CHNM, Mount Vernon Launch New Web Site on Martha Washington

Posted: December 2, 2009 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: December 2, 2009 at 9:30 am

marthaThe Center for History and New Media and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens have launched a new web site chronicling the life and material culture of Martha Washington.

Through the generosity of Donald and Nancy de Laski, Martha Washington: A Life, examines Washington’s life and relationships by making available rare documents and historical artifacts for scholars, teachers and students.

The site uses those sources to create a rich narrative exhibit and standards-based teaching materials. The biographical exhibit, written by Mason history professor Rosemarie Zagarri, highlights the major milestones of Washington’s life as a young woman, bride, mother, First Lady and widow.

Three teaching modules use Washington’s experiences as a lens through which to examine themes of sociability, slavery and the Revolutionary War. Each module includes a short introductory film, a collection of primary sources, and classroom activities for middle and high school students. The site offers teachers a unique opportunity to bring Martha Washington, whose life is often overlooked by textbooks, into the classroom.

The site also makes available more than 450 documents and items in the largest digital archive devoted to Martha Washington and her life. The letters, documents, images and material culture objects in the archive provide users with a glimpse into the world of Virginia’s 18th-century planter class.

Martha Washington joins a growing collection of collaborative web projects developed by the Center for History and New Media and national museums, including The Object of History: Behind the Scenes with the Curators at the National Museum of American History, and Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives.

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