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Discover dynamic education programs and curriculum resources about the history of our city, state, and nation.

For more details, please see our e-brochure below:

Lead support provided by
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Bernard L. Schwartz
Leslie and Alan Shuch
Thompson Family Foundation

Generous support provided by
The Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts
Irma L. and Abram S. Croll Charitable Trust
Gray Foundation
Acorn Hill Foundation

Additional support provided by
Steven and Cheri Friedman and John and Julie Casesa

The New-York Historical Society is grateful to the New York City Council, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer for their lead support of the Academy for American Democracy capital project.


Help us present groundbreaking exhibitions and develop educational programs about our nation's history for more than 200,000 schoolchildren annually.



The Academy for American Democracy
at the New-York Historical Society

“It was the best week, the best time we spent all school year. I left the experience feeling like I was a part of something big. The students did something really significant for the four days.
They are dying to do it again.”
—Pilot Teacher, Wagner Middle School

The New-York Historical Society is proud to announce the Academy for American Democracy, a new educational initiative focusing on history and civics education for the sixth grade students.

Classes in residency will explore our galleries, in person or virtually, and engage in close examination of artifacts, art, and documents to build content knowledge and deepen their understanding of the history of democracy. Through experiential learning, art-making, writing, and theater activities, your students are immersed in a process of creative discovery to help them understand the value of active civic participation.


Distance Learning Residencies

Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, Academy for American Democracy residencies take place via distance learning as part of our free online learning resources. Distance learning residencies consist of 10 one-hour synchronous sessions. 

What do students learn?

“When we got to debate it made the topics feel important, and we learned how to persuade.”
—Pilot Student, Urban Assembly Academy for Future Leaders

Students participating in the Academy for American Democracy seek the answers to three Essential Questions:

  • What is a democracy?
  • How does a democracy work?
  • How do disenfranchised people make change in a democracy?

To answer these questions, students critically examine democracy as it was practiced in ancient Athens, adapted at the United States’ founding, and as generations of people have reshaped it in the centuries since. They analyze primary and secondary sources to consider how and why democracy has changed over time and explore their own roles as civic actors.

How will students benefit from the online Academy?

Students are empowered to ask big questions, think critically, and take an active role in the political world around them. At the end of the residency, participating students create their own digital art project that synthesizes what they have learned. More details on the program curriculum can be found in the brochure here and scheduling details can be found here.

How will teachers benefit?

Teachers are invited to participate in the Academy for American Democracy’s free professional development where they come together with scholars and museum professionals to dive deeply into history, political theory, and engaging online pedagogy. They study how the ideals and realities of democracy played out in ancient Athens, at the founding of the United States, and in American political and social movements across time. They are challenged to craft effective lessons for their specific classrooms that bolster their social studies online curricula. CTLE hours are provided.

Watch our series of educational videos here. These videos illuminate key ideas, topics, and themes in the history of democracy, from its creation in ancient Athens to the founding of the United States and beyond.

What do participants need to contribute?

Thanks to generous support, we are able to provide this $5,500 program free of charge. Participants are responsible for the following:

  • At least one certified teacher must be available to help manage the online experience and digital resources, and must be available for a planning session prior to the first class.
  • Students need access to Zoom or Google Meet. 
  • Participating teachers and students must complete all surveys and evaluations within two weeks of the last day of the Academy.

“I learned how important voting is. We have to speak up for ourselves and have our own opinions. We have to think long and hard about them.”
—Pilot Student, New Design Middle School

The Academy for American Democracy supports the New York City Curriculum Standards and Initiatives.

Sixth Grade Social Studies Scope and Sequence:

      Civics for All:

  • Comparing and contrasting civilizations and political systems
  • Characteristics and merits of a golden age
  • Cultural achievements’ influence on contemporary societies
  • Foundations of American government
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Role of the individual
  • Power and politics
  • Active engagement


How can my school participate?

Fill out an application here! The applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. First come, first served!

My child does not attend a traditional school and/or would like to participate as an extra-curricular. How can they be involved?

We create cohorts of students with similar scheduling and learning needs. These residencies are online only, unless students are part of a homeschool learning group. Fill out an application here! The applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. First come, first served!

“In a democracy, the choice you make can affect how you and others live. When you have the option to make a choice, you can’t take it for granted.”
—Pilot Student, Wagner Middle School


Creative: Tronvig Group