The Urban Memory Project asks residents to examine their city’s trends, issues and historical factors that build the landscape they call home. Participants consider what constitutes the greater good for individuals and communities and what should be preserved and how.

By partnering with schools, community-based organizations, and arts and cultural centers, the project reaches a broad audience through high school and public programs as well as exhibitions.

In-School Programs | After-School Programs
Professional Development For Educators | Curricular and Research Materials


Common Core Learning for students 

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An Urban Memory Project in-school program examines the history, issues and changes facing local communities today. Courses develop students’ research skills, and result in students’ making the case for what they believe to be the greater good for their community. Students engage in rigorous investigation and analysis of primary and secondary source texts, census data, documentaries and new media, and participate in academic seminars; debates; field research; photography documentation; site visits; and meetings with guest lecturers. Students develop an informed perspective on the social, economic and political forces that have influenced the shape of their community and synthesize and present their findings into formal written, visual and oral presentations to the school and larger community.

Click here to learn more, and be sure to check out the class blog at UMP partner school Park Slope Collegiate for an inside look at student assignments, class work, and research projects! 


Youth engagement in art and community 

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UMP After-school programs bring together youth with professional photographers, urban planners, historical preservationists, journalists and others working to document or impact the greater good for the local community. Participants learn the history and current issues of their neighborhoods through exploration of historic images; interviews with long-time residents and professionals; site visits; and photography walks in the neighborhood. Programs provide opportunity for youth engagement in art-making and presentation processes linking them to the historical and artistic legacies of their neighborhoods, while developing and practicing documentation and presentation skills with the mentorship of professionals. All programs result in an exhibition of student work and public program. 


Common Core Practice for Educators

  • TEACHER WORKSHOPS : Urban Memory models strategies aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards’ emphasis on comprehending and analyzing non-fiction texts, using evidence to form arguments and presenting arguments through speaking and writing. Historic census data, photographs and maps are used alongside non-fiction texts for a well-rounded and engaging exploration of history that leaves teachers with a variety of strategies to apply in their classrooms.
  • COACHING : Urban Memory guides teachers in implementing civics, local history or community-based units of study, integrating the practices of the Common Core Standards speaking and listening skills; reading and writing non-fiction texts; and forming arguments with evidence. Teachers practice the principles of backwards design, develop field explorations, and implement various research and documentation strategies that engage students in rigorous study.

Click here to learn more.


Examining historic themes through local issues, places and primary sources

UMP creates study guides and curricular materials from historic archives located in museums and libraries that highlight an organization’s collection and connect it to best practices in education. Materials focus on examining large historic themes through local issues and places, emphasizing skills needed in primary source research, evaluating evidence and forming arguments. Materials are beautifully designed, coherent units of study, that provide cultural organizations opportunities for educational outreach, programming and publicity, and teachers with accessible historical research, inquiry-based strategies, and high quality historic resources that build students’ research and writing skills.