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  Visualizing the Past:
  A One-Day Conference for K-12 Educators

  Friday, October 13, 2006

Conference Logo Pre-twentieth-century history is dominated by the study of words on paper. Yet much of this period is also richly documented by visual images. Illustrations found in books, periodicals, prints and paintings can provide students with a tremendous store of empirical data and a profound emotional understanding of the past. This one-day conference will offer a rich and varied examination of the field of visual culture and explore practical applications for using images and maps with student populations at all levels.



This conference is the first program sponsored by the Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAVIC) at the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). CHAVIC seeks to provide opportunities for educators to learn about American visual culture and resources, to promote awareness of AAS collections, and to stimulate research and intellectual inquiry into American visual materials. This new center will accomplish these goals by offering fellowships, exhibitions, workshops and seminars, conferences, and improved access to AAS collections.

The New England History Teachers Association (NEHTA) is the oldest history teaching organization in the country having been founded in 1897. Composed of educators and students at all levels it provides professional development opportunities, publishes a biannual newsletter and The New England Journal of History, and presents the Hicks-Kennedy, Kidger, and Vera and Andrew J. Laska awards annually.



Louis P. Masur is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American Institutions and Values at Trinity College. A specialist in American cultural history, he is the author or editor of six books, including Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865; 1831: Year of Eclipse; and Autumn Glory: Baseball's First World Series. He also serves as editor of Reviews in American History, a quarterly journal of essay-length reviews of works in American history and culture, and has written essays and reviews for the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post Book World. His seminal essay "'Pictures Have Now Become a Necessity': The Use of Images in American History Textbooks" appeared in the March 1998 issue of the Journal of American History.

Patricia Johnston is a professor of art at Salem State College. She is the author of Real Fantasies: Edward Steichen's Advertising Photography and editor of Seeing High & Low, Representing Social Conflict in American Visual Culture. Additionally, her articles and reviews of photography and contemporary art have appeared in Afterimage; Art New England; Views, Exposure, Technology and Culture, and others. She has just completed a National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute for teachers at Salem State on the visual culture of colonial New England.



8:15 am Registration

9:00 am Plenary Address

"Images as History and the History of Images." Louis P. Masur, William R. Kenan Jr., Professor of American Institutions and Values, Trinity College

10:00 am Coffee break

10:15 am Concurrent Sessions

A. "The Look of Death: Printed Elegies in Early America." Robert A. Gross, James L. and Shirley A. Draper Professor of Early American History, University of Connecticut

B. "Abolitionists Spread Their Message: The Use of Images to End Slavery" Liz Nelson, Editor of Curriculum Publications, Primary Source

C. "Geo-graphicacy: Using Maps to Tell the Tale." Vernon A. Domingo, Professor of Geography, Bridgewater State College and co-coordinator of the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance

D. "Not All Prints Are Created Equal: A Primer on Print Making Processes." Georgia Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society

11:45 am Plenary Session

"Exploring Online Resources." James David Moran, Director of Outreach and Georgia Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society

12:30 pm Luncheon

1:00 pm Plenary Address

"Reading Early American Visual Culture: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching History, English, and Art." Patricia Johnston, Professor of Art History, Salem State College

2:00 pm Concurrent Sessions

E. "Decoding American Paintings and an Introduction to the Worcester Art Museum Website." Honee Hess, Director of Education, Worcester Art Museum

F. "Political Cartoons in the Age of Jackson." Jim Newton, Lincoln-Sudbury Public Schools

G. "'Our Old Acquaintance Sambo': Depictions of African-Americans in Northern Newspapers During the Civil War." Lucia Knoles, Professor of Literature, Assumption College

H. "Not All Prints Are Created Equal: A Primer on Print Making Processes." Georgia Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society

3:30 pm Closing Remarks

"A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Visual Literacy in the Classroom." James David Moran, Director of Outreach, American Antiquarian Society

4:00 pm Reception



The conference is open to all. The fee of $75 per person ($60 for members of NEHTA) includes coffee, lunch and a reception at the end of the day. To register, please print out, complete, and return the registration form. For more information, contact the conference chair, James David Moran at jmoran[at] We hope you will join us!



Rooms at the Worcester Courtyard by Marriott are available at the conference rate.

  • Worcester Courtyard by Marriott, 72 Grove St., (508) 363-0300



  • For more information, see or or contact the conference chair, James David Moran at jmoran[at]


As seating is limited participants are encouraged to register early.


Additional Information

About the conference sponsors

Plenary speakers

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Last updated September 14, 2006

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