Event Type

AHA Online, Webinar/Virtual Event

AHA Topics

AHA Initiatives & Projects, K–12 Education, Research & Publications, Teaching & Learning


  • AHA Online

Event Description

On Tuesday, July 23, and Wednesday, July 24, 2024, the AHA will convene two free, online professional development programs for educators, including middle and high school teachers and 2- and 4-year college faculty. Each Teacher Institute includes 4.5 hours of programming, and a separate registration is required for each. The first, on July 23, will focus on material culture as a lens through which to explore the connections across continents, oceans, and regions that are central to the project of world history. The second, on July 24, will focus on how teachers at any level can center the perspectives and experiences of Native peoples throughout the entirety of US history.


Money, Movement, and Exchange: Material Culture in World History

What kinds of objects have been used as money? What can material traces of trade and other forms of economic exchange reveal about the complex interactions of societies across the globe? How can we help prepare students to interpret artifacts? And where and when does material culture challenge common misconceptions about the contours of world history?

Objects and artifacts provide a tangible window into the lives and experiences of people in the past, including many individuals and societies for which few traces may remain in textual archives.

Featured scholars Sarah Weicksel (American Historical Assn.) and Ellen Feingold (Smithsonian Inst.) will introduce tools, strategies, and resources that can help teachers guide students through the analysis of objects. This program builds on the AHA’s ongoing initiative Teaching Things: Material Culture in the History Classroom, which includes a series of teaching toolkits and an object library set to launch this summer.

Teaching with material culture requires an object on the table (or its digital equivalent), as well as the professional preparation to mobilize its potential for history education. Our approach focuses on incorporating material culture into lesson plans that include the visual and textual sources with which history instructors are more familiar, helping them to guide students towards more dynamic understandings of the past.

Over three short sessions, this program aims to inform educators—including middle and high school teachers and 2- and 4-year college faculty—about content, techniques, and sources suitable for use in introductory courses in world history.


Featured Historians

Dr. Ellen Feingold is the curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC), a global collection at the National Museum of American History of approximately 1.6 million objects that span more than 5,000 years. She received her DPhil in History and MSc in Economic and Social History from the University of Oxford. Dr. Feingold is the author of Colonial Justice and Decolonization in the High Court of Tanzania, 1920-1971 (2018) and The Value of Money (2015), as well as the curator of the exhibit of the same name at the National Museum of American History. Her recent curatorial work also includes Really BIG Money, Women on Money, and “Ukraine’s Distinct History.”

Dr. Sarah Weicksel is the AHA’s director of research and publications and the project director of the NEH grant-funded project, Teaching Things: Material Culture in the History Classroom. She earned a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, an MA in American material culture from the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware, and a BA in history from Yale University. She is the author of several articles on material culture and nineteenth century US history, including, most recently, “Mining Charity: Material Culture and Philanthropy on the Comstock Lode,” in The Public Historian (2024). Dr. Weicksel is a research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Her recent curatorial work includes Really BIG Money and Who Pays for Education?

Logistics and Programming

This AHA Online Teacher Institute will provide 4.5  hours of online instruction and discussion divided into three 90-minute panels in Zoom on July 23, 2024, beginning at 11 a.m. ET. Any teachers or instructors who wish to use this program for professional development credit should register in advance and complete participant surveys after each session. The program is open at no cost to as many participants as choose to enroll. Participants do not need to attend all parts of the institute.

Schedule of Events

11:00–12:30 — Teaching Things

  • An overview of the AHA’s Teaching Things Initiative and its Teaching Toolkit of plug and play resources and object-based lessons across fields, time periods, and geographic spaces.

1:00-2:30 — Big Money: Monetary Objects and World History

  • An exploration of monetary objects in world history and resources available through the National Numismatic Collection.

3:00-4:30 — Object Analysis in the Classroom

  • An example activity using objects from the National Numismatic Collection.





Separate registration is required for each day of the Institute.