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UMFK to offer discovering and interpreting local history course during spring semester

October 29, 2004



Mark Richard, photographed recently speaking with students in one of Terry Murphy¹s education classes at the University of Maine at Fort Kent will teach discovering and interpreting local history next semester on campus

A new hands-on course being offered for the first time on the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus will be unlike most history classes offered on college campuses in that it goes far beyond the textbook and will teach participants skills to reconstruct and interpret the history of people who lived in earlier times.

Discovering and interpreting local history is a "hands-on" course that will examine a different primary source, such as federal manuscript censuses, city directories, property conveyances, mortgages, wills, probates, inquests, civil and criminal court records, naturalization records, maps, photographs, and artifacts, as well as more traditional sources, including newspapers and diaries.

The course will give participants first-hand experience in discovering and interpreting primary sources. In the process, instructor Mark P. Richard, assistant professor of social studies education and social sciences, is intending his students will develop the skills of historians.

"This course is designed for current and future social studies teachers and all others interested in local history. Teachers seeking coursework in history to become 'highly qualified' under the No Child Left Behind Act will benefit from taking this class," said Richard.

Social studies teachers at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels will discover methods and materials to engage students and to make history come alive for them.

Using local sources, teachers will be able to develop curricular materials suitable to the grades they are teaching that are consistent with the Maine Learning Results.

Individuals interested in genealogy and in community history will also benefit from taking this course. They will develop approaches to learning about the lives of people in the past.

In particular, participants will learn how to use a variety of local sources to piece together the history of family and community members who left few, if any, written records of their own.

EDU 485: discovering and interpreting local history is being offered at UMFK on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. during the Spring Semester 2005.

The class will be the first to meet in the new building of the Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes, and will use material available in the Archives, in the adjacent Blake Library and off-campus resources.

The only prerequisites for the course are that students have either junior or senior standing for undergraduates or are community members who receive approval from Richard.

Richard earned his Ph.D. in History at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

He developed expertise in using local sources while researching and writing his forthcoming book, Not Foreigners but Americans: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants, Lewiston, Maine, 1860-2002, being published by Michigan State University Press.

For more information about the course, please contact the instructor by e-mail at or by telephone at 834-7566.

To register call the registrar's office at 834-7520.