US History Writing Assignment: Fall 2013
Visiting Historical Sites
As mentioned on the syllabus, each student is required to complete a writing assignment during the course of the semester. This assignment asks you to explore the rich history of Quincy, Boston and New England. To do this, you are asked to visit two historical sites of your choice, relevant to the material in class, and to write about your experience. The Boston area offers many possibilities (Old North Church, Old State House, Bunker Hill, a variety of cemeteries, etc.), but you might want to venture further if you have the opportunity (Plymouth, Salem, etc.).
A particular recommendation is the new addition to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, devoted to Art in the Americas. This part of the Museum includes a variety of works related to the time period covered in HIS 101. The collection in the Art of the Americas wing of the MFA is so large that visiting the museum would be enough for the assignment (no second site is needed).
A good place to start looking for other ideas in Boston itself is the website for the Freedom Trail: www.thefreedomtrail.org. If you click on “Explore the Trail,” you will see a link to “Official Sites on the Trail.” This list will give you good examples of places you could visit. Other sites, of course, exist, but this can be a good place to start your search if you want ideas.
You are also encouraged to discuss possible sites with me. It is very important you have your sites approved by me before you start writing. Your essay should be 5 to 6 pages in length, and double-spaced.
Essays must be emailed. The deadline on your syllabus is the last day to turn them in without a penalty, but don’t wait for the last day. Essays will be graded in the order I receive them. Also, photos are encouraged (but they do not count towards the minimum pages of text).
The following rubric will be used to grade the essay:
1. Personalized [25 points]: It is essential for this assignment that your essay is personalized. The essay is not about the site itself, but about your visit to the site. Therefore, you should focus on your overall experience at the site. Discuss what you saw, felt, experienced, etc. You should devote the majority of what you write to this part of the assignment. Also, express yourself freely. If the weather had an impact on your visit, or a group of noisy kids distracted you, you can mention it in your essay.