The student research and databases on primaryresearch.org are the result of a number of curricular and extra-curricular projects.
“Claypit Cemetery” dates back as far as 1700. It is now completely overgrown and until recently, almost forgotten. The cemetery is owned by the neighboring town of Dracut. Students and teachers research the individuals buried there in an attempt to construct a cyber-cemetery in place of what used to be a plot of land with headstones memorializing the dead.
This high school project on the history of stone walls uses “lichenometry” as a dating technique, and culminates with the construction of a wall at the high school under the guidance of a stone wall building expert and historian.
Students were assigned to make historical postcards of Beverly. The front of the postcard was to have a picture of something that represented the history of Beverly. On the back of the postcard, students wrote about the significance of the history that the picture symbolized. The importance of the history was explained through intersection and immortalization.
Project Apprentice to History (PATH) is a model collaborative project involving the Beverly Public Library and a number of Greater Boston’s finest archival repositories and Libraries. PATH is a class for high school students in Beverly, MA. Students participate voluntarily, meeting before school and on weekends.
In this class taught by W. Dean Eastman at Beverly High School, Beverly’s history is used as a vehicle for understanding contexts of both the history of the nation and the world. The “primary research” aspect of the class is the focus, as students gain understanding of what it means to be historians, to conduct original research and write original papers.
The Nathan Dane Collaborative is a model project designed to expand the archival resources of both the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Beverly Historical Society. The Collaborative is designed to provide a catalyst for local historical societies to catalog and digitize various manuscript collections that are particular to their local institution.
Primary documents and original databases compiled and created by students in Project Apprentice to History (PATH) and Primary Research Through the History of Beverly, examining the lives of African Americans living in antebellum Boston.
One of our most popular units of study is in the field of Early American Gravestone Studies which we fondly refer to as “Tiptoeing Through the Tombstones”.
Located in the school’s courtyard, the fifteen by twenty foot “sand box” is three feet high and contains over 48,000 pounds of soil. Over ten thousand artifacts, both genuine and reproduced, have been seeded in what is commonly called “the pit”.