Constructing History from Primary Sources

This curriculum project is designed to work with this website, and the exhibit From Paris to Providence: Fashion, Art, and the Tirocchi Dressmaker's Shop, 1915 - 1947 at the RISD Museum, although visiting the exhibit in person will not be required. Our main objective is to introduce students to the principles and joys of historical research.

Students will learn the methods that historians use to collect and process information. 514 BROADWAY is a secondary source presenting the stories implicit in the records, artifacts, and other materials discovered in the Tirocchi shop. The DATABASES offer access to the primary sources. The EXHIBITION showcases objects from the shop in an art historical context, and the ESSAYS offer supplemental scholarly resources.

The guide offers you suggestions, activities and lesson plans for bringing the material to life for your students, while guiding you on ways to use the web site. Developed for middle school Social Studies students, much of this curriculum can be adapted for teachers of other disciplines and age groups to meet Standards in English/Language Arts and Visual Arts as well.

This curriculum guide was developed by Laureen Cervone with assistance from Carole Villucci, Pam Parmal, Susan Hay and David Henry at the RISD Museum. Please direct feedback on the educational component of the Tirocchi Dressmakers Project to

The Curriculum Guide

Constructing history from primary sources
Educational Standards
The Curriculum Activity
Beginning the Unit
Exercise One:
     Italian Immigration to Providence, RI
Exercise Two:
     A Woman's Life During this Period
Exercise Three:
     Changes in the garment industry


Standards for Historical Thinking
National Arts Standards

The RISD Museum








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