Teachers

Hands-On Archives: Student Field Trips at New York City

The National Archives at New York City is pleased to offer free curriculum-based, student field trips for schools, home-schoolers, camps, and other learning communities to learn about the National Archives and the rich primary sources it holds that tell our American story. All National Archives visits are free, can accomodate 15-35 students with one chaperone per 10 students, and are offered Monday through Friday (except Federal holidays).

Exploring America's Diversity

Students will learn about the diverse history of the United States through passenger arrival, Census, and naturalization records of real Americans. They will serve as detectives looking for clues about individuals through the documents that tell their story. The lives of everyday Americans such as Florence Campbell—a 13-year-old student from Panama, and Max Garber—a butter and eggs merchant from Russia, highlight the ways of life for millions of New York City residents. Students will gain important historical analysis tools and learn about the types of documents available for their own family history research. Participants will also receive a tour and overview of other important historical documents held by the National Archives.

  • Grades 4–8
  • 1.5–2 hours
  • Can be customized to explore a diverse variety of ethnicities in the New York City area

Pre-visit Activities & Requirements

  • Familiar students with immigration and archives vocabulary words.
  • Discussing immigration in general and ask your class if any students immigrated themselves. If willing, ask them to share their experience. Questions could include: Why did their family decide to leave their native country? What did their family bring with them? (This could include both physical and intangibles.) Then (or if no students have experienced immigration), ask the entire class to list what they would bring if they were going to live in another country. Tell them that they could only bring what they can physically carry to help them prioritize. Afterward, discuss their lists and reasoning behind their choices. Follow-up with questions such as: Do you think it was hard to limit the items you brought? Why or why not? If you could only bring one item to the new country, what would it be? Why?

Complete and return the registration form.

Getting Ready for National History Day

During the year-long National History Day program thousands of students, grades 6-12, choose a topic related to an annual theme; research at libraries, archives, museums and historic sites; and share their knowledge about the topic through exhibits, essays, documentaries, websites, or performances. Hundreds from New York and New Jersey visit the National Archives at New York City to find out how to best prepare for the local, state and national competitions. We encourage students to choose a topic for research from our original records. You can find more resource for National History Day on our main National History Day page.

In this workshop, students will discover how to locate and utilize primary sources, analyze documents to increase critical thinking and research skills, understand the research process and the importance of citing records properly, review significance to determine the relevance of primary sources to the research topic, discuss strategies for incorporating primary sources into their projects, and research original records at our facility. Participants will also receive a tour and overview of other important historical documents held by the National Archives.

  • Grades 6–12
  • 1.5 to 3 hours
  • Can be customized to explore specific topics

Complete and return the registration form.

The Confino Family

Victoria Confino was only a youth when she emigrated from Kastoria, Greece, to the Lower East Side. As a family of eight, the Confinos began their American journey in a cramped fifth-floor tenement apartment at 97 Orchard Street. In this field trip offered in conjunction with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, participants will start their journey at the National Archives at New York City and discover the Confino family's past through an exploration of primary sources, including passenger arrival and Census records. They will also receive a tour and overview of important historical documents held by the National Archives.

Participants will then travel on their own to the Tenement Museum to "meet" Victoria Confino herself. On the hour-long tour of her 1916 tenement apartment, they will learn Victoria's personal story, an illustration of the immigrant experience. Taking on the role of recent immigrants, students will interact with the 14-year-old Victoria and ask her questions about adjusting to life in the Lower East Side. They will witness the physical conditions of a tenement, handle household objects, and listen to music on an authentic wind-up Victrola. Armed with historical understanding from their archival research, participants will be able to create thought-provoking questions for Victoria and gain a deep understanding of turn-of-the-century immigration in New York City. For more information, contact the Tenement Museum and the National Archives at New York City.

  • Grades 4–8
  • 3–4 hours, including the both sites (same day only)
  • Approximately 30 minutes travel time between locations (You are responsible for your own travel arrangements.)

Pre-visit Activities & Requirements

  • Familiarize students with immigration and archives vocabulary words.
  • Discussing immigration in general and ask your class if any students immigrated themselves. If willing, ask them to share their experience. Questions could include: Why did their family decide to leave their native country? What did their family bring with them? (This could include both physical and intangibles.) Then (or if no students have experienced immigration), ask the entire class to list what they would bring if they were going to live in another country. Tell them that they could only bring what they can physically carry to help them prioritize. Afterward, discuss their lists and reasoning behind their choices. Follow-up with questions such as: Do you think it was hard to limit the items you brought? Why or why not? If you could only bring one item to the new country, what would it be? Why?

Reserving a Tour

Book the tour through the Tenement Museum's website or call 866-606-7232. Select up to three dates. Indicate this dual program when booking. If online, put "Hands On Archives-NARA" in the "Other Comments or Questions" section. The Tenement Museum will coordinate available tour dates with the requester and the National Archives at New York City. Note: National Archives reservations are free; however, the Tenement Museum is fee-based. Consult the Tenement Museum for specific prices.

Introduction to the National Archives

Students will learn about the National Archives through hands-on analysis of our materials. They will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of our facility and get to view original records of the National Archives. Students will serve as historians, analyzing and interpreting a variety of primary sources related to a topic of your choice.

In preparation for your visit, familiarize your students with certain vocabulary words related to archives.

  • Grades K–12
  • 1.5–2 hours
  • Can be customized to fit a variety of grade levels, student abilities, and topic areas

Complete and return the registration form.

Introduction to Archival Research

Participants will learn about the National Archives, the variety of records it maintains, and strategies for conducting research here. They will also go on a behind-the-scenes tour of our facility, view original records from our holdings, and work with facsimile copies of documents in our learning center. Note: The Introduction to Archival Research workshop can be customized to explore a diverse variety of primary source documents from the National Archives. Contact us to find out more details

  • Grades 9–12, Undergraduate, Graduate
  • Appropriate for History, Civics, Education, and other courses
  • 1.5–3 hours
  • On or off-site
  • Can be customized to explore a diverse variety of primary source documents from the National Archives

Complete and return the registration form.

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To find out more about Hands-On Archives visits: Contact Us 1-866-840-1752

Location: The National Archives at New York City One Bowling Green, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10004

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

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