Explore PA History

Tags: National Endowment for the Humanities, US Department of Education

ExplorePAhistory.com provides users with three principal entry points: "Stories from PA History," "Visit PA Regions," and "Teach PA History." "Stories from PA History" includes histories built around state historical markers. "Teach PA History" includes elementary, middle, and high school lesson plans for teachers of Pennsylvania and American history. "Visit PA Regions" provides useful information for those who are interested in visiting historic sites associated with ExplorePAhistory stories; it includes sample itineraries and directions to local points of interest, hotels, restaurants, and more.

Stories from PA History
We recommend that first-time users go directly to "Stories from PA History." Here you will find wide-ranging and authoritative histories told by some of Pennsylvania's best historians, as well as multi-media features. Stories are listed in rough chronological order, and when you click on one, you will be taken to the first story page. Each story has an introductory overview and chapters, which have hotlinks to "Behind the Marker" essays for all of the markers included in that story. Each of these essays offers in-depth interpretation not available on the markers themselves, images that can be enlarged, brief "Beyond the Marker" references for further information, and directions to the actual markers.

Each story also features a variety of elements that may include a brief video introduction (Video Files) and audio history (Audio Files), galleries of historical images (Image Galleries), maps, primary sources ("Original Documents"), annotated lists of related readings and websites, "Story Credits" that recognize the writers and other contributors, and interactive multimedia features (Interactives), including a below-ground experience in an anthracite mine, a chance to select Pennsylvania's All Star Baseball Team, and a virtual visit to a natural history museum from the time of Lewis and Clark.

Teach PA History
Here, teachers of Pennsylvania and U.S. history, as well as other subjects, can find lesson plans associated with a specific story or subject area. Teachers may search lesson plans grouped by keyword, grade level, discipline, historical period, or the Pennsylvania Academic Standards addressed in the lesson plan. Brief descriptions of each lesson plan help teachers screen plans for appropriateness to their class.

Each lesson plan includes a clear outline of objectives and Pennsylvania standards; background information; a detailed, step-by-step procedure; list of equipment; worksheets; links to primary sources; and assessment methods. Extensions and "after the lesson" activities, suggestions for field trips, student references, and connections to related stories and historical markers make it possible to enhance the teaching of state and national history even further.

VisitPA
If you are a tourist or a day-tripper, you will want to click here and link to , VisitPA.com, the state's tourism site, where you'll find accommodations, amenities, and ideas to enrich your stay.