Gordon in the News: last updated 05/18/2010

Exploring Salem: Gordon Offers Training In Historic Interpretation

May 10, 2010
Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications
SALEM—Learning history doesn’t have to be dry. In fact, incorporating objects, music, dance, and theatre can make it all the more alive.
With that in mind, The Institute for Public History—recently established in Salem by Gordon College—will offer four innovative courses for public teacher training, undergraduate students curious about history or theatre, or residents interested in local history. Undergraduate and graduate credit may be earned, but individuals may also register for personal enrichment.
The classes will meet in the Salem Old Town Hall at 32 Derby Square in Salem, from Saturday, May 22 to Friday, June 11. They cover four areas of training in historic interpretation, utilize professional guest lecturers, and include tours of numerous Salem sites as part of the instruction. Syllabi for each of the courses is available at the Institute for Public History website, www.gordon.edu/public-history.
Two weekend courses will be taught by longtime North Shore historian and Gordon professor of history David Goss: “Researching Folkways and Material Culture” covers the skills of understanding and extrapolating information from historical objects. The second course, “The Salem Witchcraft Hysteria” will explore the events and influences of the Salem witch trials.
Two other courses will meet on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and will be facilitated by History Alive! Artistic Director Kristina Wacome Stevick: “Improvisation and Interactive Theatre,” and “Period Style, Voice and Movement.” These theatre-focused courses will teach the use of dramatic technique and the understanding of class, fashion, geography and invention to bring history to life on the stage or in the classroom. Both will feature guest experts for every session, such as veterans from Plimoth Plantation, internationally-known movement specialists, and professional leaders in interactive formats. Actors training for the summer season of the long-running play, “Cry Innocent,” or as historical hosts and volunteers at Pioneer Village: Salem in 1630 will participate as well.
“We’re excited about these four courses because they also include special guest speakers, historic tours and site visits, “ said Dr. Cliff Hersey, director of Gordon’s Global Education Office that oversees the Institute for Public History. “And they all build on Salem’s historical setting as their foundation. It’s a perfect location to learn history up close.”
Public school teachers are encouraged to register for the weekend sessions and can earn 4 graduate credits while learning valuable skills for teaching history. Official undergraduate or graduate college credit (2-credits per course) is available for all of the courses and will require the completion of various projects. Residents from the North Shore may attend the courses for personal enrichment and can register at a reduced fee.
For specific information on dates, times, costs, and registration of each course, please visit www.gordon.edu/public-history, or call 978.867.4399. Space is limited to less than 20 students per course.


Gordon College is a multidenominational Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore, offering majors in 36 fields with graduate programs in education and music education. Gordon is nationally recognized for excellence in academics and in character building, and ranks as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges. www.gordon.edu