Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America

Programming Ideas

PROGRAMMING REQUIREMENTS: An opening reception for Alexander Hamilton and two humanities-oriented public programs related to exhibition themes are the minimum requirement for host libraries. The reception may be combined with one of the programs. Humanities programs must involve scholars with knowledge of the period and Hamilton, and may include discussions, debates, lectures, film series with discussion led by scholars, and seminars.

Your state humanities council has a list of scholars who have experience with public programs related to U.S. History. The Organization of American Historians also offers lecturers (for a fee) who specialize in this period.

For Younger Audiences

Plan a program showing middle grades how to use primary sources in historical research -- both in print and online. Good interactive web sites to start:
www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution.html
www.constitutioncenter.org/

  • Plan a young people's chautauqua focusing on personalities, events, music, costume and other aspects of the Revolutionary and Founding eras, with speakers impersonating public figures, simple craft activities, dancing and acting (this could be a series of programs throughout the exhibition period).

  • Include a title for young people in the "One Book, One Community" series.

  • Enlist a teacher or librarian to present a curriculum activity to a an audience of young people in the library.

  • Hold storytime sessions using books about Hamilton and his contemporaries (see book list for younger readers for examples).

  • Sponsor essay contests: "What Would the Founders of the U.S. Think about the World Today?" "What If I Had Been a Slave?"

  • Help youngsters make simple toys from the period or play games.

  • Plan a program about a typical day in the life of a child during the late 18 th century.

  • Plan a program focusing on 18 th century games and toys.

  • Alexander Hamilton grew up in the Caribbean -- sponsor a program on games he would have played growing up there or the type of environment he experienced there.

Programs with schools

  • With a lead teacher or teachers, sponsor a curriculum workshop for teachers in your area, using exhibit-related curriculum materials, and encourage them to use themes focused on Hamilton and other U.S. founders and the writing of the Constitution in the curriculum during the exhibition.

Be sure to use docents or some sort of interpretive activity for classes that visit the exhibition if the teacher is not doing this. The exhibit is targeted to adults and young adults, so interpretation is needed for younger age groups.