Beth A Twiss Houting

One of Beth's main responsibilities at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is educational programs. She organizes teacher professional development, oversees development of classroom resources, coordinates National History Day at HSP, and arranges for student visits to the library. She brings three decades of experiencing working with grades K12 in a variety of museum settings and has taught at the University of the Arts. Teachers and students should feel free to contact her for assistance with history education projects.

This Author's Posts

What do the Centennial of 1876 and Quizzo have to do with National History Day?  Come to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania on Thursday, November 1 to find out during a free teacher workshop.  Beneficial NHD Teacher Fellow Claire Frosch will share what she learned in a summer of searching our collections for materials related to this year's NHD theme of "Turning Points in History." 


Using Philadelphia's Chinatown as a case study, a teacher workshop on Monday, October 15, models a new HSP unit plan on understanding the role of community organizing in social change and how social change happens.  Learn how Philadelphia’s Chinatown has evolved over time and its ongoing struggle to maintain its geographic and cultural integrity.


Sixth through twelfth grade students are welcome to research at HSP.  Admission is free and beginning on Wednesday, October 3, Student Mentors are available to help guide these young scholars in their work with historical primary sources.  Mentors act as a "research buddy" introducing HSP and its different sources to students, working with them to transcribe old handwriting, and encouraging them to think about how to interpret a source. 


Join us Monday at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for the NHD Philly Kick-Off from 4:30-7:00 p.m.! 


Primary sources can enrich curriculum and engage students if used properly.  However, introducing students to using primary sources can be a daunting task.  This summer Beneficial National History Day Fellow Claire Frosch, created a multi-purpose lesson in this unit to introduce students to primary and secondary sources, to introduce the idea of multiple historical perspectives and to build skills for historical analysis.


Common Core standards have been adopted in Pennsylvania and 44 other states as well as three U.S. territories. This is great news for history teachers - and other teachers who love history. The standards include reading and writing standards especially for social studies and history. These standards stress student ability to interpret and use textual evidence from informational and non-fiction sources.

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As teachers, we are used to card catalogs, be they physical or virtual, for finding materials in a library.  Archives have additional methods that teachers and students can use to search for primary sources on a subject.   This blog will talk about HSP's finding aids and subject guides.


In this blog, we will explore the Digital Library, another way of finding primary sources on HSP's website - one where you will be able to "see" actual documents.   These documents may be of letters, diaries, watercolors, maps, etc. 


Teachers are not just limited to the primary sources that are listed in the Education section of   Like anyone else, they can search the website in a variety of ways to look for digitized primary sources to use in the classroom, beginning with the Search box on the upper right of each page.


What are you doing this summer?  Coming to HSP, we hope!

Summer vacation is about recreation - of the sport kind and of the revitalize-your-spirit kind.  Look to HSP to help with the latter through choice of three week-long teacher institutes.  Applications are being taken now for all three, with the deadline for "Franklin's Thrift" being extended to May 1.