The Outreach and Education Committee has created Primary Source Sets for educators to align with the National Council for the Social Studies curriculum themes. Drawing on the rich resources available within Digital Commonwealth, the Committee mined for the best examples to support a given theme.

Teachers can supplement lesson plans with the use of photographs, manuscripts, maps, letters to make history jump off students’ screens. For example, within the Production, Distribution, and Consumption set,  students can learn about the significant industries within the Commonwealth–perhaps even where some of their grandparents or great-grandparents worked.  Discover the Hyde Violin Factory in Northampton, The Grosvenor’s Apothecary in Peabody, The Table Top pie factory in Worcester and the American Waltham Watch Factory.

The set also reveals the distribution systems for getting materials necessary for these industries and  later, sending their finished goods to market with photographs of the Mystic River cargo containers, with added relevance when compared with the recent massive cargo ship stuck in Suez Canal.  And, of course, the numerous shops, large and small as well as the shopping malls where the items were purchased.

The Outreach and Education Committee urges teachers in all grades, especially middle and high school to make use of these Primary Source Sets and perhaps share some of their experiences using Digital Commonwealth with their students and successful lesson plans. The Committee would also like to know what other sets or resources educators would like to see. Please send feedback to

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