UA Little Rock receives 20K grant to digitize historical records for K-12 education

Kristen Mann

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture has received a nearly $20,000 grant to digitize historical materials related to Arkansas for use in K-12 social studies education. 

The $19,997 grant is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Midwest Region located at Illinois State University. The center is joined in the grant by the UA Little Rock Department of History and its Social Studies Education program and the Little Rock School District.

The center and its partners will use the grant to create sets of digitized historical materials related to Arkansas and tied to Arkansas State Social Studies Frameworks and the Arkansas Disciplinary Literacy Frameworks for use in elementary, middle, and high schools.

“When teachers have easy online access to primary sources about Arkansas, they can create engaging activities and lessons that connect local events and places to national and international events and places,” said Dr. Kristin Mann, professor of history who will serve as the project’s director. “Working with primary sources helps students ask historical questions, think critically, and write analytically while developing the skills they need for civic life, college, and the workplace.”

With these and matching funds, the partners will host workshops for master teachers to identify digitized photographs and documents from the Library of Congress and from the center’s own collections to be combined into primary source sets tailored to state education frameworks. Teachers will field test the sets during the fall 2018 semester. The partners will also build a website to serve as a portal for teachers to find and download the materials.

This project combines the strength of the center’s rich archival collections with its commitment to making primary source materials easily accessible and meaningful to students from elementary to graduate school.

“We value the preservation of the materials of history, but we are equally committed to making sure those materials are used to answer important questions and to understand how past events have shaped our story,” said Dr. Deborah Baldwin, associate provost of the center.

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