Morristown National Historical Park continues to develop innovative ways to use their extensive library and archival collections.
Since the spring of 2009, Morristown's educational program, Primary Source Seminar, has hosted fifteen document-based student seminar and teacher workshops events.
Utilizing Morristown's Lloyd W. Smith Archival Collection, Primary Source Seminar guides participants through source use and analysis activities that promote effective and meaningful primary source investigation and develop historical thinking skills. Students and teachers work firsthand with authentic, unedited eighteenth- and nineteenth-century manuscripts while gaining practical research experience. This program and the park's archival collections have increased patronage and introduced a whole new audience to Morristown NHP.
This summer, with the help of a National Park Foundation Stewardship Grant, Primary Source Seminar is initiating an Archival Ambassadors program which will entail a graduate level internship and a collaborating high school stewardship component. Morristown hopes this initiative will increase park visibility and help inspire the next generation of park employees.
Enthusiastic response from recent Primary Source Seminar participants demonstrates the benefit of making historical resources available to young learners and giving them the tools to inquire. It also reinforces the significant role cultural heritage institutions, like Morristown National Historical Park, play in providing such opportunities.