Teaching Whittier in the 21st Century
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Written by Whittier Home

Teaching WrittierSEACOAST BOOKS

The Whittier Home Association in Amesbury, Massachusetts proudly introduces a special curriculum which honors the life and legacy of poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier. Several years in the making, the curriculum was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, and was created to facilitate and promote a connection between the Whittier Home and schools and the local community through engaging, historically relevant, and fun educational programming. (Continued below) 

Teaching Whittier can be downloaded at no charge from the Whittier Home's Web site. The three-part PDF package provides printable instructional materials, programming, and a walking tour which helps teachers, historical societies, librarians, and museum curators share Whittier's place among writers who shaped history with their pens and their deeds.

In particular, the curriculum is designed to offer a variety of activities, lesson plan supplements, and materials for use in a classroom setting and/or on a site visit. Work sheets, ideas, and projects can be used as building blocks in tandem with a field trip to the Whittier Home, or can stand alone as complimentary curriculum-based materials and information. 

"Oftentimes Whittier is not recognized except as the man who wrote the magnificent poem, Snowbound," says house president Cynthia Costello. "His place in the Abolition movement and his vocal and heroic stand against inequality must be remembered as well." 


The Teaching Whittier curriculum features a script developed specifically for students, but anyone with an interest in Whittier's life is welcome to download the materials. The materials in the binder provide preliminary information which enables educators and their students to become familiar with Whittier and the artifacts before they pay a visit to the museum. Once on-site, WHA docents will guide them through a more meaningful tour. "Our first implementation of this curriculum will be with Amesbury's eighth graders when they come to visit in June for annual History Days," Costello adds.

By placing the curriculum on the Whittier Home Association website for free download, the organization is able to expand its reach beyond the miles to inform and enlighten audiences throughout the world, thus fulfilling its mission to be a non-profit educational organization striving to engage diverse audiences in the life-story of Whittier in his roles as Quaker, Writer, Legislator and an Abolitionist.

About the Whittier Home: Born in Haverhill MA in 1807, Whittier moved with his family – mother Abigail, sister Elizabeth, and Aunt Mercy – to Amesbury MA in 1836 into a three-room cottage across the street from the Quaker Meeting House. From 1836 until his death in 1892, John Greenleaf Whittier lived and wrote most of his poetry and prose here. Built circa 1829, this classic New England farmhouse located at 86 Friend Street retains the decor and structure of the home as Whittier and his family knew it during the mid- and late 1800s. While it serves as a National Historic Landmark and tribute to the Quaker poet and the anti-slavery champion who made outstanding contributions to the life and literature of this country, it also plays an important role in the region’s contemporary literary scene, attracting writers from Greater Boston and beyond.