Workshop: Researching Community History
Designed for: Maryland Institute College of Art students (undergraduate and graduate classes)
Length of Time: ~1.5 hours
Designed by: J. Ferretti
Learning Outcome: By the end of this activity, students will become familiar with collecting institution websites, or online-only sites such as Internet Archive, and identify materials available online.
About this activity: Since no two institutions are the same, it is highly recommended that the instructor explore the websites they choose before writing out questions. It is also highly recommended that the questions are custom to the website, and that the overall learning outcome is achieved regardless of the institution/website.

Workshop Slides

Suggested Workshop Schedule:

  1. Welcome/kick-off activity (optional, if time allows) – 15 minutesOn a large white board, write three sections: 1) Words you would use to describe Baltimore; 2) Words a friend has used to describe Baltimore; 3) Words a family member has used to describe Baltimore. Have students do this activity right when they walk in the door. Purpose: Gets the students thinking about their biases and the biases of those they know. Convey that by them living in Baltimore, they are a unique source on the city because they have experiences friends and family who do not live here do not have.
  2. You do research, let’s talk about it! Where do you typically start? What tools do you use already? – 5 minutes
  3. Slides: Introduction to research – 10 minutes
  4. Group activity: In groups of four, find primary resources online – 40 minutes (20 minutes to work, 20 minutes to report back to the class)
  5. Final thoughts/wrap-up – 15 minutes


Activity worksheet example – Internet Archive

Activity worksheet example – Enoch Pratt Free Library