Presidential Primary Sources Project

History Comes Alive in Your Classroom

With the Presidential Primary Sources Project (PPSP), your class can engage in live, interactive discussions and use primary source documents to understand our nation’s presidents. Transport your students to places that helped shape past presidents’ lives. It’s easy to sign up for the PPSP, a free service, which is a partnership between Internet2, the National Park Service, and the National Archives.

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Check out the 2022 PPSP Sessions

All programs are live at 11 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. ET on their scheduled day and applicable to students grades 4-12.

DatePresentation
Tuesday, Jan. 18The War of 1812: Presented by Patrick Martin, Schools Coordinator & Erin Adams, Director of Education, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
Some view the War of 1812 as a duel with the British and the 2nd war of American independence, while others see it as completely unnecessary. Join The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, as we examine the War of 1812 through the eyes of men like Andrew Jackson, Francis Scott Key, and President James Madison. Students will learn about the War and why it was such a pivotal moment in American history. Register now!
Thursday,
Jan. 20
“The Johnson Treatment”: LBJ’s 1964 Campaign: Presented by Sheila Mehta, Education Specialist, LBJ Presidential Library
Learn about the presidential election of 1964 by analyzing and evaluating campaign memorabilia from the Johnson and Goldwater campaigns. Students will analyze the symbolism behind traditional campaign tools such as pins, stickers, and slogans to explore how campaigning was more than stump speeches and event appearances. Register now!
Tuesday,
Jan. 25
Roosevelt and the World Today: Issues Then and Now: Presented by Jeff Urbin, Education Specialist, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Trace the links between important contemporary issues such as infrastructure, social justice, political infighting, America’s role in the world, and the environment back to the time of the Roosevelts and compare the actions taken then to what is being done today. How was progress made? What mistakes were made? What lessons were learned? How might we apply them today? Register now!
Thursday,
Jan. 27
Lights, Camera, Action: 75 Years of The State of the Union on Television: Presented by Mark Adams, Truman Library Education Director; Cliff Wallace, Nixon Library Education Specialist; Kathleen Pate, Clinton Library Education Specialist
On January 6, 1947, President Truman gave the first televised State of the Union Address. We’ll explore the history of the State of the Union Address and highlight three speeches – Truman’s address from 75 years ago, Nixon’s address from 50 years ago, and Clinton’s address from 25 years ago. Register now!
Tuesday,
Feb. 1
Understanding Conflicting Primary Sources: When Hoover Met Hitler: Presented by Elizabeth Dinschel, Archivist and Education Specialist, Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
In early 1938, Former President Herbert Hoover was invited to tour Europe for a celebration of twenty years since the end of the Great War. Crossing through Germany on the way to Poland, Hoover was invited by the German government to make a brief stop in Berlin as a diplomatic courtesy. Hoover reluctantly complied, meeting with Adolf Hitler and dining with Hermann Goering. In this session, we will compare primary sources to better understand how media reporting compares to official historic accounts and how to identify and understand differences in primary sources. Register now!
Thursday,
Feb. 3
Primary Source Detectives: Learning About President Ford and the 1970s Energy Crisis through Primary Sources: Presented by Clare Shubert, Director of Engagement and Programming with Amy Lawrence, Foundation Educator, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
Learn the differences between primary and secondary sources and explore how analyzing primary sources like photographs, videos, and documents can help us learn about the past. We will use our analytical skills to uncover information from these sources about the 1970s energy crisis during President Ford’s administration. The class is best for grades 4-8. Register now!
Tuesday,
Feb. 8
President Grant and Civil Rights: Presented by Nick Sacco, Park Ranger, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
During Ulysses S. Grant’s presidency, a range of new laws and constitutional amendments established new a spirit of equality before the law for all American citizens, regardless of their background. Through the use of primary sources and discussion questions, students will analyze three pivotal civil rights moments during Grant’s presidency: The ratification of the 15th Amendment, the passage of the Enforcement Acts, and the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Register now!
Thursday,
Feb. 10
Lincoln’s Evolving Legacy in Washington, D.C.: Places as Primary Sources: Presented by Alex Wood, Education Programs Manager at Ford’s Theatre; Jen Epstein, Education Specialist at National Mall and Memorial Parks
Explore how President Abraham Lincoln’s legacy is portrayed in the nation’s capital. Look at places that memorialize him, how these places represent the times in which they were created, and how the meaning of these places and public memory has changed over time. Register now!
Tuesday,
Feb. 15
President Kennedy and the Bill of Rights: Presented by Genevieve Kaplan, Director of Education, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
How did the Bill of Rights impact the investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy? Discover how events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy relate to and help illustrate issues raised in the Bill of Rights. Explore how constitutional amendments are applied and their impact on the lives of Americans then and now. Register now!
Thursday,
Feb. 17
Civic Literacy: Article II and The Presidency:  Presented by Joshua Montanari, Education Specialist, Carter Presidential Library
With President’s Day just around the corner, join our discussion around Article II of the Constitution and the powers of the Executive Branch to learn how primary sources can impact civic literacy. Register now!
Tuesday,
Feb. 22
America’s Presidents Through Portraiture: Presented by Jocelyn Kho, Student Programs Coordinator; Nicole Vance, Gallery Educator, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
How does portraiture reveal a president’s legacy? This program highlights portraits of American Presidents—John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, and Barack Obama—at varying moments in their lifetimes. By comparing two portraits of each of these presidents, we can begin to gain some insight into their legacies. The National Portrait Gallery is proud to hold the only complete collection of portraits of the presidents outside of the White House. Register now!
Thursday,
Feb. 24
I Like IKE: Election Icon: Presented by Helen Pugh, Education Specialist for the Eisenhower Foundation
You may know that ”I Like Ike” was the most successful campaign slogan in history, but did you know that it went beyond the iconic pin? Students will learn about the Disney commercial, the song, clothing, and even a bandwagon that helped propel Ike to the presidency. (Aimed at Grades 5-8) Register now!
Tuesday,
March 1
1986 Immigration Reform: Presented by Mira Cohen, Director of Education, Reagan Presidential Library
Using primary source documents from the Reagan Library archives, explore the making of the last major federal legislation on immigration. Learn how President Reagan’s policies continue to impact immigration in the United States today. Register now!
Thursday,
March 3
Memorializing Young Abraham Lincoln: Presented by Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann, Chief of I&RM, Paula Alexander, Park Ranger, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
Explore how Abraham Lincoln is remembered and commemorated at the places associated with his boyhood. As we examine the history of the memorials, and their evolution, students will learn how the memorial went from a reflection of Lincoln’s rise to greatness to an opportunity to tell the story of young Abraham Lincoln and his humble beginnings in Indiana. Register now!
Tuesday, March 8Theodore Roosevelt’s “First Family”: Presented by Erik Johnson & Kelly Hyland, Theodore Roosevelt Center at DSU
When Theodore Roosevelt became president in late 1901, it was a major change not only for him, but for his wife and five children as well. From their relatively private lives, they were suddenly thrust into the role of the “First Family,” and caught the attention of the Nation. In this presentation, we’ll take a look at some primary sources to examine how Roosevelt and his family tried to balance their public and private lives. Register now!
Thursday,
March 10
How RBG Came to Be: The Process of Appointing a Supreme Court Justice: Presented by Kathleen Pate, Education Specialist, Clinton Presidential Library
Presented by Kathleen Pate, Education Specialist, Clinton Presidential Library
Twenty years before she became known as RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Clinton. We’ll explore the process from selection to swearing-in through records held at the Clinton Presidential Library. Register now!
Tuesday,
March 15
The Constitution and Presidential Powers: Presented by Sara Lyons Davis, Education Specialist, The National Archives
In this program, students will use the Constitution to discover the powers of the president, including powers that are shared with or checked by the legislative and judicial branches of government. Students will analyze primary sources from the National Archives that illustrate these powers, including legislation, presidential appointments, pardons, treaties, and more! Register now!
Thursday,
March 17
7th Street Challenge: Lincoln’s Commute: Presented by Joan Cummins, Program Coordinator, President Lincoln’s Cottage
Lincoln used his daily commute through the heart of Civil War Washington as an opportunity to reflect on the challenges of his presidency and to learn from those he encountered along the way. In the Seventh Street Challenge, students trace Lincoln’s route from the White House, up the 7th Street Turnpike, and home to the Cottage – participating in scavenger-hunt-style challenges to find thematic objects within their own homes as they go – and build their own capacity for meaningful daily problem-solving. Register now!
Tuesday,
March 22
Rosalynn Carter: Partner-in-Chief:  Presented by Jacob Ross, Lead Interpretive Ranger JCNHP & Marle Usry, JCNHP Education Specialist, Jimmy Carter National Historical Park
Not just “the President’s wife,” Rosalynn Carter was a true partner to Jimmy Carter as they pursued the White House and worked for the country together. Rosalynn was vital to Jimmy’s campaign strategy, election success, defining political objectives, and executing national policy. She redefined the Office of the First Lady, becoming the first First Lady to have an office in the White House. Register now!
Thursday,
March 24
Who Started the Cold War?: Presented by Mark Adams, Education Director, Truman Presidential Library
Truman’s policies of Containment, The Truman Doctrine, and the Marshall Plan will be discussed in light of the beginnings of the Cold War. Learn about the context and environment that inspired these policies and how they still impact us today. Register now!
Tuesday,
March 29
Becoming Eleanor Roosevelt: Presented by Jeff Urbin, Education Specialist, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Trace the many challenges that Eleanor Roosevelt faced as a child and young adult and the influences these had on developing her kind, determined, and compassionate character. Register now!
Thursday,
March 31
Young Teedie: Presented by Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace NHS Park Ranger
Explore “Teedie’s” childhood and what life was like growing up in 19th century NYC by joining a ranger and taking a virtual tour of the re-created townhome at 28 E 20th St. We’ll share stories and explore how the influences of Theodore Roosevelt’s childhood would impact his presidential legacy. Register now!
Tuesday, April 5The Role of the First Lady: Presented by Lisa Meade, First Ladies National Historic Site Park Ranger
We expect our modern First Ladies to be activists, hostesses, White House caretakers, and more, but why? From the very first receptions held by Martha Washington, to the public obsession with Frances Cleveland, and to the groundbreaking activism of Eleanor Roosevelt, this program will go through the history of First Ladies of the United States to uncover how we got to these expectations. Register now!
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Watch this clip from one of our most popular PPSP sessions below, where Education Specialist Jeff Urbin at the Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum shows students the wheelchair President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designed for himself.

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