Saturday Academy, a partnership of the FAO Schwarz Children’s Center and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, for students in grades 8–12.

About Saturday Academy

Saturday Academy is a free six-session program for students interested in American History or SAT preparation. There’s no homework and all course materials are provided.

Saturday Academy was the recipient of the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House and was featured in New York Magazine’s “Best of New York 2011” issue, which you can read about here.

Fall 2014 courses meet on Saturdays, October 25, November 1, 8, 15, 22, and December 6. Students are expected to attend all six sessions and will receive a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the program. Students may enroll in one or two courses. Please look carefully at the times each course is offered, indicated below.

The presentation of Saturday Academy at the City Museum is made possible through the generous support of the Charina Endowment Fund.


Fall 2014 Course Offerings

Bell Curves SAT Skills

Instructors: Bell Curves Educators
Open to students in grades 10–12
9:00 am–10:20 am or 10:30 am–12:00 pm

The Bell Curves SAT Skills course is designed to help students succeed on the SAT exam. The course will improve students’ understanding of the skills tested by the SAT and then teach them strategies for applying those skills in efficient ways. With the help of expert and supportive instructors, students will learn how to pace themselves and will become more familiar with the test format and question types. After taking two mandatory practice tests, students will leave the classroom prepared and excited for the big exam.

Students in the SAT class will be required to take two free practice SAT exams on the 1st and 5th days of the program, (Saturdays October 25 and November 22) from 12:45–5:00 pm, directly after their regular morning classes. Please save the date and time!

Photography in America: Modern History through the Lens

Instructor: Mariel Isaacson, Ph.D. in American History, CUNY Graduate Center
Open to students in grades 8–12
9:00–10:20 am or 10:30 am–12:00 pm

Students will investigate how photography has shaped our responses to historical events and continues to influence the way we view the world. Topics will include: photography and memory in the Civil War; turn-of-the-century reform photography exposing urban conditions; documentary photography during the Great Depression; the “straight” style and photojournalism of the postwar era; and the rise of digital photography in the age of globalization and the internet. The course will end with an exploration of the Museum’s Assembled Realities: Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao's New York exhibition of “hyper-real” photographs of iconic sites that both push the boundaries of traditional photography yet capture the quintessential aspects of city life.

Dating and Marriage in American History

Instructor: Maeve Montalvo, M.A. in Leadership in Museum Education, Bank Street College of Education, B.A. in American Studies, Smith College
Open to students in grades 9–12
9:00–10:20 am or 10:30 am–12:00 pm

Changes in courtship and marriage provide a window into American culture and political history. In the 19th century, young people moved from farms to cities during the Industrial Revolution and in 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton authored the “radical” Declaration of Sentiments. And, more recently, the US Supreme Court recognized the legality of inter-racial and same-sex marriages. Students will examine post World War II representations of dating and marriage in Mac Conner: A New York Life, as well as advertisements, letters, photographs and other primary documents.

Becoming American Indian: Activism and Self-Determination, and the Making of an American Identity

Instructor: Hayley Negrin, Ph.D. Candidate in History, New York University
Open to students in grades 8–12
12:15-1:45 pm

Before the arrival of Europeans, the American continent was home to a diverse range of indigenous groups for thousands of years. Following their arrival, Indian tribes resisted domination and sought ways to maintain their territories and freedom. Students will learn about the New England-based Wampanoags, who sought to appeal to King James in the 1620s, about the Cherokees’ anti-removal protests in the 1830s that asserted their own claims of civilization, and finally, about the pan-Indian Red Power Movement in the 1960s. The course will examine key historical moments of American Indian resistance, activism, and self-determination.

How to Apply

All applications must be received online by Friday, October 3, 2014.


Enrollment is first-come, first-served. Priority seating in all classes will be given to students who live and/or attend schools in East and Central Harlem (zip codes: 10026, 10027, 10029, 10030, 10035, 10037, and 10039). Please apply early—space is limited! Accepted candidates will be notified by email, mail, or telephone by Tuesday, October 17th.

Should you experience any trouble applying online, please contact or call 917.492.3387 to request that an application be mailed to your home address for you to fill out and return to the Museum of the City of New York.