Workshop Overview

The America’s Industrial Revolution Teacher Workshops at The Henry Ford will draw together selected teachers with leading humanities guest scholars and museum host scholars for unique enrichment exercises centered on the impact of industrialization. The workshops are designed to encourage your curiosity and deepen your knowledge on the subject, engage you with innovative methods of transmitting enthusiasm and content to students, and empower you to use cultural resources to enliven the teaching and learning of history. The Henry Ford presents an exemplary living case-study of American industrialization and showcases through sites and artifacts how the country morphed from a fledgling nation built around agriculture to one that was defined by its cities, its machines and its manufacturing.

NEH Workshop

Teachers will explore the diverse ways that Americans experienced social change between the 1760s and the 1920s through lecture/discussions and by visiting with museum curators at 12 of the 80 historic sites interpreted in Greenfield Village: Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory, Hermitage Plantation Slave Quarters, 1760s Daggett Farm, 1880s Firestone Farm, a railroad roundhouse, and a 19th-century grist mill, for instance.  In addition, time is set aside each day for exploration of archival sources in the Benson Ford Research Center and to work on ideas for lesson plans (for teacher’s own use and for The Henry Ford to expand and share publicly).

The week’s activities will culminate with a visit to a related National Historic Landmark, the Ford Motor Company’s Rouge Industrial Complex. Taken as a collective entity, there is no better landmark site in this nation to study the range and diversity of America’s rise to industrial dominance. Reliable scholarship, energetic scholars and the resources of the museum will make this workshop thematically rich. Your questions and contributions as classroom teachers will make it educationally powerful.

The workshop will be useful in many types of K-12 classrooms. If you teach the period of the Industrial Revolution, or eras following it, this background will be indispensable for you. Science, technology and engineering teachers will discover concrete, society-changing examples of the concepts they teach. English Language Arts teachers will experience a taste of the eras that produced literature like Little House on the Prairie, The Jungle, Mark Twain, slave narratives, and (from across the pond) Dickens’s many works. Art teachers may find themselves inspired by the beauty of the machinery, as did Diego Rivera and Charles Sheeler at the Ford Rouge Factory.