Hands-On Workshops at the National Archives at Philadelphia

We offer free hands-on workshops that teach students to analyze and think critically about historical sources and events. Students learn how to examine primary documents, identify source perspective, cite textual evidence, and compare and contrast sources as they investigate the rich historical resources of the National Archives.

These workshops can be scheduled in your classroom or at the National Archives at Philadelphia. We can customize each workshop to any grade level. Workshops can be an overview or focus on specific stories.


Students will learn about a variety of immigration experiences including the Chinese Exclusion Act, forced migration through the slave trade, and Puerto Rican migration to Philadelphia.

Civil War

"Blasting through the Silence: the Allegheny Arsenal Explosion" deals with a shocking 1862 explosion in Pittsburgh, a little-known, but important, story of the death of over seventy Civil War workers, most of whom were women and children.

Reconstruction: Early Civil Rights

This workshop examines the struggle for civil rights after the Civil War. Students will learn about the 1875 Civil Rights Act and court cases that civil rights activists brought to try to enforce the law, including one important case in 1876 Philadelphia.

Slavery & Freedom

"Slavery and Freedom in Philadelphia—The Ganges" tells the compelling story of slave ships captured by the U.S. Navy in 1800, and what happened to the people on board when the ship reached Philadelphia.

"The Christiana Resistance" tells the story of an 1851 fugitive slave case from Pennsylvania that had national implications when some of those involved were charged with treason.

Family History & Genealogy

Students will connect to history through their family history, and be introduced to census, immigration, and other historical records.

National History Day

Our collaborative NHD Philly program is part of National History Day, winner of the 2011 National Humanities Medal. Workshops include an overview of NHD, connections to this year’s theme, primary and secondary source research strategies, and general mentoring on your students’ projects.

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To find out more or to schedule a workshop: Contact Us (215) 606-0103

Location: The National Archives at Philadelphia 900 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272