Alicia Parks

Historical Society of PA

Alicia began as an Education Intern in January 2014. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from UNC Greensboro in 2011 and recently completed a Master of Arts in History from Villanova University. She aims to create interdisciplinary lesson plans which allow teachers to incorporate history into their daily curriculum.

This Author's Posts

I was recently visiting the Hershey Community Archives, in my hometown of Hershey, PA, and it made me think of how we can teach local history, even of small towns, using a wide variety of primary sources. I had never thought of the rich history Hershey held until I had the opportunity to visit the Hershey Community Archives and check out the newspapers and oral history accounts for myself.  


Our programs here at the Historical Society allow students to work directly with primary source documents, and some of the most interesting feedback received has been through documenting students understanding of political cartoons. As a part of the HINT project here at HSP, we polled over 200 students on what they thought of political cartoons and to learn if they were a good teaching tool. The feedback we received was wonderful as many students enjoyed studying the cartoons as a part of their history lesson.


With the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, it is important to look back at the men and women who fought for equality.


With the announcement that our $10 bill will include a woman, it is the perfect opportunity to teach your students about the history of our currency and begin a conversation on the new look of the $10 bill. Coincidentally, this is not the first time a woman will be on United States currency. 

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On July 7th from 9 am – noon, HSP is hosting its next professional development opportunity where we will investigate economic history along with the effects of technology. Today, many students lack valuable knowledge of our nation's economic history or even how to handle their personal finances. We hope this teacher workshop will provide prime examples that will close that gap by integrating interdiciplinary financial literacy/economic lessons into any classroom curriculum.


The Historical Society will be participating in this year’s Juneteenth festivities on Saturday, June 20th at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Since this is the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the Juneteenth festival will be even larger with numerous activities and  food trucks -  and admission is free!


We have all seen the images of “Rosie Riveter” encouraging women to join the war effort by working in shipyards and factories during WWII. The same imagery was true for WWI, although it is less popularized, with images of women ‘doing their part’ to help the war effort at home.


If you are looking for more examples of exceptional women to spruce up your curriculum, consider a couple of the collections at HSP that are focused on women who broke traditional boundaries. The two examples of women below are individuals who were pioneers in their respective fields and advocates in the fight for equal rights.


This week HSP honored Sue Monk Kidd as our 2015 honoree for exemplary service to history. Kidd’s newest book, The Invention of Wings, focused on the Grimke sisters, Sarah and Angelina, who moved from South Carolina to Philadelphia prior to the Civil War. Not only is The Invention of Wings an incredible historical novel, but the premise of the book is deeply rooted in the real history of the Grimke sisters who were active abolitionists and members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.



In case you did not know, April marks Financial Literacy Month! With the staggering cost of continuing education as well as the unstable job market, it is even more important to make sure students are prepared to handle their own finances. In order to provide some new resources this month, here are a few images of old currency from the Bank of North America collection. This collection spans over two hundred years and will be the focus of an upcoming Unit Plan on teaching financial literacy and economic history.