Website History and Organization

The Time Travelers website was originally designed as part of an online professional development course for teachers, funded by a Teaching American History grant from the US Department of Education. Website content was developed collaboratively by the Regional Learning Project at the University of Montana and the UM history department.

The wealth of material found within this website reflects the goal of the course to provide content-oriented professional development with a regional, interdisciplinary approach to learning about American history. This place-based approach allows teachers and students to “start locally, but think big”, strengthening history research and thinking skills as they are first applied to the study of local documents, artifacts, and other source materials, and then interpreted in the context of large-scale national developments.

The current website is a legacy from the Teaching American History grant, redesigned here for public use. Covering the years between 1790 and 1990, the website is organized into three chronological sections, each based on a 15-week semester developed for the online course. Throughout the course, broad themes of transportation, communication and energy development in the Northwest are placed in the context of American history.

This curriculum differs from most history courses in the wide mix of resources made available to you. In addition to the weekly Lectures delivered via streaming video, you will also find a weekly presentation of: Maps & Cityscapes, a section with map resources that amplify topics with visual materials that help orient you to the geography as well as to the history of the region; Tribal Perspectives, a unique section featuring video excerpts from interviews conducted with tribal representatives throughout the region that provide a place-based orientation to the unfolding of history; a People and Humanities section with a rich assortment of materials focused on art and literature that offer cross curricular learning opportunities; and a Research section that directs users to a vast supply of resource materials for extended learning and research that complement each week’s subject matter.

Curators responsible for Course Section content included the following individuals: Lectures — Professors Harry Fritz, Jeff Wiltse, and Michael Mayor, assisted by Molly Varley (years 1–2) and Happy Avery (year 3); Maps & Cityscapes – Kim Lugthart; Tribal Perspectives – Sally Thompson and Elizabeth Sperry (year 3); People and the Humanities – Marsha Hoem (year 1), Molly Varley (years 2–3); and Research – Molly Varley.

Teachers who participated in the course used the variety of resources on this website in several ways: to fill gaps in their background knowledge; to learn new methodology for increasing their effectiveness in classroom instruction; to practice implementing a regional, place-based approach to teaching history; to find ways for adding tribal perspectives into their existing curriculum; and to take advantage of a rich supply of new resource materials for research and learning for themselves and their students.

Whether you are a teacher of any subject, a student, a history lover, or life-long learner of any age, we hope you also find this website beneficial. Please let us know if you develop curriculum from the content and would like to share it on this site. Visit Teachers to find history unit lesson plans developed by teachers during the course, a forum for sharing information, and more.

History of the Time Travelers Teaching American History Grant

This grant was a professional development opportunity for middle and high school history teachers in the Northwest, funded by a US Department of Education Teaching American History grant. Three 15-week semester courses were designed and produced in an online textbook format. The online course and three week-long Summer Institutes were offered during 2005–2008.

Topics for the three year grant:

Grant Partners

This project was implemented by Montana's Twin Bridges Public School District in consortium with public school districts in Montana, Idaho and Washington.

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