The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is dedicated to offering trustworthy resources that support K-12 teachers’ digital classrooms. Over the coming weeks GHS will be working diligently to provide educators and parents valuable tools and information to meet the needs of students during the Covid-19 school closures. The “Digital Resources for Georgia’s Students” blog series will explore GHS’s extensive catalog of online resources for learning Georgia and American history and offer strategies for using them at home or in a digital classroom.
Primary sources are the foundation of social studies education. Primary sources are the eyewitnesses of history, the raw materials created during the time period under study. Students develop essential skills through exploring and interpreting primary sources. Learning to read, assess, and interpret primary sources helps students analyze historical evidence to develop evidence-based arguments while improving their content knowledge.
But where do primary sources come from? How does the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) obtain its vast collections of Georgia and American history? The simple answer is: from people like you.
As an educational and research institution, GHS has been collecting and preserving primary source materials since 1839, so that future generations will have a better understanding of their past. The GHS collections are amassed by and represent all manner of people and organizations that documented their lives through photographs, documents, diaries, artwork, and artifacts. These everyday items are the materials that historians, scholars, and teachers use to interpret the past.
You can help students understand the value and impact of primary sources by asking them to consider the everyday objects, experiences, and materials they use or come in contact with in their own lives.
Primary sources from earlier crises, like the 1918 flu pandemic, are invaluable tools and resources that help historians, scholars, and individuals understand how our nation met the challenges like those we are facing now.
Now, as Georgia and the rest of the world meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, GHS wants to preserve the stories of how our lives were disrupted and transformed during this unique time. To that end, you and your students can help GHS as we chronicle and collect Georgia’s experience during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
If students are documenting life during the current pandemic through photographs, written records, audio recordings, videos, or other records, we would like for them to share it with us. Are they writing poems, short stories, or are keeping a journal? Are there acts of kindness and heroism around them they would want future generations to know about? Do they know medical professional caring for the sick? Are their parents small business owners helping to meet the needs of people in their community? The list is endless, but in sharing these stories of struggle, triumph, and creativity you will help GHS to fulfill our mission and become a part of the recorded history of this pandemic for future generations.
At GHS we also value the challenges facing teachers during this time. Please consider lending your own voice to this collection as your experiences offer unique and crucial perspectives on this time in history.
Collected materials may become part of GHS’s permanent collection and be made available to researchers once processed and cataloged. Some items may be used now and in the future for online exhibits and social media campaigns.
If you or your students would like to participate in collecting primary sources to teach future generations about their experiences, please fill out this form to send us your contributions.