From July 4 to 15, two weeklong courses taught by Smith professors will offer girls entering grades 9 through 12 an opportunity to investigate New England’s history, art and culture.

photo_archives_002NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – This summer, Smith College will launch a program for high school girls that will offer an opportunity to perform and present research on New England’s history, art and culture using original documents and artifacts.

The program, “Exploring New England,” will delve into the region’s history where it happened. An intimate view of life in New England during the 1700s and 1800s will be revealed through hands-on exploration of architecture, art and literature, as well as everyday objects such as diaries, clothing, scrapbooks and tea sets.

Designed to be both fun and challenging, the two weeklong courses will be taught by Smith professors and culminate in presentations. They are the first of a number of planned summer programs for high school students.

“This is an approach to learning about the past that students find highly engaging and that is so different from the focus on textbooks and memorization in many high school classrooms,” said Jennifer Hall-Witt, Smith history lecturer and program director. “The program will equip them to become historical detectives.”

On campus, participants will work in the Smith College Archives—which houses one of the world’s largest collection of women’s history documents—and the Smith College Museum of Art. They will also take fieldtrips to places like Historic Deerfield, the Emily Dickinson House and Old Sturbridge Village, and work with parts of the collection that most tourists never see.

Outside of class, the teenagers may take a lesson in 19th-century social dance, engage in the Revolutionary-era ritual of taking tea, or participate in organized athletic and artistic activities.

“Exploring New England” is the first of several programs planned by Smith and is designed to prepare students for college-level academics.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.

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