Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Curriculum Resource: Visiting Presidential Libraries

I realized that I haven't mentioned on this blog one of the American history and civics resources I've been following this summer.  My youngest brother, David Cross, has been on a quest to visit all 13 of the official American Presidential libraries.  The great thing is that we can participate virtually by checking into his blog, Across the Country with the Presidents.

David is a lawyer, a part-time writer, and, like most of my family, an aficionado of politics and American civic history.  He plans to write a book about his trip, which is centered around what determines a President's long-term reputation and whether their presidential libraries play a role in that.  (For a full explanation of his project, click here.)

So of course I am biased, but I think he does a great job of capturing the zeitgeist of the places he visits.  And I think he makes a good case that for all these guys, even with all the modern PR techniques and carefully controlled messages and media manipulation and such, that you learn something about their core by seeing where they came from and observing how they try to lay out their legacy.

So if you have the opportunity to visit some of these places yourself, I would recommend you do so.  It helps these historical figures come alive and seem more human to students of all ages.  But if you can't get there yourself, then check out his blog.  It is certainly something I plan to use as we study 20th century history this year.

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