Real World History

Join Real World History for the 2021-22 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.

Spring Semester: Internships at Historic Sites

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
Ford’s Theater
Freer|Sackler Museum of Asian Art
Library of Congress
National Air & Space Museum

National Archives and Records Administration
National Mall
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
Textile Museum
Tudor Place
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.

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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

I’ve learned more in this class than in other history classes and I remember what we learn because the different ways Mr. Hunt teaches and the relationships the [Humanities Hub] teachers build.

— Student, Real World History


Will this course count for credit?

Yes. The first semester course (H72) is an honors 0.5 credit elective class and will be weighted on a 4.5-point scale. The second semester internship course (H74) is a regular 0.5 credit elective weighted on the 4-point scale.

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.

How should students expect to travel to and from this afterschool class?

It will be the responsibility of the students to travel to and from the class. Many sessions will end when it is dark outside (7pm). We encourage students who are taking the Metro to walk together to the station after class.

When will students know where their internship placements?

Internships are NOT guaranteed to every student. Students will earn the right to an internship placement through the work they complete and skills they demonstrate during the first semester. There will be an Internship Fair in December; at that event, students will have an opportunity to interview with staff members from various participating sites. Internship sites will be finalized in January.

Will students be paid for their internships?

No. The “payoff” is in the increased attention your applications for college (and beyond) will receive as a result of a job well done in this class and in your internship.

Will the class meet during second semester?

Yes. The class will meet twice a month between January and June as students complete their internships and National History Day research.

Will the course include culminating events?

Yes. All students will present the work they have done in their internships at an end-of-year symposium in late May. For students who participate in the citywide history day competition, the National History Day contest will take place at the University of Maryland (College Park) in mid-June.

Will there be work this summer for students who are accepted into the class?

Yes. Accepted students will read Wilkerson’s award-winning book, The Warmth of Other Suns, over the summer. Mr. Hunt will provide assignments related to the reading for students to complete before the class meets for the first time in August. Students are also encouraged to visit some of the participating internship sites (details to follow).

How do I apply?

The application for SY 2018-19 will open in April 2018.