Photograph of Saturday Academy students designing parks in Museum classroom.

Saturday Academy

Saturday Academy, a partnership of the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, for students in grades 8–12.

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

Fall 2019 courses meet on Saturdays November 2, 9, 16, 23, December 7 & 14. Students are expected to attend all six sessions and will receive a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the program.

Fall 2019 Courses include:

  • Bell Curves SAT Skills
  • LGBTQ+ America
  • Revolutionary New York 
  • The City in Focus: Photography and Urban History
  • Native Lives: Our History, Our Stories

Students may enroll in one or two American History electives. Students who apply for SAT Prep must also register for an American History elective. Please see the course descriptions, class times, and information about the instructors below, and apply by Friday, October 18..

Applications for Fall 2019 open on September 9, 2019. Read the full course descriptions below.


About Saturday Academy

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

The Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center is endowed by grants from The Thompson Family Foundation Fund, the F.A.O. Schwarz Family Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Endowment, and other generous donors.

Fall 2019 Course Offerings

Bell Curves SAT Skills

Instructors: Bell Curves Educators
Open to students in grades 10–12. Offered 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Please see note below about the two required practice exams on November 2 and December 7.

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 November 2 and December 7 from 12:30 – 5:00 p.m.), directly after their regular morning classes. Please save the dates and times!

LGBTQ+ America

Instructor: Sam Ginsberg, M.A. in Public History, St. John’s University
Open to students in grades 8–12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 am – 12:00 p.m.

In this course, students will expand their knowledge and understanding of American history by exploring the lives of LGBTQ+ Americans and their continuous presence in U.S. history. Students will discover how gender expression and identity have shifted over time through such figures as Revolutionary War soldier Deborah Sampson and Harlem Renaissance dancer Mabel Hampton. They will learn about those who used their identities as tools for social change, including civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and Stonewall Uprising leaders Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Participants will have the opportunity to study primary source documents and investigate artifacts throughout the Museum’s exhibitions, including New York at Its Core, Activist New York, and PRIDE: Photographs of Stonewall and Beyond by Fred W. McDarrah.

Revolutionary New York

Instructor: Melissa Morales, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Fordham University
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This class will seek to answer the question: How can the lived experiences of New Yorkers help us to better understand the Revolutionary Era? New York City served as both British headquarters during the Revolutionary War and as the first capital of the United States after the evacuation of the British from the city. Often overlooked in historical accounts of the Revolutionary period, New York City offers important stories about the complexities of war, loyalty, and alliances. This course will explore key terms that have come to define the battle lines of the Revolutionary War - such as patriot, loyalist, American, British, and revolution -through the lives of New Yorkers, and will include artifacts and stories from the exhibition Port City: 1609-1898.

The City in Focus: Photography and Urban History

Instructor: Max Campbell, M.A. Candidate in American Studies, Columbia University
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This course explores the ways photography has both documented and affected the direction of change in American cities in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Students will develop an understanding of the history of photography while exploring the Museum’s photography collections and looking at the visual methods artists, city officials, and activists used to propel and resist a changing landscape. The course will begin with discussions of Progressive Era politics and the photographs of Jacob Riis, and continue to explore photography of urban division and renewal in the 20th century, paired with visits to the exhibitions Activist New York, New York at its Core, and PRIDE: Photographs of Stonewall and Beyond by Fred W. McDarrah to provide historical context. The course will culminate with a look at the work of contemporary urban photographers, connecting them to their historical precedents.

Native Lives: Our History, Our Stories

Instructor: Sara Sinclair, M.A. in Oral History, Columbia University
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.

In this course, students will investigate the connections between Native American history and contemporary Native life. Utilizing historical sources, students will learn about the living legacy of the loss of Indian lands and life as a result of colonial settlement, war, and treaties. Through contemporary oral histories and the exhibition Urban Indian: Native New York Now, students will explore how these legacies affect Indigenous people’s efforts to protect and celebrate their cultures today. The course will connect the long history of assimilation policies – including mandatory attendance at Indian boarding schools, urban encroachment on traditional territories, and historical treaty violations – to recent events such as the movement at Standing Rock. Students will learn how to analyze the intergenerational links between narratives and learn basic historical interviewing techniques that are used to collect and preserve shared histories.

How to Apply

Applications open on September 9. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED ONLINE BY Friday, October 18, 2019.


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 Friday, October 25.

Should you experience any trouble applying online, you may call 917.492.3387 or email

To receive information about the program and other opportunities, please sign up for our mailing list and check the Saturday Academy box at the bottom of the form.

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