The Massachusetts Chronicles – a living legacy for Plymouth 400
The Massachusetts Chronicles represents a new way of looking at more than 400 years of state history. At the heart of the project is a book that has been specially written in partnership with Plymouth 400 and a range of prestigious partners, including Plymouth Public Schools, Bridgewater State University, The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, The Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead, The Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe, The Nipmuc Nation, Plimoth Plantation, Pilgrim Hall Museum, The Commonwealth Museum, The John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, and The Freedom Trail.
The book features more than 60 stories, written in the style of a newspaper, that begin before the Pilgrims began to settle on these shores more than 400 years ago. The stories follow the highs and lows of people living in what is now Massachusetts, providing a uniquely rich and highly accessible way to appreciate the diversity of state history.
The book also includes a 100-moment timeline divided into six themes: Commerce, Conflict, Culture, Politics, Science, and Sport.
The book has been written by Linda Coombs, a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe, and Mark Skipworth, journalist and former editor of the Daily Telegraph in London. It is the third state history book in a series of Chronicles published by What on Earth Publishing, a specialist in children’s non-fiction books.
An Educational Legacy
The Massachusetts Chronicles is accompanied by a comprehensive Educator’s Guide that features more than 60 activities designed around the book that can be used by educators in upper Elementary and Middle school grades. The guide, mapped to state standards across a range of subjects including social studies, has been written by a team of professional educators under the co-ordination of Rob Powers, social studies lead for Plymouth Public Schools. Click here for more details.
Bridgewater State University
As one of the nation’s top teacher-training colleges, Bridgewater State University is providing a range of initiatives to support the roll-out of the Massachusetts Chronicles throughout the state’s K-12 system. This includes the donation of a class set (32-copies) for every school in Massachusetts, as well as a giant laminated 12 ft long wallchart edition of the timeline that is featured in the book. These resources, plus a printed Educators Guide, will be distributed in the Fall of 2020 as part of the Plymouth 400 commemorations. Taken together these resources represent a donation to the state worth more than $1 million, and has been made possible thanks to the generosity of philanthropists Bruce and Patricia Bartlett. Teachers will also be able to earn professional development points through the Massachusetts Chronicles Microcredential which is currently being developed by Bridgewater’s Faculty of Education and will be available from September 2020. A special website containing additional information and resources for educators and students has been created to support this initiative. Click here to view the website.
Plymouth Public Schools
A long-time partner of Plymouth 400, Inc., the Plymouth Public School district is one of the first school systems in the country and one of the largest in the state of Massachusetts. Veteran educator Dr. Gary Maestas has served as its superintendent since 2008 and is set to retire at the end of 2020. Loved by students, teachers and parents alike, “Gary” has been instrumental in both leading his schools for the past 12 years and, as a member of the Plymouth 400 Board of Directors, helping ensure that the 400th anniversary emphasizes education and the direct involvement of youth. Maestas and his staff have worked closely with the Massachusetts Chronicles team from the book’s inception to vet content, develop teaching materials and shape the overall mission of the publication.
The Massachusetts Chronicles timeline features a series of QR codes that denote different centuries. Point any smartphone or tablet camera at these codes, and you will be transported to a playlist of videos that tell moments of state history through the eyes of today’s students. Pupils can contribute to this living legacy by filming and uploading their own videos. Full instructions are available for educators and students in the Educator’s Guide and online.
- About Plymouth 400 and all media inquiries: Brian Logan
- About the Massachusetts Chronicles book: What on Earth Books
- About Bridgewater State University:
- About Educator’s resources: Rob Powers
- About purchasing more copies/class sets and giant wallchart timelines: What on Earth Books