Massachusetts Historical Society

Teacher and Student Fellowships

Have you always wanted a chance to get hands on with history? Is there a subject in history you've always wanted time to explore? Apply for a MHS Fellowship!

The MHS is proud to offer fellowships for K-12 teachers and high school students to explore a topic of their choice in the Massachusetts Historical Society's archives. These fellowships are available to K-12 educators and high school students from all U.S. states and territories. The application deadline is 11:59 pm ET on March 14th, 2024. Teachers may apply to both the Swensrud and Kass Teacher Fellowships and can do so in the same application form.

Please explore the three types of fellowships below and contact education@studiodigitalplus.net with any questions. We will hold fellowship info sessions on February 7th, 2024 for those interested in learning more about the fellowships and application process (see below for details).

  • Swensrud Teacher Fellowship

    Is there a historical topic you’ve always wanted to cover in your classroom? Are you facing gaps in your content knowledge or curriculum that you want to address? Do you want support in developing curricular materials to address the specific needs of your students?

    The Swensrud Teacher Fellowship program offers K-12 educators the opportunity to research and create educational materials using documents and artifacts from the collections of the MHS. The fellowships carry a stipend of $6,000 for four weeks of research and the creation of two or more primary source sets for classroom use. We are seeking applications that identify an area of need in the applicant’s curriculum and propose ideas for a research project that will address that need.

    We will be awarding two Swensrud Fellowships for the summer/fall 2024 season. Priority will be given to an applicant in their first five years of teaching for one Swensrud Fellowship.

    Swensrud Fellowship Description

    During the summer and fall, Swensrud fellows will complete a total of 20 days of research both on and off-site on the topic of their choice using MHS collections, and will produce 2+ primary source sets for the classroom. These deliverables are due on January 15th, 2025, and materials from these projects will be incorporated into MHS online educator resources, with credit to teacher fellows who created them.

    Swensrud fellows will meet regularly for virtual mentorship sessions with our Education department for support in finding resources, focusing research questions, and developing classroom materials. Fellows will also work with research librarians at the MHS to help them find sources to support their research. Swensrud fellows set their own pace for their research: some prefer to condense their research time to several weeks, while others spread out their research over the course of the summer and fall. Applicants may also be eligible for fully virtual fellowships if the majority of the materials they are interested in studying are already digitized.

    Swensrud fellows will receive a $6,000 stipend for their work at the MHS. The first half of their stipend will be distributed after attending our virtual orientation in June, and the second half after receipt of their deliverables in January 2025.

    Who should apply?

    Applications are welcome from any K-12 teacher or library media specialist who wishes to use the collections at the MHS to prepare primary-source resource sets in the fields of American history, world history, civics, English language arts, or other relevant subject areas. Applicants are welcome from all U.S. states and territories, and must be currently teaching or working in an education setting during the 2023-2024 year. Priority will be given to an educator in their first five years of teaching for one Swensrud fellowship.

    What is the deliverable for this fellowship?

    After completing the 20 days of research, Swensrud fellows will be asked to produce 2 or more primary source sets and associated materials for other educators to use. Fellows will also complete a short reflection on their fellowship experience.

    Source Sets:

    Between the 2+ sets, fellows should include at least 10 primary sources. Each source set should include the following:

    • A short overview of the topic and its significance (3-4 paragraphs)
    • List of applicable standards from MA History and Social Studies or ELA/Literacy framework
    • 1-2 essential questions
    • Primary Source list of at least 3 items from MHS collections with:
      • A one-paragraph description of each item's significance/educational value
      • An image or photograph of each item
      • A transcript of any written excerpts for use in the classroom
    • 2-3 sample classroom activities based on the document set

    Where applicable, fellows may choose to produce a short video in lieu of written text for one or more components of the source set, e.g. a video introduction to the topic or a recorded explanation and demonstration of classroom activities.

    Examples of previously developed source sets can be viewed here.

    Fellowship Reflection:

    Fellows may either write a 1000-word blog post on their experience during the fellowship, or participate in a 45-minute virtual interview with MHS Education Staff. Both deliverables must be completed and submitted by January 15th, 2025.

    Source set materials and activities developed by teacher fellows may be incorporated into the MHS History Source curricular resource portal for other educators to use, and quotes from the reflection will be shared on our MHS Beehive Blog. Teacher fellows also retain use of their project materials and may post and share their lesson materials elsewhere with credit to the Massachusetts Historical Society Swensrud Fellowship.

    How do I apply?

    Submit your application via our online application form by midnight on March 14th, 2024. You can apply to both the Swensrud and Kass Fellowship in the same application if you wish.

    We will be holding a fellowship info session on February 7th, 2024 at 5 PM (register here). You can watch the recording of last year's info session here (Passcode: =&v0%pFJ).

    Applicants should prepare to provide the following materials:

    • A current resume
    • A letter of intent (no longer than two pages, single spaced) that identifies an area of need in your curriculum and ideas for developing primary source lesson materials that address that need. Your letter must answer the following questions:
      • What most excites you about this area of research? What are some questions you have about the topic that you hope your research will answer?
      • Talk about the specific needs of your students. How will this research support the needs of your classroom teaching and your own students?
      • Describe your teaching philosophy around using primary sources in the classroom. What are some successes and challenges you’ve experienced?
    • A list of 3-5 MHS collections, exhibits, or specific items from the MHS archives that you are interested in exploring as part of your research. We recommend exploring our website, our collection guides, the History Source curricular resource portal, and our online collections.
    • A letter of support from your school principal or department head
    • A sample lesson plan or classroom activity that you have developed. It may be on any topic and does not have to be the same as the subject of your application or even a history lesson.

    For questions about accessibility and availability of collections related to your topic, prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Library Reader Services via email or virtual chat. For questions about your proposal and research questions, please email MHS Education Staff.

    The fellowship process is competitive. Awards will be made on the strength of 1) proposed topic of research; 2) how this research will address an area of need in the applicant’s teaching 3) the plan for using MHS collections; 4) usability of the proposed research in other classrooms; 5) recommendations; 6) the sample classroom materials.

    Please direct questions to education@studiodigitalplus.net.

  • Kass Teacher Fellowship

    Is there a historical topic or period that you’ve always wanted to explore in greater depth? Are you facing gaps in your knowledge or curriculum that you want to address? Are you ready to dive into the archives and see what you discover?

    The Kass Teacher Fellowship program offers K-12 educators the chance to focus on pure research and archival exploration by conducting 20 days of research at the MHS on a topic of their choice. The fellowship carries a stipend of $3,000 for four weeks of research during the summer and a final report on your findings. We are looking for applications from K-12 teachers seeking to do historical research that will fill a knowledge gap or address a need in their curriculum.

    We will be awarding one Kass Fellowship for the summer/fall 2024 season.

    Kass Fellowship Description

    During the summer and fall, Kass fellows will complete a total of 20 days of research both on and off-site on the topic of their choice using MHS collections, and will produce a final report and bibliography of their research findings. This deliverable is due on January 15th, 2025, and materials from these projects may be incorporated into MHS online educator resources and on our MHS Beehive Blog, with credit to teacher fellows who created them.

    Kass Fellow will meet regularly for virtual mentorship sessions with our Education department for support in brainstorming, finding resources, focusing research questions, and developing the final report. Fellows will also work with research librarians at the MHS to help them find sources to support their research. Kass Fellows set their own pace for their research: some fellows prefer to condense their research time to several weeks, while others spread out their research visits over the course of the summer and fall. Applicants may also be eligible for virtual fellowships if the majority of the materials they are interested in studying are already digitized.

    The Kass Teacher Fellow will receive a $3,000 stipend for their work at the MHS. The first half of their stipend will be distributed after attending our virtual orientation in June, and the second half after receipt of their final report.

    Who should apply?

    Applications are welcome from any K-12 teacher or library media specialist who wishes to use the collections at the MHS to prepare primary-source resource sets in the fields of American history, world history, civics, English language arts, or other relevant subject areas. Applicants are welcome from any U.S. states and territories, and must be currently teaching or working in an education setting during the 2022-2023 year. Prior experience performing archival research is not required.

    What is the deliverable for this fellowship?

    After completing the 20 days of research, the Kass fellow will be asked to produce a bibliography with highlights from their research (at least 15 items/folders/collections) and a final 4-page or 2,500 word report on their research process and findings. The tone of this report is informal, and fellows should be prepared to discuss the following prompts:

    • What topics and materials did you explore?
    • How did your research questions change over the course of your fellowship?
    • What were some of the most interesting or surprising materials you found during your research? What materials would be most interesting to your students?
    • How will your research and the sources you found influence your teaching going forward?
    • What should other teachers know if they apply for a research fellowship at MHS? What were some of the highlights and lowlights of the research program?

    Both deliverables must be completed and submitted by January 15th, 2025. Sections of the final report will also be shared with the MHS Education community on our MHS Beehive Blog. Fellows also retain use of their project materials and may post and share their report elsewhere with credit to the Massachusetts Historical Society Kass Fellowship.

    How do I apply?

    Submit your application via our online application form by midnight on March 14th, 2024. You can apply to both the Swensrud and Kass Fellowship in the same application if you wish.

    We will be holding a fellowship info session on February 7th, 2024 at 5 PM (register here). You can watch the recording of last year's info session here (Passcode: =&v0%pFJ).

    Applicants should prepare to provide the following materials:

    • A current resume
    • A letter of intent (no longer than two pages, single spaced) that identifies a content knowledge gap or address an area of need in your curriculum that you hope to address through your research. Your letter must answer the following questions:
      • What excites you about this area of research? What are some questions you have about the topic that you hope your research will answer?
      • Talk about the specific needs of your students. How will this research support the specific needs of your classroom teaching and your own students?
      • Describe your teaching philosophy around using primary sources in the classroom. What are some successes and challenges you've experienced?
    • A list of 3-5 MHS collections, exhibits, or specific items from the MHS archives that you are interested in exploring as part of your research. We recommend exploring our website, our collection guides, the History Source curricular resource portal, and our online collections.
    • A letter of support from your school principal or department head
    • A sample lesson plan or classroom activity that you have developed. It may be on any topic and does not have to be the same as the subject of your application or even a history lesson.

    For questions about accessibility and availability of collections related to your topic, prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Library Reader Services via email or virtual chat. For questions about your proposal and research questions, please email MHS Education Staff.

    The fellowship process is competitive. Awards will be made on the strength of 1) proposed topic of research; 2) how this research will address an area of need in the applicant’s teaching 3) plan for using MHS materials 4) recommendations; 5) the sample classroom materials.

    Please direct questions to education@studiodigitalplus.net.

  • John Winthrop Student Fellowship

    Do you have a burning question about history that you’re not learning about in school? Do you want to learn what it’s like to be a historian? Are you interested in getting hands-on with old documents and artifacts?

    The John Winthrop Student Fellowship award encourages students in grades 9-12 to use documents and artifacts at the MHS in a research project of their choice and with the support of a teacher advisor. Student fellow(s) and their teacher will each receive a $1,000 stipend to complete their research project. We are looking from applications from students who are excited to learn about a topic in history and a desire to explore primary sources.

    The MHS will offer one fellowship to an individual student or a group of up to five students and their teacher advisor during the summer of 2024.

    John Winthrop Student Fellowship Description

    The student fellow(s) and their teacher advisor will attend a virtual orientation at the end of May to kick off their fellowship. Over the course of the next two months, the student fellow will explore documents and artifacts in the MHS collections related to their research topic. Students can explore items in the MHS Reading Room, where they will work directly with original documents and artifacts, and also explore digital materials from our online collections and our virtual primary source sets.

    Students and teacher mentors will meet regularly for virtual mentorship sessions with our Education department for support in brainstorming, finding and analyzing resources, focusing research questions, and developing their final project. Student fellows will also work with research librarians at the MHS to help them find sources to support their research. Each student fellow and their teacher advisor will receive a $1,000 stipend for their participation in the fellowship. The first half of their stipend will be distributed after attending our virtual orientation in May, and the second half after completing their final project and reflection.

    Who should apply?

    You do not have to be a history buff–we are looking for a passion for asking questions and learning, not grades! High school students from any U.S. states and territories are welcome to apply for the John Winthrop Student Fellowship. Students must be heading into grades 9-12 in the fall of 2024. If students plan to complete the fellowship remotely, their area of research must be related to materials already digitized on the MHS website. To explore options, check out our website, our collection guides, the History Source curricular resource portal, and our online collections.

    What is the final project?

    Over the course of the fellowship, the student fellow(s) will complete a project to share highlights of their research over the course of their fellowship. They will also either write a 1 page reflection about their experience and what they’ve learned or complete a virtual interview with the MHS Education department. Quotes from this final reflection will be featured on the MHS Beehive Blog.

    During the fellowship, students will work with their teacher mentor and MHS advisor to determine the type of research project they would like to complete. Each project must include analysis of at least 4 primary sources from their research at the MHS. This can be a project already assigned for school, or an independent project of the student’s design.

    Examples of potential projects might include:

    • A blog post
    • A web page or website
    • A podcast outline, script, or recording
    • A slideshow presentation
    • An essay (minimum 4 pages)
    • A zine
    • A documentary or video
    • An interview with MHS staff on the topic of their research

    These are just a few ideas–the possibilities are endless!

    The project and student reflection are due by July 31th, 2024. While neither will be graded, the teacher-advisor must approve of the completion of the project according to the fellowship rubric.

    How do I apply?

    Submit your application via our online application form by midnight on March 14 2024. We will be holding a fellowship info session on February 7th, 2024 at 6 PM (register here).You can watch the recording of last year's info session here (Passcode: 3MkZ%rM%).

    Applicants should provide the following materials:

    • A proposal of no more than 500 words that explains the following:
      • What is the topic that you want to research and why are you interested in it?
      • What questions do you have about your topic that you want to investigate?
    • A list of 3-5 MHS collections, exhibits, or specific items from the MHS archives that you are interested in exploring as part of your research. We recommend exploring our website, our collection guides, the History Source curricular resource portal, and our online collections.
    • A recommendation letter from your teacher-advisor for the fellowship project

    For questions about accessibility and availability of collections related to your topic, prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Library Reader Services via email or virtual chat. For questions about your proposal and research questions, please email MHS Education Staff.

  • Our 2023 Fellowship Recipients

    We are proud to announce our 2023 Teacher and Student Fellowship Winners:

    Swensrud Teacher Fellowship:

    Sydney Slayer, Lyons Township HS, Lyons IL

    Matt Weiss, Verde Valley HS, Sedona AZ

    Kass Teacher Fellowship:

    Michael M. Khorshidianzadeh, Victor School, Acton MA

    John Winthrop Student Fellowship:

    Sahai Virk, Milford High School, Milford MA


    Congratulations to our 2023 Teacher and Student fellows, and we look forward to learning from your research at the MHS this year!

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