Heuvel heads up National Endowment

Dr. Heuvel awarded grant for work on legacy of Mayflower and the Plymouth colony

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently awarded a grant to a teacher institute dealing with the legacy of the Mayflower landing and the Plymouth colony.

Entitled “Beyond the Mayflower: New Voices from Colonial America,” the project includes faculty from the Plimoth Plantation living history museum of Massachusetts.

CNU adjunct professor Lisa Heuvel is also involved in the program as an educator for teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

The program will take place in the summer of 2020. 

Heuvel discussed how the project was originally conceived, stating that the motivation came partially from the upcoming 400th anniversary of the colony’s founding as well as from the activities of the Plimoth Plantation museum in general. 

“We are approaching the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival in 1620 and the founding of the Plymouth Colony. As America’s leading living history museum, Plimoth Plantation is leading the way on how history can be taught more accurately using new voices and historical perspectives.

This 2020 Summer Institute is an outgrowth of their commitment, as are plans for expanded museum resources on site and online.”

Heuvel said that her involvement in the project began when a former employee of the Plimoth museum approached her about it.

Her previous association with the museum in Colonial Williamsburg also encouraged her to get involved in the program.”

“Plantation staff on an educational project when I was at Colonial Williamsburg.”

“To be co-director of this NEH summer institute for teachers next year is really exciting – it aligns with my own teaching goals, research interests, and background.”

Heuvel emphasized that teachers attending the project will learn first-hand about the Plymouth colony through a variety of means. 

“There is a huge amount of new historical and archaeological knowledge that these teachers are going to be guided through in small groups, in regional field trips, in lectures [and] in hands-on, immersive experience to give them the best possible experience in seeing Plymouth as a historical case study in how we can use evidence for analysis.”

As a centuries-old phenomenon, the Plymouth case has always been subject to a great deal of study.

Heuvel discussed what this new project from the Plymouth museum would add to that story.

“We need to look at this history from a truly multicultural perspective.

We forget that the English landed in an old world – it was only new to them. It was already thousands of years old to the people who were living here. And what’s going to happen when these cultures encounter each other? So we want to take all of the knowledge that has been brought out in the last decade.”

The project will also include Native American perspectives of the Plymouth colony.

Teachers attending the project will be able to talk directly with members of the Wampanoag tribe, whose ancestors already inhabited what would become the Plymouth colony.

“We’re also going to introduce them to members of the Wampanoag tribe, the people of this homeland, and have them talk to them directly and get that perspective.”

“My co-director is Wampanoag, so we’re hoping to blend these perspectives and co-construct a new understanding that these educators can take back with them to their classrooms when they talk to a rising generation of young people who will be our leaders one day.”

~Kyra Hemrich, Staff Writer~

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