Making History Fun at Plimoth Plantation
Danny Perkins, RWU Class of 2019
This past summer, Danny Perkins found a way to combine two of his passions––history and education – through an internship at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum where visitors can interact with recreations of the Plymouth Colony of the 1600s. He got both direct teaching and lesson planning experience, implementing the academic theory he has learned in his classes.
Perkins served as a Museum Education Intern at the plantation, where he helped run day to day activities and build the curriculum for three of their summer camps.
One of his major projects was writing a booklet to help boy scouts learn about the history of the Wampanoag people and the English colonists.
He also developed a lesson plan for high schoolers, something the plantation did not yet have.
In his lesson students read actual historical letters from the newly formed Plymouth Colony, and arrange them in a book that would have been used to advertise the community to new members. During this process, they were asked questions like, “Who is in the story? What actually happens? Why is it important to know? Whose voice don’t we get?”
"In talking with the the education department, they're like 'we have all the English voices but the Native American voices, we often lose, because we don't have the documentation,'" Perkins says. "There was a big push for figuring out how to portray it properly."
Along with teaching him how to instill a deeper understanding of history in students, the internship gave Perkins extensive practice with implementing the theory he’s learned in his education classes. He also learned how to work with skilled educators. “Everyone had different ideas and we could all rely on each other,” he says.
Being an Education Intern at Plimoth Plantation gave him confidence in his teaching abilities. “Working with the kids was really fun,” Perkins says. “Especially because I had never worked at a summer camp before. It gave me a different view of how to interact with people. It made me feel like I could do this.”