July 24-26, 2018

Counting House Museum, South Berwick, Maine


The Old Berwick Historical Society invites middle school and high school teachers to apply to participate in the Forgotten Frontier Workshop, a three-day intensive training program exploring the founding history of the Seacoast region and the ways that diverse cultures navigated deep cultural divides.

Twenty teachers will join curators, archaeologists and historians in examining the turbulent century of the 1600s through the lives of diverse characters vying for control of the landscape and their destiny on the far reaches of settlement in northern New England. Encounters between divergent cultures who occupied this region—Native American, French and English—are the focus of our investigation. The workshop will introduce teachers to local primary resources and advanced methods for teaching early colonial history using artifacts and documents as research tools. Teachers will create lesson plans to be posted on the OBHS website and collaborate on the development of artifact kits for classroom use.

Workshop sessions will be held at the Counting House Museum in South Berwick, Maine, with field trips to four historic sites. The program runs 9:00-4:00 daily and lunch is provided.


Cultural conflict and accommodation provide a compelling entry point for studying early colonial history.  Historian Emerson “Tad” Baker will introduce rival cultures and the global context of their encounters in this region. Abenaki scholar Lisa Brooks will provide a Native perspective on the earliest wars with English settlers. Archaeologist Kathleen Wheeler and architectural historian Peter Michaud will address the local impact of settlement on development of the region.

Presentations by historians investigating English and Native perspectives of the early colonial period will be balanced with site visits to the Chadbourne archeological site and the c. 1664 Jackson House, as well as hands-on demonstrations about English domestic life and Native trade practices. The final day of the workshop will include training in methods for using primary sources to foster student-centered learning. Teachers will select documents and artifacts for classroom use and collaborate on drafting lesson plans in a concluding exercise. A half-day callback session for teachers in early November will evaluate lesson plans that have been field-tested in the classroom for upload to the OBHS website. 


A full schedule of workshop activities is below.

Host Institution:

One of the most successful and active historical societies in Maine, the Old Berwick Historical Society operates the Counting House Museum, which interprets rural life and maritime heritage in the tidewater region. OBHS has more than 25 years of experience presenting public lecture programs on historical topics and partnering with area schools in presenting an award-winning, town-wide walking tour for elementary grades, the Hike through History.  

The Forgotten Frontier workshop is part of a multi-year OBHS project to reinterpret life on the far reaches of settlement in New England’s first century, in anticipation of the 400th anniversary of New England’s founding in 2020. The workshop will engage teachers with objects and documents in the current exhibit, Forgotten Frontier: Untold Stories of the Piscataqua, as well as provide access to OBHS’s unique collection of artifacts excavated at the Chadbourne site, one of the most important and best-preserved archaeology sites in New England.  

Workshop Staff: 

Project Scholar: Dr. Emerson Baker is a professor of history and interim dean of the graduate school at Salem State University, where he teaches material culture in early America, museum studies, and research seminars in history. He is the author of several books, including A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience, The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft and Conflict in Early New England, and American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture and Cartography in the Land of Norumbega. Dr. Baker was the director of the Chadbourne Archaeology Project in South Berwick.

Workshop Supervisor: Nina Maurer is a museum consultant and curator of the exhibit Forgotten Frontier: Untold Stories of the Piscataqua. She was a McNeil Fellow in the Winterthur Program and holds a Master in American Material Culture degree from the University of Delaware.  As a regional director for Historic New England and as a curator at history museums in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine, Nina has worked in the interpretation of history collections for over thirty years. 

Workshop Coordinator: Wendy M. Bergeron is a high school social studies teacher at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire, where she teaches AP United States history, foundations of democracy, and women’s studies. Wendy has a Master in Museum Studies degree from Harvard University and was named a 2017 James Madison Fellow. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in American history and government from Ashland University.

Speakers and Presenters (subject to change):

• Dr. Lisa Brooks, associate professor of English and American studies at Amherst College, on King Philip’s War from the Wabanaki perspective

• Dr. Kathleen Wheeler, owner of Independent Archaeological Consulting, on the archaeological record of early Portsmouth

• Peter Michaud, National Register coordinator for the state of New Hampshire, on the architectural heritage of the Piscataqua region

• Ken Hamilton, Penobscot interpreter and cultural historian, on Wabanaki trade relations and material culture

• Kathleen Curtin, history teacher at Portsmouth Middle School and former historian at Plimoth Plantation, on English domestic life and foodways

Eligibilty: Full-time classroom teachers (grades 5-12) in private, public and charter schools are eligible to apply.

Stipend: All participants are eligible for a stipend of $400.  Participants will receive $300 following completion of the three-day workshop. The final payment of $100 will be issued in November when teachers present their lesson plans at a half-day callback session (date and time to be arranged).

Professional Development Certificate: Participants will receive a Professional Development Certificate for 20 hours of training upon submission of their lesson plans and completion of the November callback session.

Application, Deadline and Notification: The application form is here: Download the application file.  Forms should be submitted as email attachments sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on March 30, 2018. Applicants will be notified about workshop participation by April 1, 2018.

For questions and further information: Contact workshop coordinator Wendy Bergeron at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Program Sponsors:

The Forgotten Frontier Teacher Workshop is produced with generous support from the Davis Family Foundation, Maine Humanities Council, and New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, fostering place-based education and cultural engagement.



Forgotten Frontier Teacher Workshop Schedule

Counting House Museum, South Berwick

July 24-26, 2018

Day 1: A Sense of Place

9:00-9:30: Coffee, introductions, workshop overview 

9:30-10:30: The Other New England: Dr. Baker discusses early settlement of the Piscataqua and the century of cultural contest that ensued.

10:30-11:15: Meet Your Neighbors: Exhibit tour with curator Nina Maurer

11:15-12:00: A New World Imagined:  An exercise introducing the Piscataqua region in maps, materials and manuscripts

12:00-1:00: Lunch

1:00-1:15: Travel to Chadbourne Site in South Berwick

1:15-2:30: Site visit to Chadbourne Archaeology Site and Newichawannock homeland

2:30-2:45: Site visit to Goodwin House and Old Fields

2:45-3:00: Return to Counting House Museum

3:00-4:00: Group exercise in using primary source documents to understand the significance of place


Day 2: Life on the Northern Frontier

9:00-9:15: Coffee, review and questions

9:15-10:30: Indigenous life and trade relations with Ken Hamilton

10:30-10:45: Travel to Wentworth House (c. 1708) in Rollinsford

10:45-12:00: English domestic life and foodways with Kathleen Curtin

12:00-1:00: Hearth lunch at Wentworth House

1:00-1:30: Travel to Jackson House (c. 1664) in Portsmouth

1:30-3:00: A Heritage Written in Wood and Clay: Using architecture and artifacts as primary sources, with tours led by Dr. Kathleen Wheeler and Peter Michaud

3:00-4:00: Analysis of 17th century artifacts with Nina Maurer and Dr. Baker


Day 3: Conflict in the Piscataqua Region

9:00-9:15: Coffee, review and questions

9:15-10:30: Case Study in Conflict: The Salmon Falls Raid of 1690 with Dr. Baker

10:30-11:00: Teaching with primary sources presented by Dr. Baker and Wendy Bergeron

11:00-12:00: Work time with primary sources (captivity narratives, letters and treaties) 

12:00-12:30: Lunch

12:30-2:00: The Northern Front: Reframing English narratives of King Phillip’s War from a Wabanaki perspective, with Dr. Lisa Brooks

2:00-2:45: Developing a lesson plan, with Wendy Bergeron

2:45-3:30: Lesson planning work time

3:30-4:00: Questions, discussion and scheduling of fall callback session



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