Newseum in D.C. to create free 9/11 curriculum for teachers

Thousands looked for front pages with news of Osama bin Laden’s death at the Newseum in May 2011. (By Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
File: Thousands looked for front pages with news of Osama bin Laden’s death at the Newseum in May 2011. (By Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

In an effort to teach current and future generations of young people about what happened to the United States in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Newseum in Washington D.C. will create a new interactive online curriculum that will be available for free to teachers and students everywhere.

To create the new material, expected to be ready by September 2015, the Newseum will be receiving a $110,000 donation from For Action Initiative and the Families of September 11. This will mark the functional end of those organizations. The Web site of the For Action Initiative, which was created to provide educational materials about the history of terrorism, global security and related subjects, will remain online until the new curriculum is launched

Many of the hundreds of thousands of  people who annually visit the Newseum —  an interactive museum of news and journalism near the U.S. Capitol –  and walk through its 9/11 Gallery were not born in 2001 when the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon was hit by planes being flown by al-Qaeda terrorists directed by Osama bin Laden.

To help students understand what happened and why on that fateful day, the new curriculum will be designed in the same way as Newseum lessons on the five freedoms of the First Amendment –by immersing students in interactive exhibits and classroom lessons on media ethics, “choosing” the news and what constitutes student speech.

Newseum officials say there is increasing demand  for online curriculum. Two learning modules on civil rights and women’s suffrage have come online in the last six months on the Newseum’s Digital Classroom website.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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