Student and Class Visits to the Archives
Classes in all divisions are welcome for general tours or introductions to the archives as well as visits of one or more class periods to use resources in the colleciton. Please contact the archives staff to arrange a visit.
Mathematics & Science
• Browse in the collection’s student notebooks for arithmetic, algebra, bookkeeping, geometry, trigonometry or surveying; or navigation, astronomy, geography, botany, forestry or ornithology. A notebook in your subject can be a rich source for problems for students to approach creatively. Some notebooks are project-oriented (as well as beautiful). Students might design projects using one of these as a model.
• The archives has several scientific instruments used in the past by students or teachers which can be of interest for the analysis of their structure and use.
• Use the collection’s student herbaria (plant cutting collections) to spark photograph-based collections made by students today.
• Select a student essay from The Naturalist (1843 publication of the Westtown Literary Society) for students to critique.
Fine Arts and Performing Arts
• Study several Westtown landscapes painted by George Whitney or others, as springboards to painting or drawing sites students choose.
• Use a 200-year old Westtown pie plate as the model for student made pie plates.
• Encourage graphic design students to incorporate items from the collection in their projects.
• Use student letters or other documents from the collection to collaborate in writing a play focused on an era of Westtown’s past.
• Let students look through the photographs of productions of a play they have read, and which has been performed at Westtown, as the basis for small group collaborations on set designs.
Middle and Lower Schools
(Activities in varying disciplines could be adapted for Middle School)• Introduction to primary sources in the study of history (textual, visual and artifacts).
• Examine and analyze everyday artifacts (activity on past Grandparents’ Days).
• Explore material culture at Westtown in preparation for archaeological dig.
• Explore cultural changes as they were evident at Westtown, e.g., study the Industrial Revolution at Westtown through maps, drawings, plans and artifacts.
• Use artifacts from the collection to illustrate unit on Native Americans including items such as local and Southwest Native American implements and pottery along with hand drawn maps of Westtown land denoting location of Indian spring.
• Integrate a variety of sources that tell the stories of Westonians such as Johnny Fitzpatrick (the shoemaker) for a study of biography.
• Examine artifacts such as silhouettes, samplers, quill, sand blotters, bonnets and clothing to learn about everyday objects from the past.
English and History
- Hear an archivist’s introduction to the letter collection. Then read, react and respond to a student letterfrom the collection, with your own personal letter.
- With an archivist’s Q&A on daily life at Westtown as preparation, reimagine the past with a story or poembased on a photograph or an artifact out of Westtown’s past.
- Describe, contextualize, analyze and reflect on an artifact from an historical point of view.
- Read a primary document-- like a page from a financial journal—for insights into 19 th C Westtown life.
- Research a topic from Westtown’s past using multiple primary sources.
- Research how a national or world event affected Westtown.
World & Classical Languages
- Translate a student letter about life at Westtown from English, then read the translation and discuss it aloud.
- Study a photograph from the collection and imagine your way into it for a class presentation.
- Learn about a place or object (painting, etc.) on campus and prepare to act as a “tour guide” for your class.
• Examine a Mesopotamian clay tablet, or a pottery Egyptian grave god from the archives’ Randolph Collection to expand on discussion of readings in Genesis or Exodus.
• See artifacts from, and hear about life at early Westtown as a springboard to discussion of the Quaker Testimonies.