Teach PA History
Two Men Named Ben: Historic Roots of Education in Pennsylvania

1. Have the students research state and federal guidelines regarding education today, and then have them write their own essay on what they think is most important in education. 2. Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote a number of articles concerning education. One of his essays is entitled, [[doc]]Thoughts upon Female Education[[/]] [link to original document Benjamin Rush, "Thoughts upon Female Education," (Boston, 1787).] Have students read this article to discover his views of educating women. 3. This lesson focuses mainly on the mid- to late- 18th century and the present. In between, historical events continued to influence education. Students can look at the broad spectrum of events influencing education over time–take for example, the desegregation of schools in the civil rights era, the race for science and math excellence during the cold war, and the influence of Title IX on the education of women in the 1970s. The following website can be used as a resource: PBS. KCET. School: The Story of American Public Education .

Field Trips

American Philosophical Society Library and Museum
104 S. Fifth St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Benjamin Franklin and his friends founded this society in 1743! The name, "philosophical" society, came from the Enlightment-era terminology when scientist like Franklin called themselves "natural philosophers." Located in the Independence National Park, this museum has collected material artifacts over the years that include specimens, portraits, maps, art works, rare books, and manuscripts.

Dickinson College
252 W. Louther Street
Carlisle, PA 17013

Discover the college Dr. Benjamin Rush founded in 1783. College-bound students can tour the campus and use this trip as an informational field trip. Or call the special collections library beforehand, and ask if they can arrange to show you some of Dr. Rush's original documents.

Library Company
1314 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 546-3181

Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, the Library Company is a subscription-based library supported by its shareholders. The library specializes in materials on American society and culture from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Among its interesting materials is a collection which focuses on early American education. It also houses a non-circulating collection of rare books, manuscripts, prints, broadsides, works of art, and other ephemera. The library is free to the public.

Pennsylvania State Capitol The Pennsylvania General Assembly–Capitol Tours and Welcome Center
North Third and State Streets
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101

After the lesson, you could take students on a field trip to either the state capitol to meet with a local political representative who can share what the government at the state level considers important in education today.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Mütter Museum
19 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19103

Dr. Benjamin Rush combined his profession as a physician and his work in education to help found the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1787. He advocated for the establishment of a medicinal garden which the college established 150 years later and named after him. The college began with twenty-four students seeking to “to advance the science of medicine and thereby lessen human misery.

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