Governor’s Mansion publishes history curriculum guide endorsed by the State Board of Education

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Resource includes student lessons, activities connected to the People’s House

information provided by the Office of the Governor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (December 2018) — A new Illinois Governor’s Mansion curriculum guide contains scores of suggestions for activities, online resource links, and ways to engage today’s students in yesterday’s lessons for a better tomorrow, state officials said.

The 44-page guide, released on December 12, provides a variety of learning activities connecting K-12 math, science, art, music, reading, and writing lessons with the rich history surrounding some of the movers and shakers who occupied the Governor’s Mansion dating back to the Civil War and through the early 1900s.

“We want everyone in Illinois to visit the People’s House, a site of history, culture, and civic pride,” First Lady Diana Rauner wrote in a prefacing letter for the guide. “It offers a wonderful journey through our past, and its lessons need not be confined to a place.”

“This guide is a means of extending the Illinois Governor’s Mansion’s education mission to inspire students and teachers to look deeper into our history as a way to inform the future and define their roles in it,” added Mrs. Rauner, who also is the chairwoman of the nonprofit mansion association, which undertook extensive renovations of the 1850s-era structure in recent years.

Learning activities in the Illinois State Board of Education-endorsed guide correspond with exhibits on display at the mansion, located at 410 E. Jackson Street in Springfield.

Six months in the making, “Born, Built, Grown: Illinois Learning Resources from the Governor’s Mansion” is ideal for use before or after student group tours of the mansion. The guide includes tour-scheduling information, and can easily be used in conjunction with virtual tours of the mansion as well. A link to virtual tours will be available soon at illinoismansion.org.

“The activities and lesson suggestions in this guide are an excellent way for teachers to introduce or reinforce the importance of civic duty and public service in our lives, as they highlight examples of those who helped build the backbone of our state,” Rauner said. “I congratulate everyone who worked on this project, and encourage its use throughout our schools.”

Curriculum guide subjects include Governors Richard Yates, Richard Oglesby, John Altgeld, Henry Horner, and Adlai Stevenson II, as well as the state’s first female senator, Florence Fifer Bohrer. The latter spent some childhood years in the mansion while her father, Joseph Fifer, served as governor from 1889 to 1893. Also addressed in the guide are pivotal events of the times—everything from the World’s Columbian Exposition to the Haymarket Riot, the Great Depression, and the women’s suffrage movement.

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith called on teachers to avail themselves of the new resource. “I encourage teachers to explore how these resources can support students to think critically about the events that shape our collective past in order to transform our promising future,” he said.