Intrepid Museum Programs and Exhibitions
Rainbow Band
Purchase Tickets

NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers
The Cold War through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum
July 20–July 31, 2020

NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers: The Cold War through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum


Project Description/Schedule

The Cold War spanned more than four decades, beginning almost immediately on the heels of WWII. Opposing attitudes, ideologies and concerns played out on every front, from political to social, from economic to cultural, influencing decisions in political leadership, government investment and artistic expressions. From the introduction of the strategy of “containment” relating to geographic regions on earth to the race for space, this time in U.S. history illuminates the global forces that shaped the twentieth century: colonialism, imperialism, hegemony, modernization, Third World development, revolution, capitalism, communism, as well as human rights and social movements. The buildup of nuclear armaments and the idea of mutually ensured destruction engendered fear at every level of society. In the US, fear of Communism and its association with Soviet expansion led to the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee. These fears drove the development of ever more advanced technologies for spying between nations, outreach into space and for destruction. Arguably, the historic relations that evolved during this period are still evident in current international relations and political actions. The Cold War through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum will immerse participating teachers in scholarly historical research as well as the history, artifacts and oral histories in the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s collection that embody the Cold War era. Integrating content exploring the historical context of technological innovation, the Institute will serve a national group of 25 teachers in order to deepen their understanding and increase confidence in their ability to explore the subject thoroughly, critically and engagingly with their students. Open to all who fit the NEH eligibility criteria, this institute is most appropriate for middle and high school history, humanities, science and technology teachers.

Located in New York City, this two-week Institute makes use of two historic sites—the former U.S. aircraft carrier Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark, and the former U.S. submarine, Growler, a unique artifact that represents the technology and tensions of the Cold War. These historic sites, along with the oral histories of the men that served on these vessels, will provide a powerful starting point for examining the history and legacy of Cold War technology. Intrepid was one of the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers that served in several roles during different phases of the Cold War—as a floating airport realizing the Rolling Thunder initiative in the Vietnam War, as a recovery vessel as part of the space program and as a “submarine hunter” anti-submarine carrier deployed against the silent threat of missile-carrying Soviet vessels. The former USS Growler (SSG-577) submarine, in service from 1958 to 1964, was an early attempt to use submarines as covert missile platforms. Armed with Regulus I nuclear missiles, Growler patrolled near the east coast of the Soviet Union, with a crew of 95–100 men. Their mission: stand ready for the order to launch its missiles at the Soviet Union, an order that fortunately never came. In addition, the Museum’s collection includes a Project Oxcart A-12 spy plane equipped with cameras that could take an image from 80,000 feet, and, from the latter years of investment in a major Cold War-driven initiative—the race for space—the shuttle orbiter Enterprise. Just as important as these large artifacts and historic spaces are the primary source documents, ephemera and oral histories collected by the Museum from this era, connecting the larger history to specific, human stories.

The overarching goals for participants in the Institute are the following:

  • Increased knowledge of the intersections of historical forces and technological developments during the Cold War era
  • Increased skills in and knowledge of archival research
  • Increased usage of primary source documents, artifacts and ephemera in the classroom to promote historical thinking
  • Increased confidence in teaching relatively recent and controversial history with respect and accuracy

  • Institute Schedule and Readings

    Please see the downloadable drafts of the PDFInstitute agenda and PDFreading list. In order to foster a deeper exploration of the readings and model a useful teaching tool we will be utilizing the “literature circle” approach to our readings, and we will be supplying all books and articles.


The Institute:
Institute Dates:

Application Deadline:

The Cold War through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum
July 20-July 31 (2 weeks)
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York City  

March 1, 2020 (notification date: March 27, 2020)

Participating NEH-Funded Summer Scholars will have the Museum’s Michael Tyler Fisher Center for Education as their primary base for the duration of the Institute, with meetings off-site and in other areas of the Museum as appropriate. The Education Center is equipped with classrooms, a computer lab and meeting rooms. Audiovisual capabilities include drop-down screens, wall-mounted flat screens, built-in LCD projectors, blackout screens, Wi-Fi and PC/Mac inputs for presentations. Many of the historic spaces are not accessible for those with mobility challenges, however, the Education Center is fully wheelchair accessible. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided if requested, and assistive listening devices with hearing loops are also available as are tactile maps and other accommodations. Teachers will have ample opportunity to explore the Museum and experience firsthand how the Museum uses its collection and archival holdings to increase public understanding of the humanities.

Faculty and Project Directors

Lynda Kennedy, PhD

Lynda Kennedy, PhDInstitute co-director Lynda Kennedy, PhD,
has devoted her career to developing and implementing professional development experiences for teachers and pre-service courses in social studies. Her career has included researching, developing and implementing programs at history-oriented institutions such as
the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Gotham Center for New York City History.
Dr. Kennedy has extensive experience in implementing federally funded grant projects, including the successful NEH Summer Institute Recipe for America at the New York Public Library.


Sheri Levinsky-Raskin, MAT

Sheri Levinsky-Raskin, MATCo-director Sheri Levinsky-Raskin, MAT, has worked in the museum education field for over 20 years, the last 12 of which have been at the Intrepid Museum. She has experience in a variety of roles at other institutions, including the Stephen Decatur House Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and Worldways Children’s Museum. She is an active contributor to the museum field, serving as the chair for professional development on the Board of the American Alliance of Museum’s Education Professional Network; as a presenter at more than 15 national conferences; and as a guest lecturer in graduate courses at New York University and Johns Hopkins University and adjunct faculty at Seton Hall.

Gerrie Bay Hall

Gerrie Bay HallProject Manager Gerrie Bay Hall has been at the Intrepid Museum for just over 10 years and leads the School & Teacher Programs team. She also serves on the Editorial Review Panel for the Journal of Museum Education. Before coming to Intrepid, Gerrie designed and conducted school, family, and outreach programs as a freelance educator at some of the finest museums in the New York area including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library & Museum, the New-York Historical Society, the Transit Museum, the Brooklyn Historical Society, The Cooper-Hewitt, and the American Folk Art Museum. Gerrie holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from New York University and a B.A. in History and French from the University of Oregon.

Sarah Dziedzic, MA

Sarah Dziedzic, MASarah Dziedzic, MA, is the Oral Historian at Storm King Art Center, and consults on many projects exploring topics in twentieth century American history. Formerly, she managed two large-scale projects at the Columbia University Center for Oral History Research, and has contributed to such publications as Oral History Review, Public Historian, and Brooklyn Rail. She is also a co-founding editor of In Context Journal, a collaborative online publication for oral historical work.

Scott Sagan, PhD

Scott Sagan, PhDScott Sagan, PhD, is the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, the Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. He also serves as project chair for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Initiative on New Dilemmas in Ethics, Technology and War.

Svetlana Savranskaya, PhD

Svetlana Savranskaya, PhD, is Director of Russia Programs at George Washington University’s National Security Archive, where she directs its and edits the Russian and East Bloc Archival Documents Database. She is the author of The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November (Cold War International History Project),co-authored with Sergo Mikoyan.



Spencer R. Weart, PhD

Spencer R. Weart, PhDSpencer R. Weart, PhD, was the director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics from 1971 until his retirement in 2009. Originally trained as a physicist, he is now a historian of science.

Alex Wellerstein, PhD

Alex Wellerstein, PhDAlex Wellerstein, PhD, is a historian of science who specializes in the history of nuclear weapons and nuclear secrecy. He is an assistant professor of science and technology studies at the College of Arts and Letters at the Stevens Institute of Technology and co-curator of the upcoming exhibition Cold War: Stories from the Deep at the Intrepid Museum.


Eric Boehm

Eric BoehmEric Boehm is the curator of aviation and aircraft restoration at the Intrepid Museum. He oversees acquisitions, care and restoration of the Museum’s unique aircraft collection.


Jessica Williams, MS

Jessica Williams, MSJessica Williams, MS, is the curator of history and collections at the Intrepid Museum and co-curator of the exhibition Cold War: Stories from the Deep. She has extensive knowledge on the objects from the Museum’s collection and outside collections that will be used in the exhibition.


Master Teachers

Nick Lawrence

Nick Lawrence, assistant principal of East Bronx Academy for the Future, was formally the head of the school’s Social Studies Department for grades 6–12, and is active in the National Council for the Social Studies.

Ellen Bales, PhD

Ellen Bales, PhDEllen Bales, PhD, holds a doctorate in the history of science from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a postdoctoral research fellow and thesis advisor at Harvard and has been teaching high school history since 2011.



Before applying, please review the eligibility criteria from the NEH. PDF


How to Apply

NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes allow K-12 teachers an opportunity to enrich and revitalize their teaching through the study of humanities topics that bear upon K-12 education. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the program, but the programs are not intended to duplicate graduate-level courses.

Each seminar provides an intimate and focused environment in which sixteen participants (NEH Summer Scholars) study a specific humanities topic under the guidance of one or two established scholars. Seminars have few, if any, visiting faculty. They emphasize sustained interaction among the participants and director(s) through discussion of common readings, conversations about teaching, and advising on independent projects.

Each institute allows twenty-five to thirty-six participants (NEH Summer Scholars) to pursue an intensive program of study under a team of scholarly experts, who present a range of perspectives on a humanities topic. Participants and scholars mutually explore connections between scholarship and teaching of the topic.

In any given year, an individual may apply to two Seminars or Institutes, but may attend only one.


A selection committee is comprised of the project director and two or more colleagues, at least one of whom is a K-12 teacher. They evaluate all complete applications to select a group of NEH Summer Scholars and identify alternates.

Application essays should explain how the specific program will benefit the participant professionally.
They should, therefore, address the following:

  • 1. Your effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
    2. your intellectual interests as they relate to the topic of the seminar or institute;
    3. your special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the program; and
    4. evidence that participation will have a long-term impact on your teaching.
Open to all who fit the NEH eligibility criteria, The Cold War Through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum is most appropriate for middle and high school history, humanities, science and technology teachers.

Three seminar spaces and five institute spaces may be reserved for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or less). First consideration is given to those who have not previously attended an NEH Seminar or Institute.
When choices must be made between equally qualified candidates, preference is given to those who would enhance the diversity of the program.

To help offset costs, the stipend for the two week institute is $2,100. Half will be paid at the beginning of the Institute and ½ at the end. The full amount of Institute hours must be completed in order to receive the full stipend. Stipends are taxable as income.

Seminar and institute participants must attend all meetings and engage fully as professionals in the work of the project. During the project, participants may not undertake teaching assignments or professional activities unrelated to their participation in the project. Those who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project will receive a reduced stipend.

Housing: Participants will arrange their own housing in line with their personal preferences. Please be aware that hotels in the immediate area can run $250 per night. More details and housing suggestions will be sent to accepted participants. Participants will be issued a metro card for use on New York City MTA subways and buses for the duration of the Institute.

Prior to applying to a specific seminar or institute, please study the project website and carefully consider the project’s requirements. A complete application consists of the following items:

1. A Résumé and References

Please include a résumé or curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages). Include the name, title, phone number, and e-mail address of two professional references.

2. The Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double spaced pages. It should address your interest in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip you to do the work of the seminar or institute and to make a contribution to the learning community; a statement of what you want to accomplish by participating; and, if appropriate, description of an independent project and its relation to the topic of the program and your professional responsibilities.


Applications must be submitted to the project director, not the NEH, no later than March 1, 2020. Applications sent to the NEH will not be reviewed.

Send your application to: Lynda Kennedy, VP Education & Evaluation via our online submission form: ⬇application form

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Friday , March 27, 2020. They will have until Friday, April 3 to accept or decline the offer.

Note: Once you have accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar or Institute), you may not accept an additional offer or withdraw in order to accept a different offer.


Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. TDD: 202/606 8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).


National Endowment for the Humanities

The Cold War through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum Institute has been made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.