2023 Presidential Primary Sources Project Program

There’s Plenty to Learn About Our Presidents!

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Please join us for the 2023 Presidential Primary Sources Project (PPSP) sessions featuring interactive discussions and using primary source documents to understand our nation’s presidents. You can register for any and all programs listed below.

All programs are live at 11 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. ET.

Tuesday, Jan. 17A New Birth of Freedom: Examining Lincoln’s Views on Democracy and SlaveryAbraham Lincoln Presidential Library and MuseumBefore the Civil War, Americans often debated if slavery was compatible with democracy, and Abraham Lincoln was no exception. What were Lincoln’s views on the conflict between slavery and democracy? Did they change over time? Join us as we examine and discuss Lincoln’s Definition of Democracy, The Gettysburg Address, and Lincoln’s last public address and consider how his beliefs about democracy and slavery evolved during his Presidency. This session is most appropriate for students above the 6th grade level and will ask students to engage in conversation throughout.Heather Nice, Director of Education; Dr. Christian McWhirter, Lincoln Historian
Thursday, Jan. 19President Grant’s Vision of JusticeUlysses S. Grant National Historic SiteWhat is the meaning of justice? The definition of this term was hotly contested during Ulysses S. Grant’s Presidency as he worked to reconcile the North and South while also attempting to protect the civil rights of newly freed slaves. In this program, students will learn about President Grant’s efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and equal rights during the Reconstruction Era.Nick Sacco, Park Ranger
Tuesday, Jan. 24Slavery at Mount VernonGeorge Washington’s Mount VernonThis analysis-based program virtually connects students and teachers with individual members of the enslaved community while discussing the institution and legacy of slavery at Mount Vernon. The interactive tour will use the private collections of Mount Vernon, historic grounds, and thinking routines to teach about lives, jobs, and relationships of the enslaved community and the institution that fought to take away their humanity. The students will gain digital access to original primary source documents, objects, and places.Sadie Troy, Manager for Student Learning
Thursday, Jan. 26Out of Paw-ffice: Presidential Pets in the White HouseLBJ LibraryWas there really an alligator in the White House? How many pets did the Roosevelts have? These are some of the questions we’ll answer when you join the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and the White House Historical Association to explore the funny, odd, and entertaining antics of the First Family’s pets throughout time.Sheila Mehta, Education Specialist, Samantha Hunter-Gibbs, Director of K-12 Education, White House Historical Association, Ken O’Regan, Assistant Director of Education, WHHA
Thursday, Feb. 2Portraits of Presidential Power CouplesSmithsonian National Portrait GalleryHow has portraiture of America’s First Couples changed over time? This program highlights portraits of three American Presidents and portraits of their respective First Spouse- George and Martha Washington, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and Barack and Michelle Obama. See the diverse ways presidential power couples have been portrayed in portraiture though history. The National Portrait Gallery is proud to hold the only complete collection of portraits of the presidents outside of the White House.Jocelyn Kho, Coordinator of Student Programs; Erin Koester Tusell, Gallery Educator
Tuesday, Feb. 7Civil Rights to Human Rights: JFK, MLK and RFKThe Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey PlazaCivil rights was a major issue during the 1960s, taking center stage during President Kennedy’s time in office. See how leaders began to shift their focus from civil rights issues to human rights by the end of the decade. Explore how President Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy impacted the United States then and now.Genevieve Kaplan, Director of Education
Thursday, Feb. 9The Constitution and Presidential PowersNational ArchivesIn 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!Sara Lyons Davis, Education Specialist
Tuesday, Feb. 14Playing at Frontier Hunter: Theodore Roosevelt’s Experiences in the American WestTheodore Roosevelt CenterDid you ever play cowboy as a kid? Theodore Roosevelt took playing cowboy to the extreme! TR said that he would never have become president if not for his experiences in the American West. We will take a look at why he went West, what he did there, what he thought about it, and how this affected both his personality and his politics. Finally, we’ll analyze how having a “cowboy president” impacted the United States.Dr. William J. Hansard, Social Media/Education Coordinator
Thursday, Feb. 16Exploring Lincoln in WashingtonFord’s Theatre and National Mall and Memorial ParksFord’s Theatre and The National Mall and Memorial Parks explore what Washington, D.C., was like for President Lincoln and how the city has grown and changed over time. Examine places that mattered to Lincoln during his lifetime and places where he matters to us today, including the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Ford’s Theatre. In this interactive program, participants will look closely at historic and contemporary images of Washington D.C. including maps, photographs and illustrations. Learn about Washington’s major landmarks and how the city has changed over the last 150+ years.Alex Wood, Education Programs Manager, Ford’s Theatre Society; Jen Epstein, Education Specialist, National Mall and Memorial Parks
Tuesday, Feb. 21You Are About to Embark Upon the Great CrusadeEisenhower Foundation and National Mall and Memorial ParkCome explore and investigate the World War II and Dwight D. Eisehower Memorial in Washington, D.C. We will analyze and engage with the monuments at each memorial, exploring the quotes, symbols, and the stories that are within.Helen Rose, Education SpecialistJen Epstein, Education Specialist, National Mall and Memorial Parks
Thursday, Feb. 23Our Delicate Rights: Japanese American IncarcerationRoosevelt Presidential Libary and MuseumThis program describes how the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, a violation of civil rights with a lesson for us all.Jeff Urbin, Education Specialist
Tuesday, Feb. 28The Women Behind the WomenFirst Ladies National Historic SiteMany of the legacies of first ladies would be different without the help of people behind the scenes. With a focus on African American women, we’ll explore the stories of those that contributes to the legacies of first ladies.Lisa Meade, Park Ranger; Rebekah Knaggs, Park Guide
Thursday, March 2From General to President to Me!Eisenhower Foundation, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, George Washington’s Mount VernonWhat is effective leadership and what qualities makes a good leader? Join us as we examine different leadership qualities that successfully transformed George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower from wartime generals to US Presidents and how we can implement those qualities within our everyday lives.Helen Rose, Education Specialist; Nick Sacco, Park Ranger; Sadie Troy, Manager for Student Learning
Tuesday, March 7Women’s Rights are Human Rights, Human Rights are Women’s RightsClinton Presidential LibraryOn September 5th 1995, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at the 4th United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Her speech included the memorable phrase “Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights.” This program will examine her rhetoric and the behind the scenes speechwriting process through records from the Clinton Administration.Kathleen Pate, Education Specialist
Tuesday, March 147th Street Challenge: Lincoln’s CommutePresident Lincoln’s CottageLincoln 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.Joan Cummins, Program Coordinator
Thursday, March 16Public Lands, Public Lens: Establishing Protected SpacesAndrew Jackson’s Hermitage and Theodore Roosevelt CenterTheodore Roosevelt is credited as the driving force behind land preservation and its use for recreation and environmental protection. Andrew Jackson created the first land protections in 1832. In both cases, the goals of land protection had pros and cons, including the relocation of Native Americans.Erin Adams, Director of Education (AJH), Dr. William Hansard (TRC)
Tuesday, March 21Year of Decisions: 1948Truman Presidential Library and MuseumSeventy-five years ago as President Truman was preparing to run for election in November, a series of domestic and foreign affairs led to Truman making a series of important decisions. This session will examine the decisions he made throughout the calendar year and the impact they had on the November presidential election.Mark Adams. Education Director
Tuesday, March 28Interrogating Presidential PhotosGerald R. Ford Presidential Library and MuseumSince John F. Kennedy, most Presidents have had an official photographer, resulting in a wealth of primary source material. But what can students learn by taking a deeper look, past the subject matter and into the backgrounds and material culture represented in these photos, to learn more about the lives of our leaders?Richard Weld, Education Specialist, The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
Thursday, March 30Responding to RebellionGeorge Washington’s Mount Vernon, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Abraham Lincoln Presidential LibraryPresidents Washington, Jackson, and Lincoln all dealt with concerns related to factionalism, sectionalism, and crises in the union. How did they respond? How did they apply executive authority? Join us as we examine key documents and engage your students in discussion analyzing how these presidents responded to threats and acts of rebellion. NOTE: The documents shared in this session are most appropriate for grades 8 and higher.Sadie Troy, Manager for Student Learning (WMV), Erin Adams, Director of Education (AJH), Corinne Claycomb, Site Interpreter (ALPLM), Dr. Christian McWhirter, Lincoln Historian (ALPLM)
Tuesday, April 4Women For a Change: Gender Equality & the Carter AdministrationJimmy Carter Presidential LibraryThis program will introduce students to the state of Women’s Rights issues in the 1970s, the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972, and the Constitutional means the Carter administration embraced to address gender inequality. Students will be provided exposure to relevant primary sources of the National Archives and Carter Library, and will have opportunities to discuss the amendment process and diversity in the federal government.Joshua Montanari, Education Specialist
Thursday, April 6It’s a Pioneer LifeLincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical ParkWhat was life like on the frontier in the early 19th century? In this program students will take a look at two living history farms dedicated to telling the story of the life of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, when he was a boy growing to a man.Paula Alexander, Park Ranger (LIBO), Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann, Director of Education and Resource Management (LIBO), Stacy Humphreys, Chief of Interpretation (ABLI)
Tuesday, April 11My Earliest Childhood MemoriesAbraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical ParkJoin the Park Rangers at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park to explore the place of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln’s earliest childhood memories. Students will explore some of the influential memories that shaped a young President Lincoln and reflect on how their own memories have impacted their lives.Noelle LeGrand, Education Technician
Thursday, April 13Rosalynn Carter – Partner in ChiefJimmy Carter National Historical ParkThis program will guide students through reflections on First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s influence on her husband’s governship and presidency, her own individual impact in politics, and the story of their partnership throughout the years.Mallory Hernandez, Park Guide