Introducing the Tirocchis

The teacher gives a brief introduction to the project materials … the site, the ‘characters’, the process of discovering and cataloguing the house contents. This can be done by a group viewing of the Tirocchi site online, sampling a number of areas. Students are then given time to explore the site in pairs or small groups and become comfortable with the contents.

Materials Required: Materials are of a general reference nature, and should be available in the school, home and community of students. Depending on the projects chosen, students will require a variety of arts and crafts materials to work with. These are widely adaptable to what is on hand or easily available. Access to a computer and the internet are vital for adequate research, as well as for accessing the Tirocchi site as needed.

Critical Viewing: The exhibit materials reflect the daily lives of both workers and customers. Look for physical differences in the environments of the workers and customers, things that may have made them feel at home or comfortable, or helped them during the day. Oral histories provide primary sources of information for study, and students should be alert for how time and perception may have altered the recollections and experiences of different people. Notice how cultural mores may have affected the workplace.

Once the students are comfortable with the materials, questions for research should be generated.

Sample Questions

  • Why did Italians immigrate to Providence during this period?

  • What was a woman’s life like in Providence during this period?

  • What changes occurred in the garment industry during this period?

Ideally, students will be given the option of choosing an area and a question that interests them for further exploration. Guided activities for each area are presented as suggestions.


Using their individual questions, students will begin the research process. All will be required to draw on a minimum number of both primary and secondary sources, although these will vary according to the needs of each unique project. At a minimum, all students should be using:

  • The Tirocchi collection and databases

  • Oral interviews

  • The school and public library for both fiction and non-fiction sources

  • The internet

  • Textbooks

  • Historical societies

Connection to the history standards:

This activity draws upon all five standards of historical thinking, and will allow students to develop and demonstrate competency in each. For a complete description of student outcomes, along with excellent examples of what achievement looks like at specific grade levels, refer to the complete National History Standards.

  1. Chronological Thinking

  2. Historical Comprehension

  3. Historical Analysis and Interpretation

  4. Historical Research Capabilities

  5. Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision-Making


Students will be required to organize their research findings into an individual presentation format. This could include any number of items, including a research paper, an artistic creation, a journal or collection of letters, a videotape, or dramatic presentation.

Connection to the arts standards:

Students may select a presentation method of their choosing, allowing them to demonstrate competency in or across a number of arts areas. For specific examples of both outcomes and achievement standards, refer to the complete set of arts standards included with this document.

Group Activity

Students should be organized into natural groups according to their research questions. The group will be required to create a presentation that synthesizes the results of the individual project. Again, the final project could take a number of formats.

The Curriculum Guide
  Constructing History
  Educational Standards
  The Curriculum Activity
  Beginning the Unit
  Exercise One
  Exercise Two
  Exercise Three

  History Standards
Arts Standards


Students should begin their exploration of the Tirocchi site with 514 BROADWAY, and move on to the Databases, and Exhibition. Advanced students will also be interested in the Catalogue Essays.