After the group learned how to buy a subway card and master NYC’s subway, the expedition convened at the Museum of New York City for an interesting day learning about New York City and classroom activities that we could implement.  One simple statement that was made by our presenter was that all of us create museums within our lives – our homes, classrooms, offices all depict a part of us as individuals.  We specifically choose the items that we want to display and draw attention to.  The very energetic and engaging EY Zipris took us on a whirlwind tour of the Big Apple, which started with the fascinating movie Timescapes that depicted the changes of NYC from its origins to 2001.  Presentation topics ranged from “Around the Bend”: Rags and Riches in Turn of the Century New York City – using primary documents, or early photographs by Jacob Riis and other photographers; ‘Cars, Culture, and the City’, focusing on the automobile exhibit; and “The Grid in New York City”.

The presentations dealt with several themes – Technology/Innovation, Urban Planning, Interiors/Exteriors, and Place/Geography/History.  A simplified guide for interpreting primary source documents was also included.


Artist                            Audience

Event:  What is being portrayed?  Who is the portrayal directed towards?

Artist:  Who created the interpretation?

Audience:  Who is the intended audience?  Who is the portrayal directed towards?

These questions are very effective in looking at and interpreting primary documents such as photographs.  The images that are in “Around the Bend” were very powerful and depicted various walks of life in New York City at the turn of the century.  Activities like this can really get students thinking about how people lived, how their lives varied, and how their lives were similar.  From the students’ interpretations, each student or small group could develop their own “museum display” with the images.  Students then need to present to the class their images and the rationale for choosing the images.

Lessons that were presented to us today could be used, with some modifications in my classrooms.  “The Grid in New York City” dealt with urban planning and how people make decisions based on resources and availability.  Students can make immediate connections from history to their real life, modern world.  I liked the idea of creating gridlines (for blocks) on a tarp.  Students would be assigned to a group from the choices of services, residence, manufacturing, and ??????  This type of activity could be modified to be more applicable to my students by looking at old maps of our city, the growth that has happened and projecting future growth and demands.  This type of history connection could also tie in with economics and allocation of resources.

‘Cars, Culture, and the City’, gave me great background information about the advent of the automobile in the United States and the influence that New York City and the affluent wielded.