Gordinier
June 10, 4-6 p.m. – Stars, Sextants, and Solar Observing with the Treworgy Planetarium staff
June-August – MSE Summer Fellows Professional Development Program (see sidebar for details)
Past Programs (2015)
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.