Photographs are considered to be primary and valuable sources of information, actual records which have survived from the past. They provide evidence of a particular culture and its changes over time. The Brown Company Photographic Collection documents the history of the Brown Company paper mill of Berlin, NH from the late 19th century through the mid- 1960s. These photographs offer an open window into the past, giving observers a rich source of information about the social, cultural, and recreational lives of the workers, their families, and the place of these people in the life of the city of Berlin. They provide an opportunity for the viewer to step back into time and search for the story within each frame.
The following activities have been designed to teach students how to critically look at the visual images: to notice details, personally respond, ask questions and reflect about the meanings, to discover for themselves the unique culture and history of the “City that Trees Built.” Students will explore the connection between a region’s natural resources, its economic dependence on it, and how that dependence changes over time. Students will be invited to look beyond the constraints of present time, to seek out the vital human connections that link us to our past. The activities, essential questions, and resources have been designed to be interdisciplinary and accommodate a range of abilities and interests.