College of Education and Walter P. Reuther Library awarded grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission to improve classroom access to primary sources

photo of Min Yu
Min Yu

The Wayne State University College of Education and the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, were recently awarded a $83,100 grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Funds will support “Bridging the Gap: Archives in the Classroom and Community,” a two-year project aimed at improving access to meaningful primary sources in the classroom for teachers and students.

Though most K-12 education standards call for the use of primary sources, archivists and teachers rarely have a chance to understand one another’s practices or collaborate to bring relevant archival material into the classroom. “Bridging the Gap: Archives in the Community and the Classroom” creates a community composed of archivists, classroom teachers and teacher education students to share different areas of expertise. The team hopes such a model can be used to aid other archivists and educators in working together across the country.

“This initiative poses an opportunity to bring knowledge and collective memories from communities into the daily work of classroom instruction,” said Min Yu, Ph.D., assistant professor of social studies education and principal investigator. “We hope it will present teachers with opportunities to recognize existing community assets in addition to incorporating nuanced understandings of the challenges different communities have faced historically.”

Over the next two years, teacher education students, in-service teachers and archivists will participate in a series of workshops and form remote teams to create relevant archives-focused lesson plans for use in classrooms.

Additional project members include Christopher Crowley, Ph.D., assistant professor of teacher education; Meghan Courtney, outreach archivist for the Reuther Library; and Dan Golodner, archivist for the American Federation of Teachers.

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