Real World History
Join Real World History for the 2020-21 school year
Bringing History to Life
Combining academic coursework with internships at historic sites
The only credit-bearing course available to all public and public charter school students in Washington, DC, Real World History teaches history through inquiry, equipping students with crucial skills that prepare them to thrive in our complex 21st century world.
Fall Semester: Building the Skills of a Historian
Students build the skills of a historian, including contextualization, corroboration, and sourcing. The class reads and discusses the award winning book The Warmth of Other Suns. The semester culminates with an oral history project in which students interview a local Washingtonian who was part of the Great Migration. Students complete projects involving first-hand documentation that are preserved in DC Public Libraries.
Students complete a 100-hour internship at a historic site or museum. Each site provides students with the opportunity to contribute to ongoing projects in meaningful ways while learning about public history, thereby gaining authentic work experience and exposure to a field that is rarely introduced to high school students.
Internships sites have included:
Anacostia Community Museum
Charles Sumner Museum and [DCPS] Archives
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Freer|Sackler Museum of Asian Art
Library of Congress
National Air & Space Museum
National Archives and Records Administration
National Museum of American History
National Museum of African-American History & Culture
National Museum of the US Navy
National Portrait Gallery
The Phillips Collection
President Lincoln’s Cottage
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
United States Capitol Historical Society
White House Historical Association
Woodrow Wilson House
2019-2020 Ask the Expert Interview Series
Due to Covid-19, the 2019-2020 class was unable complete in-person internships. Out of necessity, the class transitioned to an online model and changed its focus. Real World History students conducted a series of online interviews with public historians to learn about their work. Recognizing the implications of the pandemic on institutions of public history, the students also asked their interviewees to discuss the short-term and long-term changes this health crisis would have on the field. Each Real World History student then wrote a reflective blog piece about their interview and the spring semester. Their unique insights offer readers a glimpse into the experience of high school students in the spring of 2020 and the inner workings of these institutions at a peculiar moment in history.
As a new administration takes office in Washington, DC, we recommend centering changes in education around the growth of Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination, and Integrity.
Elliott Levine, a 2019-2020 Inspired Teaching Real World History Student, interviews Bryn Cooley, Emily Rheault, and Lauren Rever of Tudor Place.
Amora Cambell interviews Paul Gardullo about the power of objects in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Lola Rogin interviews Jake Flack about learning from Ford’s Theatre online.
Apply for Real World History
Join students from various DCPS and DC charter high schools for an innovative history course. Real World History focuses on the nature of historical thinking as well as the “doing” of history. During first semester, students will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school (5-7pm) with instructor Cosby Hunt of Inspired Teaching; they will focus on practicing the skills of historians as they study the Great Migration; in the second semester, students will practice their emerging skills through internships at a variety of museums, archives, and historic sites and the completion of a National History Day project.
Host a Real World History Intern
Real World History students can offer valuable support to an internship site, while gaining new skills and experience. Each internship site should provide a specific project or long-term task that the intern can work on throughout the semester.
Students complete their 100 hour internships in January-May each year.
To inquire about hosting a Real World History student at your organization, email Cosby Hunt, Senior Teaching & Learning Officer at Cosby@inspiredteaching.org
Mr. Hunt makes you go outside of your comfort zone in a way that assists in the development of students–and that is a priceless thing throughout the whole experience. The relationships let me relate to students I don’t normally get to talk to and I get to know different perspectives because we come from different parts of the city, different schools, and different experiences.
Will this course count for credit?
When and where will class meet during first semester?
Class will take place virtually on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (5-7pm). An orientation for parents and students will take place in mid-August, and the first class will meet at the end of that month.