Presidential Scholars – Calling All Middle Schoolers!
Students age 11 - 14
Sundays: February 24, March 3, 10, and 17; 11 am - 12:30 pm
Please note students must commit to all four classes.
$300 per student; $250 per Member; a limited number of scholarships are available.
Applications due January 30; click here to fill out application form
Presidential Scholars welcomes budding presidential scholars (11-14 year olds) as they join renowned presidential historians to engage in lively conversations on the challenges, accomplishments, and legacy of this country’s past leaders. Students who are accepted into this program are intellectually curious and rigorous, and looking to dig deeper into these essential American figures. Historians will lead the conversation, answer questions, and share primary sources. Each historian will discuss their topic with students for approximately one hour, and the class will utilize a round-table conversation style. Time at the end of class will be allotted for a conversation about the historian’s interests, studies, and profession. Students accepted into this program must attend all four dates; they will receive a signed copy of the scholars’ books, and will be awarded a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the program.
In this spring’s Presidential Scholars, students will explore the first four presidents. Historians will discuss Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison’s time in office, and their political views on and personal connections to slavery. Professor Erica Dunbar of Rutgers University will speak on George Washington and Ona Judge, an enslaved woman owned by Martha Washington who worked on George Washington’s plantation. Professor David Waldstreicher of Temple University will delve into John Adams, the Constitution, and the institution of slavery. We’ll examine Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemmings, and his political stance on slavery. And Carol Berkin, Emerita at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, will explore James Madison’s terms in office.
Click here to fill out the application.
Deadline for the application is January 30. We will notify applicants with our decision by end of day February 6.
In addition to filling out the online form, please send the following mandatory application materials to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the student's name and "Presidential Historians" in the subject line.
1) An essay written by the student (up to 500 words) on the following: “Who is a president you admire and why? Discuss a decision, policy, or action he made that you disagree with.”
2) A recommendation letter from an educator describing how the student would contribute to this series of conversations on presidential history.
PLEASE NOTE: THE STUDENT'S APPLICATION IS NOT COMPLETE UNTIL WE RECEIVE ALL THREE COMPONENTS (the online form, the essay, and the recommendation).
Presidential Scholars is part of New-York Historical’s Presidential Historical Commission, an institution-wide educational initiative exploring the role, powers, and responsibilities of the presidency. The Commission aims to survey, examine, and celebrate the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. presidency through objects from the first inauguration in 1789, historical documents about the presidency from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and New-York Historical’s collection, engaging conversations with historians and renowned public figures, family programs, and historical reenactors portraying U.S. presidents.
George Washington, 19th century. Reverse painting on glass. New-York Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. J. Insley Blair, 1941.626
Gilbert Stuart, John Adams. Oil on wood panel. New-York Historical Society, Gift of Gift of Thomas Jefferson Bryan, 1867.304
Jean Antoine Houdon, Thomas Jefferson, 1789. New-York Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Laura Wolcott Gibbs. 1839.1
Asher Brown Durand, James Madison, 1835. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.10