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 9-12.

Participants will focus on exploring historical content while practicing the historical thinking skills that define the life and work of professional historians.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 immerse themselves in history through interactive lectures, hands-on activities, visits to historical sites, and engagement with experts in the field.

Check back later this year for updates about Summer 2019!

Student Goals

  • Introduction to and the practice of select historical thinking skills: primary and secondary source analysis, historical contextualization, and historical cause and effect
  • Introduction to and the practice of college-level writing techniques and methods
  • Visit relevant historical sites within Washington, D.C.
  • Access the galleries and resources of NMAAHC and other Smithsonian museums
  • Interact with experts in the academic and public historical fields
  • Complete a project that demonstrates the historical skills developed throughout the institute

Registration Fees:

$100 (plus credit card handling fees)

Institute Sample Schedule (This is a tentative schedule and is subject to change.)

  • Day 1: 
    “What is History?”
    Morning: Interactive Lecture, Student Group Work
    Afternoon: Guest Speaker, Gallery Exploration, or Field Trip to Historic Site
     
  • Day 2: 
    “Digging into History!”
    Morning: Gallery Exploration, Guest Speaker, Interactive Lecture
    Afternoon: Interactive Lecture, Student Group Work
     
  • Day 3: 
    “What are historical skills and how do I develop them?” (Part 1)
    Morning: Interactive Lecture, Student Group Work
    Afternoon: Guest Speaker, Gallery Exploration
     
  • Day 4: 
    “What are historical skills and how do I develop them?” (Part 2)
    Morning: Field Trip to Historic Site, Guest Lecturer
    Afternoon: Interactive Lecture, Student Group Work
     
  • Day 5: 
    “How do I use my historical skills in my classes, in my community, and beyond?”
    Morning: Interactive Lecture, Student Group Work
    Afternoon: Guest Speaker, Presentation of Projects

  “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