NEH Summer Institute For School Teachers
The Cold War Through The Collections Of The Intrepid Museum
The Cold War spanned more than four decades, beginning almost immediately on the heels of WWII. Opposing attitudes, ideologies and concerns played out on every front, from political to social, from economic to cultural, influencing decisions in political leadership, government investment and artistic expressions. From the introduction of the strategy of “containment” relating to geographic regions on earth to the race for space, this time in U.S. history illuminates the global forces that shaped the twentieth century: colonialism, imperialism, hegemony, modernization, Third World development, revolution, capitalism, communism, as well as human rights and social movements. The buildup of nuclear armaments and the idea of mutually ensured destruction engendered fear at every level of society. In the US, fear of Communism and its association with Soviet expansion led to the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee. These fears drove the development of ever more advanced technologies for spying between nations, outreach into space and for destruction. Arguably, the historic relations that evolved during this period are still evident in current international relations and political actions. The Cold War through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum will immerse participating teachers in scholarly historical research as well as the history, artifacts and oral histories in the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s collection that embody the Cold War era. Integrating content exploring the historical context of technological innovation, the Institute will serve a national group of 25 teachers in order to deepen their understanding and increase confidence in their ability to explore the subject thoroughly, critically and engagingly with their students. Open to all who fit the NEH eligibility criteria, this institute is most appropriate for middle and high school history, humanities, science and technology teachers.
Located in New York City, this two-week Institute makes use of two historic sites—the former U.S. aircraft carrier Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark, and the former U.S. submarine, Growler, a unique artifact that represents the technology and tensions of the Cold War. These historic sites, along with the oral histories of the men that served on these vessels, will provide a powerful starting point for examining the history and legacy of Cold War technology. Intrepid was one of the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers that served in several roles during different phases of the Cold War—as a floating airport realizing the Rolling Thunder initiative in the Vietnam War, as a recovery vessel as part of the space program and as a “submarine hunter” anti-submarine carrier deployed against the silent threat of missile-carrying Soviet vessels. The former USS Growler (SSG-577) submarine, in service from 1958 to 1964, was an early attempt to use submarines as covert missile platforms. Armed with Regulus I nuclear missiles, Growler patrolled near the east coast of the Soviet Union, with a crew of 95–100 men. Their mission: stand ready for the order to launch its missiles at the Soviet Union, an order that fortunately never came. In addition, the Museum’s collection includes a Project Oxcart A-12 spy plane equipped with cameras that could take an image from 80,000 feet, and, from the latter years of investment in a major Cold War-driven initiative—the race for space—the shuttle orbiter Enterprise. Just as important as these large artifacts and historic spaces are the primary source documents, ephemera and oral histories collected by the Museum from this era, connecting the larger history to specific, human stories.
The overarching goals for participants in the Institute are the following:
- Increased knowledge of the intersections of historical forces and technological developments during the Cold War era
- Increased skills in and knowledge of archival research
- Increased usage of primary source documents, artifacts and ephemera in the classroom to promote historical thinking
- Increased confidence in teaching relatively recent and controversial history with respect and accuracy
- Institute Schedule and Readings
Please see the downloadable drafts of the Institute agenda and reading list. In order to foster a deeper exploration of the readings and model a useful teaching tool we will be utilizing the “literacture circle” approach to our readings.
Participating NEH Summer Scholars will have the Museum’s Michael Tyler Fisher Center for Education as their primary base for the duration of the Institute, with meetings off-site and in other areas of the Museum as appropriate. The Education Center is equipped with classrooms, a computer lab and meeting rooms. Audiovisual capabilities include drop-down screens, wall-mounted flat screens, built-in LCD projectors, blackout screens, Wi-Fi and PC/Mac inputs for presentations. Many of the historic spaces are not accessible for those with mobility challenges, however, the Education Center is fully wheelchair accessible. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided if requested, and assistive listening devices with hearing loops are also available as are tactile maps and other accommodations. Teachers will have ample opportunity to explore the Museum and experience firsthand how the Museum uses its collection and archival holdings to increase public understanding of the humanities.
How to Apply
NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes allow K-12 teachers an opportunity to enrich and revitalize their teaching through the study of humanities topics that bear upon K-12 education. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the program, but the programs are not intended to duplicate graduate-level courses.
Each seminar provides an intimate and focused environment in which sixteen participants (NEH Summer Scholars) study a specific humanities topic under the guidance of one or two established scholars. Seminars have few, if any, visiting faculty. They emphasize sustained interaction among the participants and director(s) through discussion of common readings, conversations about teaching, and advising on independent projects.
Each institute allows twenty-five to thirty-six participants (NEH Summer Scholars) to pursue an intensive program of study under a team of scholarly experts, who present a range of perspectives on a humanities topic. Participants and scholars mutually explore connections between scholarship and teaching of the topic.
A selection committee is comprised of the project director and two or more colleagues, at least one of whom is a K-12 teacher. They evaluate all complete applications to select a group of NEH Summer Scholars and identify alternates.
Application essays should explain how the specific program will benefit the participant professionally.
They should, therefore, address the following:
- 1. Your effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
2. your intellectual interests as they relate to the topic of the seminar or institute;
3. your special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the program; and
4. evidence that participation will have a long-term impact on your teaching.
Open to all who fit the NEH eligibility criteria, The Cold War Through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum is most appropriate for middle and high school history, humanities, science and technology teachers.
Three seminar spaces and five institute spaces may be reserved for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or less). First consideration is given to those who have not previously attended an NEH Seminar or Institute.
When choices must be made between equally qualified candidates, preference is given to those who would enhance the diversity of the program.
For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.