Teen Thursdays is an NYC DOE after school initiative to engage students in Grades 7-8 from across New York City in a series of rich, experiential, after school learning opportunities available through local cultural institutions that focus on American History. Chosen schools partner with a local cultural institution in providing these opportunities. For the 2015-2016 school year, Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted & Talented partnered with the JP Morgan Library and Museum.
The goal of our seven-week program was to open a window in time of New York City at the turn of the 20th century from its most public features to its most intimate ones; from architecture and art to journals and diaries in the Morgan Library and Museum collection. Students explored the urban, architectural, and socio/historical context surrounding JP Morgan’s decision to settle in Murray Hill in the 1880s and understand the subsequent decades leading to the building of Morgan’s private library as well as of the neighboring New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal.
For a more intimate glance at that period, students enjoyed a special viewing of contemporary American journals, wedding albums as well as learn about Belle de Acosta, the woman behind the creation of Morgan’s Library.
Throughout the program, students participated in many opportunities to apply their observation, analytical and team problem solving skills through two discrete hands-on projects: the creation of model period building and the binding of a book that serves as their journals.