Sally Thompson

“History is to the nation as memory is to the individual.”
Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

The New York Times started the New Year with a thoughtful essay by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.  on the importance of continual re-writing of history because “conceptions of the past are far from stable.  They are perennially revised by the urgencies of the present.”  Schlesinger tells us “the great strength of history in a free society is its capacity for self-correction.”  

Students of history become engaged in its potential when they recognize their own potential to reconstruct what went before, as they place old questions in a new light. “History is never a closed book or a final verdict.  It is forever in the making.”

Our own experiences and insights allow us – require us – to reconsider the way we tell our American story.  “Because in the end, a nation’s history must be both the guide and the domain not so much of its historians as its citizens.”  This view is diametrically opposed to the one that disparages “revisionist history”.  Schlesinger’s view affirms Oscar Wilde’s conclusion that “the one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.”

Our hope is that the Time Travelers’ experience engages all of us in the “search to reconstruct what went before.”  How do you, as teachers of American History, engage your students in their role as citizens, remembering?

We welcome you to a shared learning adventure and encourage you to bring your own insights and experiences to the subject matter we explore this year:  “Technology Transforms the Northwest, 1880-1940.”

Welcome aboard!

Sally Thompson
Time Travelers Project Director

Please click here to read the New York Times article by Arthur Schlesinger.

Helpful Tips
To help you reconcile the timeframe and geography of the events we will cover, we have two recommendations.  

  • First, that you use the maps we have sent you and any other base map for the region that you find user-friendly.  
  • Second, that you create a timeline with three tracks:  one for the Northwest, one for the U.S., and one for the world.  

These devices create opportunities for lots of “aha!” experiences.