African American history is a required component of the New York State social studies curriculum. Even with multiple archives of rich public resources available to them from the New York Public Library, however, teachers at all levels often need additional support in accessing, introducing and contextualizing this content in order to bring to life defining themes like community building, slavery resistance and the African American cultural contribution to New York City’s development.
MAAP is an award-winning public website and geographic learning environment created to enhance the appreciation and study of significant sites and moments in the history of African Americans in New York from the early 17th-century to the recent past. It enables students, teachers, and visitors to browse a multitude of locations in New York and read encyclopedic profiles of historical people and events associated with these locations. The site is enhanced by selected film and music clips; photographs, documents, and archival maps from Columbia University and New York Public Libraries; as well as commentary from Columbia faculty and other experts. Model lessons offer educators across New York State strategies for incorporating the project’s material into various curricula. MAAP also includes podcasts and a mobile version of the site. MAAP was the recipient of the 2009 Award for Innovative Use of Archives from the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York (ART). The award recognizes the use of archival material in a meaningful and creative way, making a significant contribution to a community or body of people, and demonstrating the relevance of archival materials to its subjects.