Teaching Slavery and Race: Engagement Techniques for Elementary Grades

January 26, 2022 ~ 7:30pm ET

Presenting the history of slavery to young people in a comprehensive and conscientious manner is difficult and necessitates challenging the prevailing and incomplete narrative and our tried-and-true engagement techniques. Young people are not empty slates. They bring knowledge and experience to the discussion, just like adults. With guidance from a teacher, they can build new understandings and find relevance. This webinar will address engagement techniques for elementary grades, including how to foster empathy with historical actors, using primary sources, and building dialogue. We will also discuss how go-to techniques like roleplay and simulation can be emotionally harmful for students and can trivialize enslavement and the experiences of enslaved people, and therefore should not be used in the classroom.

Kristin Gallas has worked in museums for over 20 years. She facilitates workshops for museums and historic sites on developing comprehensive and conscientious interpretation of slavery and speaks regularly at public history and museum conferences. She is the author of Interpreting Slavery with Children and Teens at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, September 2021), and co-editor, with James DeWolf Perry, of Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, January 2015), among other publications on best practices in the interpretation of slavery. She developed the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery‘s public history efforts and oversaw the design of workshops for educators. Kristin holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary history education from the University of Vermont and a master of arts in museum education from George Washington University. She has led the education and/or interpretation departments at the Montana Historical Society, the USS Constitution Museum, and currently at the Tsongas Industrial History Center. Kristin has also developed programs for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Shelburne Museum and consulted with Mount Vernon and Martha’s Vineyard Museum on exhibit development.