Balliol College Partnership on Teaching Slavery in the Age of Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution and Balliol College (University of Oxford, U.K.) offered a multi-year teacher professional development program to support educators in the United States and United Kingdom in teaching the significance and impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
The program drew upon Balliol College’s 2021 exhibit, Slavery in the Age of Revolution, and the Museum’s rich collection of Revolutionary era artifacts and educational resources to explore the role of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the industrialization of the West, to uplift the stories of resistance by enslaved people, and to consider the various meanings of freedom and liberty in an age of Enlightenment and political, social, and scientific revolutions.
Over the course of a four-part virtual seminar series (2021-2022) and a Summer Teacher Institute hosted at the Museum (2022), the program’s cohort of teachers from the Greater Philadelphia region and England deepened their knowledge of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, their understandings of race in the 18th century, and the experiences of both enslavers and the enslaved (including their efforts at agency and resistance). They practiced teaching with objects, artwork, and primary source documents as a method of engaging different types of learners across age, interest, and content knowledge levels. Finally, they shared resources, tools, and tips with one another and learned to further develop skills for engaging in sensitive and difficult conversations with their students and colleagues around these complex topics.
Using their experiences as inspiration, and drawing from Balliol’s 50-minute exhibit documentary, as well as the Museum’s resources, these educators not only shared their learning with colleagues within their own networks, but they informed the development of a set of web-based resources on teaching slavery in an age of revolution. Materials may include:
- Thematic edited excerpts of the Balliol documentary
- Tightly focused thematic essays that will enable educators and students to place materials and videos into appropriate context
- Engaging timelines to support contextual understandings
- High quality images of historical artifacts and documents from both institutions’ collections
- Guided video object-explorations to engage students in close-looking and thinking
- Modular lesson plans and accompanying worksheets
In creating and sharing these resources, we hope to deepen student and teacher engagement with the history and lessons of the Transatlantic Slave Trade during the Age of Revolution, creating a more informed, empathetic, empowered, and activated public both now and in the future.
This program was made possible in part by American Airlines, the preferred airline of the Museum of the American Revolution.
With additional support from:
Queen's Jubilee Education Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation
Krista and Richard Pinola
Oliver St. Clair Franklin
Anne and Michael Vogelmann
Deborah and Andrew Webster