The News Media and the Making of America, 1730–1800

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for K-12 Educators

July 26-31, 2021

Please note:
This NEH Institute, originally scheduled for summer 2020, has been postponed to summer 2021 and will now be VIRTUAL. We will conduct a new application and selection process for the 2021 program. Check back soon for updated information on a revised schedule, content, and application materials.

This Institute is both a colloquium and a collections-based virtual workshop that will explore how media was used during the Age of the American Revolution, a critical era of change in the American news milieu, in media use, in business, politics, and community life. We will examine how news—in all its various forms—was connected to civic engagement and how media fit into the public and private lives of the American people.

Through readings, discussions, and virtual workshops with original primary source material, we will seek to answer a variety of questions about news media and news culture in the late colonial period, during the Revolution and founding of the new nation, and in the early republic: What counted as news in early America? How was news gathered, distributed, shared, and consumed? What impact did the distribution of news have on political discussions and events? How was the business of media changing? What impact did law and government policy have? What roles did news and public information play in the lives of ordinary Americans? How might the experience of history shed light on our experience with news and news media today?

This Institute will provide participants with a unique and relevant way to approach the colonial period and the era of the American Revolution. Studying the founding of the country through the lens of news media will help participants help their students to see their own media lives in historical perspective.

Participating teachers will be given a stipend of $1,300. The deadline for applying is March 1, 2021.

Close range camera work enables objects to be examined in the virtual classroom
Elizabeth Pope, Curator of Books and Digital Collections, leads a virtual class
AAS staff conducting a class from the Learning Lab
Massachusetts Gazette (1774)
Screen shot of September 25, 2020 LDI
The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King-Street Boston by Paul Revere (1770)
Paul Revere, The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King - Street Boston, 1770.
Massachusetts Spy masthead by Paul Revere (1774)
Massachusetts Spy, or Thomas’s Boston Journal, July 7, 1774 Masthead designed by Paul Revere

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