Young Historians Institute

Learn History, Question History, Create History.

Institute Description

History is important in our everyday lives, communities, and cultures. Therefore, it is even more important to understand why and how people produce and interpret history. The Young Historians Institute is a week-long reading and writing intensive program hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) for rising high school students in grades 10 to 12.

Participants will focus on exploring historical content while practicing the historical thinking skills that define the life and work of professional historians. Students will have the opportunity to participate in intensive lectures and discussions, analyze primary sources from the NMAAHC and other Smithsonian collections, visit a historical site, engage with experts in the field, and you complete your experience by producing and presenting content for an interactive tour experience for the public.

Summer 2020: The Era of Reconstruction (1863 - 1877)*

Date: Monday, June 22, 2020 to Friday, June 26, 2020*
Time: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (M-F)
Location: The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.

Student Goals

  • Introduction to and the practice of select historical thinking skills: primary source analysis, historical contextualization, and interpretation
  • Introduction to and the practice of college-level writing techniques and methods
  • Visit a relevant historical site within Washington, D.C.
  • Access the galleries and resources of NMAAHC 
  • Interact with experts in the academic and public historical fields
  • Design a tour segment that demonstrates the historical skills developed during the institute

Registration Fees:

$200 (plus credit card handling fees)

Application Information

  1. Student Information and Academic Information
  2. Parent/Guardian Information
  3. Letter of Recommendation (1)
  4. Student Short Answers (4)

Information about Summer 2020 will be available in Fall 2019.

* Theme and dates are tentative.

  “History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes through the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.”

          James Baldwin, Ebony Magazine, August 1965