Plymouth, Massachusetts (August 17, 2021) – Plimoth Patuxet Museums, the living history museum of 17th-century New England, announced that it has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The two awards provide essential funding to support the Museum’s educational mission to better serve students, PreK through college, with authentic, accurate, and accessible histories from our nation’s earliest beginnings.
Acknowledging the two grants, Plimoth Patuxet’s Executive Director Ellie Donovan said, “We are grateful to our legislators and to NEH and IMLS for the generous support for Plimoth Patuxet Museums’ educational mission. This is an important and timely opportunity to expand our partnership with these organizations to increase understanding, and develop innovative ways to deliver public history.”
“It is vital that students understand the complex relationship between the Pilgrims and the Native People from the perspective of those who had lived here for more than ten thousand years before the arrival of the Mayflower,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “These federal funds will help to ensure that the next generation of students has access to materials that will teach about the wide-reaching impacts of the Pilgrims’ arrival to Patuxet. I applaud the work of Plimoth Patuxet to make these resources available and look forward to continuing to advocate for their efforts at the federal level.”
A $163,742 “Institute for K12 Educators” grant from NEH enables Plimoth Patuxet to host Ancient Stories, New Neighbors: Decolonizing Indigenous Homelands and 17th-Century New England – a summer institute for 25 elementary, middle, and high school teachers in 2022. The institute will bring together innovative teachers from the Nation’s K-12 classrooms with experts from tribal communities, colleges, universities, archives, and museums to inspire new ways of incorporating Indigenous voices into the teaching of 17th-century history. Institute participants have the unique opportunity to meet in the very place where Mayflower's arrival accelerated a series of events that permanently changed a complex network of Indigenous communities, each with its own rich cultural traditions, politics and aspirations. Mourt’s Relation, a 1622 English pamphlet detailing the early years of Plymouth Colony, will be used as a case study in decolonizing historical narratives and re-centering Indigenous voices by employing a range of related primary sources including archaeology, historical landscapes, material culture, oral history, and written documents to reveal how an Indigenous-English regional landscape was built and evolved through collaboration and conflict in the 1600s. The teachers’ institute will be co-directed by Dr. J. Cedric Woods, Director of the Institute for New England Native American Studies at UMASS Boston, and Dr. Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Associate Professor of History at Roger Williams University. Hilary Goodnow, Plimoth Patuxet’s Director of Education & Community Outreach, will serve as Institute Administrator.
A $212,742 three-year "Museums for America” grant from IMLS entitled History in a New Light: Reimagining Wampanoag and Indigenous Museum Education enables Plimoth Patuxet to develop and implement a series of educational programs, resources, and events responding to increasing demand for nuanced and fact-based histories told from Indigenous perspectives. This new educational initiative supports programming around the 50th anniversary of Plimoth Patuxet’s Wampanoag Indigenous Program in 2023 and complements the Museum’s forthcoming $2.5 million construction project – an interpretive initiative presenting centuries of cultural change and persistence in Patuxet, one of almost seventy Indigenous communities located along the south coast of Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands in the 17th century.
History in a New Light will promote cultural literacy and critical thinking, cultivate empathy through a deeper understanding of diverse perspectives, and engage learners of all ages – onsite, offsite, and online – through Indigenous educational programs, resources and events. Funded fellowships and internships will provide the next generation with the opportunity to enhance their work with new voices and historical perspectives that are rapidly changing the way communities understand their history.