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Morris County School of Technology Collaborates with Morristown Museum, Macculloch Hall

The Morris County School of Technology History and English Departments recently collaborated with the local Morristown museum, Macculloch Hall. The interdisciplinary lesson centered around the essential question, “How does the past shape our future?” Macculloch Hall provided the teachers with copies of primary sources that are housed at the museum. Sources included an original letter written by General George Washington to Robert Morris (1777) and Thomas Nast’s cartoon, Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner (1869).  

Cynthia Winslow, Curator of Education and Community Engagement, and Dr. Patricia Pongracz, Executive Director from Macculloch Hall recently visited the school to facilitate the lesson. Winslow and Dr. Pongracz led discussions about key takeaways from each primary source. Students were able to engage deeper with the primary sources to determine how we can learn from the past to better ourselves for the future. 

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum's Executive Director, Dr. Patricia Pongracz, said, “MHHM loves being in the classroom sharing primary sources that highlight where in Morris County history happened. We hope that the students learn as much from us as we always do in conversation with them. And we love when students then bring their families to visit so we can continue the conversations at MHHM.”

cteSophomore students worked in small groups to answer questions about the importance and reliability of primary sources in academia and reviewed proper ways to incorporate text evidence in their writing to support their claims.

Authentic and interdisciplinary lessons break down the walls of the classroom to allow students to engage with the real world. The experience allows students to connect with professionals and create meaningful learning connections. Lisa Adams, Supervisor of Instruction shared, “At MCST we try to connect our students with members of various professions to expose them to potential career opportunities. While most of these connections take place in their Career and Technical Education courses, our academic teachers also see the value in collaborating with others outside of our school walls.” The English and History Departments will continue to plan and facilitate interdisciplinary lessons in future classes. Students will engage in real-life projects and various guest speakers throughout the year. 

Macculloch Hall is located in the heart of Morristown’s National Historic District. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum preserves and interprets its historic house and gardens, unparalleled collection of the work of political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902), fine and decorative arts collections, and Macculloch family archives, inspiring visitors to experience everyday American history where it happened. To learn more information, please visit https://maccullochhall.org/

Morris County Vocational School District offers a wide range of career and technical education programs that inspire and prepare students to succeed in today’s world and pursue tomorrow’s opportunities.  Programs range from auto service and construction trades to healthcare sciences, performing arts and cybersecurity. The high school offers full-time academies and share-time programs on its Denville campus. In addition, through collaboration with local school districts and the County College of Morris, it offers full-time academies and share-time programs established at off-site satellite locations. To learn more about full-time academies and share-time high school programs, visit www.mcvts.org or call 973-627-4600 ext. 277.