Harvard Business School cases
The Academy uses the case-based History of American Democracy curriculum developed by HBS Professor David Moss. This curriculum allows you to engage more deeply with the history you are studying as you explore sites and hear guest lectures by nationally recognized scholars. The cases provide an interdisciplinary and contextual examination of key historical events, permitting you to consider the multiple viewpoints of historical debates and to place yourself in the shoes of history’s decision makers.
Better Angels debates
National History Academy partners with Better Angels on a parliamentary debate program designed to encourage civil discourse. This formal style of debate allows you to discuss challenging modern-day issues in contrast to the historical debates studied in the cases. You will engage in a series of debates during the summer, including self-selecting the topics, organizing your positions, and ultimately, chairing your own debates. Through these debates, you will be better able to understand the context of historical figures as real people struggling with difficult issues, just as you are struggling with and forming your own opinions about modern issues in the debates.
Historic Site Visits
National History Academy is built around learning at many of the defining sites of American history. But you will not just take a tour as a member of the general public would. You will gain behind-the-scenes access, often visiting with the Executive Director of the site. On many of these visits, a scholar will talk with you and spend part of the day with us.
Historic site visits provide context and truly “make history come alive.” Over the course of the summer, you will visit over 30 important places that help tell the American story, including Historic Jamestowne, Colonial Williamsburg, and Washington, DC; iconic National Parks such as Harpers Ferry, the C&O Canal, the Appalachian Trail, and the National Mall; the presidential homes and retreats of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Lincoln, and Eisenhower; numerous Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War battlefields, including Yorktown, Fort McHenry, Gettysburg, and Antietam, and sites related to the fight for Civil Rights, including places that tell the stories of Frederick Douglass, John Brown, W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr . You will also have once-in-a-lifetime experiences. In 2018, Academy students saw the Broadway hit Hamilton at the Kennedy Center and screened the movie Gettysburg in Gettysburg with the film’s director, Ron Maxwell.
These immersive site visits reinforce what you will learn in the classrooms with the Harvard Business School history case studies and parliamentary debates. The combined impact of this experiential, collaborative and participatory learning will improve your critical and creative thinking skills and prepare you for college.