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Interpreting Slavery with Children and Teens: Researchers Seek Input from the Field for a New AASLH Book

by Kristin L. Gallas and James DeWolf Perry on

A school tour at Gunston Hall.

In our travels to promote our first book, Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites, and lead workshops on the subject, we’ve received a lot of inquiries as to how to talk with young visitors and school groups about slavery. Hearing these requests for help prompted us to launch our next research project/book, Interpreting Slavery with Children and Teens.  The book (AASLH Series, Rowman and Littlefield, Fall 2018) will provide museums and historic sites with best practices for interpreting slavery, including the latest methodology and pedagogy for interpreting the subject with children and teens. We will investigate how museum educators can apply educational theories, such as constructivism and social skills like empathy, to help children and teens make meaning out of the difficult history of slavery.

As part of our research, we are surveying historic sites and museums who have a relationship with the subject matter. This is a follow-up to the survey we did in 2011 to gauge where the field was with interpreting slavery in general. Through this new survey, we want to continue to explore the concerns of the field in the interpretation of slavery, especially with children and teens; strategies you may have to share with the field; and what sort of support and resources sites need.

Take the survey here: http://ow.ly/9zj3309s8o0

We are also asking you to share this survey link with colleagues at other historic sites to gather as much information as possible.

Thank you for your help.

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Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites was published in 2017 in the AASLH Series at Rowman and Littlefield. AASLH members get 20% off all AASLH Series books at Rowman and Littlefield. Interpreting Slavery aims to move the field forward in its collective conversation about the interpretation of slavery—acknowledging the criticism of the past and acting in the present to develop an inclusive interpretation of slavery. Presenting the history of slavery in a comprehensive and conscientious manner is difficult and requires diligence and compassion—for the history itself, for those telling the story, and for those hearing the stories—but it’s a necessary part of our collective narrative about our past, present, and future.

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