"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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Teacher Institutes and Workshops

The VHS currently offers three teachers institutes. "The Story of Virginia, an American Experience" is a week-long program that is offered twice each summer. The dates and subject of the E. Claiborne Robins, Jr., Teachers Institute and Primarily Virginia, the VHS on-line institute, vary from year to year. All institutes are open to private and public school teachers of any grade level.  The VHS also offers teacher workshops using primary resources.

"The Story of Virginia, an American Experience"

Exceptionally well-planned, executed institute that provides a history teacher with superb tools, regardless of the subject he/she teaches. My enhanced knowledge of archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, and linguistics will definitely benefit me in my World History classroom.
Milondra Coleman, teacher

In cooperation with the University of Richmond and sponsored by Weinstein Properties, the VHS presents two week-long teachers institutes for Virginia teachers that will broaden and deepen their knowledge of Virginia history. The Story of Virginia Teachers Institutes provide an overview of the rich history of Virginia from earliest habitation to present. The classes align with the curriculum framework for Virginia Studies. Participants will work with VHS staff members as well as guest lecturers to engage in lively discussions of assigned readings and activities.


  • Virginia: The Land and its People
  • Colonization and Conflict
  • 1607 through the American Revolution
  • Political Growth and Western Expansion
  • 1781 to 1860
  • Civil War and Post-War Virginia
  • Virginia: 1900 to Present


  • June 29-July 3, 2015
  • July 20-24, 2015


For an application, please go to http://spcs.richmond.edu/degrees/education/teacher-institute/index.html.

If you have questions, please contact Bill Obrochta at wobrochta@vahistorical.org.

E. Claiborne Robins, Jr.,  Teachers Institute

I was very excited to participate—the week exceeded my expectations! I learned more in one week about Virginia than I have in twenty years of living here. This was better than any college course I have taken. It was a true gift. Thank you.
Marcia Hunt, teacher

The E. Claiborne Robins, Jr., Teachers Institute examines Virginia’s history through primary sources from the collections of the Virginia Historical Society.  This year’s institute, “Teaching Alternative Voices,” will be held on July 13-14, 2015. The program is designed to introduce teachers to the rich collections of the VHS and demonstrate how those materials can be used in the classroom. Participating teachers will explore changing perspectives of alternative voices—especially those of African Americans and women—in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Virginia while understanding these perspectives within the larger historical context. The institute will also show teachers how to use these resources as evidentiary elements for writing college-level essays for both dual enrollment classes and AP U.S. History classes.

The institute will meet at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond from 8:30 to 4:30 each day. The registration fee is $40. Lunch will be provided. Submit a registration form to the E. Claiborne Robins, Jr., Teachers Institute.

For more information, please contact wobrochta@vahistorical.org

Primarily Virginia: Emancipation and Reconstruction

This advanced course is a new opportunity for Primarily Virginia graduates to collaborate with other teachers from across Virginia on using the resources from the Virginia Historical Society and the Library of Congress to enrich student learning. We have had many requests for an online teachers institute that would focus on a more specific time period and event in Virginia and United States history. As a result, we have created Primarily Virginia: Emancipation and Reconstruction.

Beginning June 1, 2015, this online institute will follow a similar structure to the original Primarily Virginia format, but it will add input from accomplished scholars who are experts in the following topics:

  • Module 1:          Emancipation and Total War
  • Module 2:          The Fall of Richmond, Appomattox, and Beyond
  • Module 3:          Reconstruction: Contested Ideas and Constitutional Crisis
  • Module 4:          Freedpeople in the South: Balancing Economics, Politics, Land, and Labor
  • Module 5:          Social Impact of Reconstruction
  • Module 6:          Memory and Legacy

This course will also contain an optional Saturday onsite session on August 15 at the Virginia Historical Society, where participants will get to meet one another, see some of the primary sources used in the class, take a behind-the-scenes tour, and more.

Successful completion of the course will result in forty-five recertification points. The cost of the institute is $40.

For more information please contact Evan Liddiard at eliddiard@vahistorical.org.         

To register complete the following required materials:

  • $40 tuition
  • The Application/Registration Form
  • A personal statement of interest (500 words or less) explaining your reason for selecting this course and the way you hope to use it in your teaching.
  • A letter of recommendation from your principal, history/social studies department chair, social studies specialist, or community civic leader

Submit these additional application materials as soon as possible. Your application is not complete without submitting all required materials.

Teacher Workshops using primary resources

These programs are designed to strengthen research and analytical skills of middle and high school teachers. Teachers will learn firsthand how the historian is a detective who solves problems by discovering "clues" in letters, diaries, photographs, newspapers, and maps. They will also learn how to interpret primary source materials and how conservators and archivists catalog, conserve, and store manuscripts and artifacts.

Bill Obrochta

William B. Obrochta, Manager of Educational Services

Do you have a question about the educational resources we offer at the Virginia Historical Society. You may contact me at 804.342.9651 or wobrochta@vahistorical.org. I look forward to speaking with you.

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