Visit us At 5th and Market Streets on Independence Mall



Museums and schools are natural partners as they combine the classroom experience with the world of real objects. The major link between schools and our Museum is you – the classroom teacher. We invite you to learn about our programs, workshops, and special events. Together we can expose your students to the “magic” of the Museum and engage them in the experience that has potential of becoming pivotal in a child’s lifelong learning.

We offer professional development for teachers that focuses on learning methods and enrichment activities which support and enhance school curricula. Meet, brainstorm, and work collaboratively with fellow educators! 


In addition to high-quality tours and on-site experiences, NMAJH develops lesson plans to be used in the classroom. We welcome you to download these lesson plans and use them however will best support your curriculum.

For questions, advice on how to adapt these lessons for your specific needs, and updates on when new lessons will be added, please contact Charlie Hersh at or (215) 923-3811 x272. We love hearing feedback about teachers’ experiences. If you have downloaded these lessons and used them in our classroom, please let us know!

Becoming American: Introductory Lessons

These three lesson plans support our signature program, Becoming American: History of Immigration, 1880s-1940s. The lessons cover topics including comparing different waves of immigration, public reactions from non-immigrants, push and pull factors affecting immigration at the turn of the 20th century, and the immigration process. Consider using these lessons as an introduction to our Traveling Suitcase!

Becoming American Lesson Plans (Grades 5-8)
Becoming American Powerpoints 
Becoming American Primary sources
Becoming American Secondary sources
Becoming American Worksheets

Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American

These lessons, inspired by our past exhibition Chasing Dreams, focus on the central role our national pastime has played in the lives of American minority communities as they sought to understand and express the ideals, culture, and behaviors of their homeland—or challenge them.

Unit 1: The Home Team: Baseball, Teamwork and Community (Grades K-3)
Unit 2: The Four Sides of a Basball Diamond: Identity, Diversity, Integration, and Community (Grades 4-7)
Unit 3: Breaking Barriers: Baseball, Civil Rights, and Social Change (Grades 8-12)

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music is the first large-scale museum exhibition to illustrate Leonard Bernstein’s life, Jewish identity, and social activism. These lesson plans, inspired by the exhibition, explore the power of music and how it can be used to create change, explore one’s identity, and more. Click here to see where this exhibit is traveling.

Leonard Bernstein Lesson Plans (Grades 6-12)

OpenBook: Discovering American Jewish History Through Objects

Drawing from the tradition of havruta, or partnership learning, OpenBook invites students to approach the study of American history in unexpected ways and connect what they learn to their own ideas, experiences, and passions. This open-ended process of discussion and discovery empowers students to see themselves in the larger story of American Jewish life and inspire a sense of pride and connection to their heritage.

Access all OpenBook lessons here.

The Power of Protest: The Movement to Free Soviet Jews

These lesson plans celebrate this movement, considered the most successful human rights campaign in recent history, and the power that individuals – and especially students – have to change the world. They also include activities for visiting the traveling exhibition about this movement. See where this panel exhibit is traveling and find out about bringing it to your community.

The Power of Protest: “I Am My Brother’s Keeper” (Grades 5-8)
The Power of Protest: “The Time Has Come” (Grades 9-12)

To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington and Religious Freedom

In 1790, a congregation in Newport, Rhode Island wrote a letter to America’s first president, asking for religious freedom. Washington replied, declaring that the government would “give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” Explore these letters in depth, featuring annotations from the Museum’s Chief Historian, Jonathan Sarna.

Access the interactive letters here.

Family Stories

Every family has a special story. This collection of games and activities helps students to learn about their own family background.

Access the activity booklet here. (Grades K-5)


Annual National Educators Institute

We invite Jewish educators from communities across the United States to join us at this innovative professional development program designed to train day school and congregational school teachers (grades 5-12) in teaching American Jewish history by promoting historical thinking, empathy, and self-identification. The Institute provides a unique opportunity to engage with the Museum’s collections, learn from the experts in the fields of American Jewish history and education, and collaborate with Museum staff and fellow teachers sharing knowledge and best practices.

Click here for more information.

If you would like more information or if you are interested in applying, please contact us at or call Lauren Gross at 215-923-3811 x 321.

Support for NEI is provided by a grant from the Covenant Foundation and leadership gifts from Lasko Family Foundation and an anonymous national foundation. Additional support provided by the Solomon and Sylvia Bronstein Foundation, Michele and Jeffrey Brotman, Robin and Bradford Klatt, The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and Norma z”l and Abe z”l Shanzer.


If you would like to schedule one of these workshops for you or your schools, please contact us at or call Rachel Urkowitz at 215-923-3811 x 153.

We are also happy to offer special Museum membership for teachers. Please contact the Membership Office at 215-923-3811 x106 or


Teachers will explore our “Coming to America” module that supports and enhances middle years social studies and language arts curriculum. “Coming to America” immerses students in the life of the American immigrant at the turn of the 20th Century, using selected exhibits and historical artifacts which trace the journey of a real immigrant child. Through hands-on interactivity, the unit offers studying information, exploring artifacts, engaging in interactive activities, investigating primary source materials and sharing stories with Museum educators and each other. Coming to America addresses content beyond history and has direct connects to the areas of literacy and math.


Teachers will learn inquiry and application strategies to effectively use primary documents with students as they uncover and interpret information about a person or event. They will become acquainted with current educational programs offered by NMAJH and learn about resources for teachers in Philadelphia’s cultural institutions.


This workshop introduces the Museum’s Cross Curricular Module Unique Promise and Imperfect Freedom. This unit explores stories of the American Jews as they fought discrimination and won victories in the name of tolerance and acceptance from the Colonial period through present day. It helps to engage students with America’s enduring legacies and ongoing struggles with religious, ethnic, and racial freedom.


Introduction and discussion of the ways NMAJH may enhance school curricula that focus on Jewish Identity, Jewish Values, the Hebrew Language and Jewish Living and encourage students to make personal connections to American and Jewish History.

Triumph & Tragedy in History

NMAJH is proud to be a part of National History Day. For the 2018-2019 school year, National History Day invites students to research topics related to the theme of Triumph and Tragedy in History.

Click here to learn about how the National Museum of American Jewish History can support your students' National History Day projects.

For more information on NMAJH's participation in National History Day, or for related research inquiries, please contact Charlie Hersh at or 215-923-3811 x 272.

The following resources offer more information about American Jewish history to assist you with your pre-visit and post-visit activities, as well as general lesson planning:

 American Jewish History:
 The Institute for Curriculum Services: National Resource Center for Accurate Jewish Content in Schools

 Ellis Island Immigration Museum
 Bright Hub Education. Coming to America: A Fifth Grade Unit on Immigration

 Emma Lazarus:
 Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles: Exhibition and Resource. Museum of Jewish Heritage (NYC)
 Interactive version of Emma Lazarus' “The New Colossus,”

USC Shoah Foundation's iWitness