Ladue Middle School eighth grade social studies teacher Lisa Kovarik was recently accepted into the National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute. The workshop, “Abraham Lincoln and the Forging of Modern America,” is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture. As part of the one week workshop, teachers will explore Abraham Lincoln’s life in Springfield and New Salem Village, Illinois and the political and historical challenges he faced as President. Lincoln scholars from universities in the St. Louis area will present 15 sessions: seven historical lectures and discussions, four historic site/museum sessions, and four pedagogical sessions.
Following a day of welcome, lectures, and discussions, teachers will travel together for a two day stay in Springfield, Illinois, described by Lincoln as his only real home. They will begin their visit in Springfield with a tour of the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, renowned for its use of interactive technological exhibits as well as artifacts belonging to the Lincoln family. Next, teachers will visit the Lincoln home where staff will explain how social events helped to facilitate his political ambitions. Additional perspectives on his political base will be explored by visiting his law office.
The following day, teachers will get to explore Lincoln’s early life in the town of New Salem Village where he grew to be a man. There, he clerked in a store, enlisted in the Blackhawk War, served as postmaster and deputy surveyor, studied law, and was elected to the legislature. They will see 24 reconstructed buildings (timber houses, shops, and stores) and numerous costumed interpreters who bring to life the village of Lincoln’s day. Following the visit to New Salem Village, teachers will return to the SIUE campus for the final sessions of the workshop.