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History Lab for Undergrads: A Day at the Museum
The Social Studies (2013)
  • Elizabeth 'Libi' Sundermann, University of Washington - Tacoma Campus

Museums are important venues for engaging history students in the habits of free-choice and lifelong learning. Although these sound like the pedagogical buzzwords du jour, both concepts are ones that educators today—including college professors and lecturers—should be adding to their teaching vocabulary. Unfortunately, while literature on these topics is widespread for K–12 educators, pedagogical and practical discussions for adult learners, particularly college students, have lagged. This article aims to help fill that gap. Encouraging free-choice learning through local public history venues, particularly museums, can serve as inspirations for college teachers and their students. Creatively mixed formal and informal teaching methods and a wide source base that includes scholarly and popular media combined with local resources not only surprises students but draws them into historical thinking on an intellectual and personal level. This article examines pedagogical rationale for allowing college students to think outside the lecture hall and provides two lesson plans—and additional ideas for K–12 and college teachers—that revolve around a seemingly simple and direct method: taking students for a tour of the local museums.

  • higher education,
  • historical thinking,
  • free-choice learning,
  • lifelong learning,
  • museums
Publication Date
Citation Information
Elizabeth 'Libi' Sundermann. "History Lab for Undergrads: A Day at the Museum" The Social Studies Vol. 104 Iss. 6 (2013)
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