To aid Chicago’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Teacher and Student Programs will run virtual programs (via Zoom) for the duration of 2020-21. This includes the in-school Traveling Collections program. The library will regularly post operations updates to our COVID-19 update page.
Newberry Traveling Collections
Can’t come to the Newberry? Let our research library come to you!
The Newberry is pleased to offer two new opportunities for teachers and high school students to work with original primary sources in their own classrooms.
The Civil War
Newberry staff will bring a traveling collection of original Civil War documents and images to your classroom. Highlights include illustrated copies of Harper’s Weekly, Union and Confederate soldiers’ letters, and The Liberator. Learn how both mass media and personal documents shaped Americans’ understanding of the Civil War. Students learn to engage in close reading and primary source analysis to better understand the Civil War.
World War II
On a typical school day, Newberry staff will bring a traveling collection of original World War II documents and images to your classroom. During the 2020-21 school year, the Newberry will offer virtual Traveling Collections presentations. Highlights include propaganda posters, a newspaper from the Heart Mountain Japanese internment camp, newspapers reporting on the Pearl Harbor attack and the D-Day invasions, and personal letters and photographs. Your students will learn to interact with primary sources ranging from the war front to the home front. Whether you seek World War II-era content or just want to introduce students to primary source analysis, this collection provides a unique experience for students to interact with historical documents.
This program, generously funded by the Mazza Foundation, is free for Chicago Public Schools and Big Shoulders Fund schools.
Hear what students from John Hancock High School have to say about this traveling collections program!
“My favorite part was interacting with the actual sources instead of looking at pictures of them or only being able to see them from afar.”
“It felt like a time machine.”
“I loved how old the documents were. It was a first-hand experience.”
What to Expect during a Traveling Collection Visit
Upon registering for the program and scheduling a visit, the Teacher and Student Programs team will send you a short document, written by a subject specialist, explaining important background context for the historical period we will cover in the traveling collection. You are free to assign the document or incorporate into your lesson planning however you wish. The day of the visit (either virtual or in-person), we will present a selection of historical artifacts to discuss and engage with during your class. Students are welcome (and even encouraged!) to touch the items and take pictures. Following a brief analysis and discussion of the items as a large group, we will branch out into a small-group analysis activity, which will allow your students to practice document analysis skills first-hand. We strive to adjust the curriculum to best suit your class size, time allotment, and population needs and abilities.
Registration for 2020-21 virtual Traveling Collections will open October 5, 2020. Register here.
Exhibition Tours at the Newberry
Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s “Nova Reperta”
During a time of globalization, colonization, and warfare, Europeans in the Renaissance embraced new technology even as they lamented its destabilizing consequences.
Renaissance Invention explores the conception of novelty and technology through an unprecedented study of Nova Reperta, a late 16th-century print series that celebrated the marvels of the age, including the stirrup, the cure for syphilis, and the so-called discovery of America. Designed in Florence and printed in Antwerp, the Nova Reperta images circulated widely, shaping Europeans’ perceptions of the innovations that were changing the world and breeding anxiety about the future.
In Renaissance Invention, materials from the Newberry’s collection will appear alongside armor from the Art Institute of Chicago and astronomical instruments from the Adler Planetarium, transporting visitors to a time of change, disruption, and technological development that resembles our own today.
The Newberry is currently not accepting large school groups for tours; however, the exhibit is currently open to the public. More information about the Renaissance Invention exhibition can be found here.
Decision 1920: A Return to “Normalcy”
In this exhibition, you are a voter faced with making an important choice in a moment of profound change.
A global war followed by a global pandemic has brought the United States into a deeper relationship with the rest of the world. On the home front, long campaigns for national prohibition and women’s suffrage seem to have reached their end while, in the previous summer, unrest around race, immigration, and the economy show that challenges that have existed since the founding of the republic remain unresolved.
What direction do you chose? Forward into a new decade or a return to the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century?
Learn about the issues, meet the candidates, experience the campaigns, and cast your ballot. Decision 1920 offers a choice where the stakes are big and the consequences real.
More information about Decision 1920 can be found here.
Class Visits to the Newberry’s Collections
Groups of 15 students or less are welcome to visit the library’s reading rooms to experience first-hand our amazing collections. Reservations are first come, first served, and all group members must be at least 14 years of age or in the ninth grade to enter the reading rooms. For more information on specific requirements and how to register your group, please visit the Reader Services department webpage.
Class visits are not available at this time.