Historian Jim Basker Teaches at Willow

James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, taught social studies classes at The Willow School on December 1. Professor Basker spoke to seventh and eighth grade social studies students about the importance of primary documents and how to interpret them. He shared a number of unique pieces from the Gilder Lehrman collection with Willow students.

“Our students and faculty were thrilled to have this opportunity to learn from someone of Jim Basker’s talent and experience,” said Jerry Loewen, Willow’s Head of School. “His depth of thought and perspective on the complicated nature of retelling stories from the past was an exceptional extension of our concentration on systems thinking and educating for sustainability.“

You may recognize Professor Basker and the Gilder Lehrman Institute from their work developing the Hamilton Education Program, which gives Title I high school students the opportunity to see Lin-Manuel Miranda’s popular play, Hamilton, for just a Hamilton ($10). The program also integrates Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Era into the classroom, encouraging students to create original performances inspired by the play and their own research into historic documents.

This is just one of the many programs offered by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The Institute is the nation’s leading American history organization dedicated to K-12 education. Its mission is to promote knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources. At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives of American history, including 65,000 documents.

Willow plans to continue to work with Professor Basker and the Institute to enrich the school’s social studies program through thoughtful study of multiple perspectives and primary documents.