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 2018 courses meet on Saturdays Oct. 27, Nov. 3, 10, 17, Dec. 1 and 8. Students are expected to attend all six sessions and will receive a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the program.

Fall 2018 Courses include:

  • Bell Curves SAT Skills
  • Fighting for Health: Disease in American History
  • Peril and Power: Asian-American Immigrant History
  • Writing New York: The City’s Place in American Literature
  • Identity in Early America

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 Monday, October 8.


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 and other generous donors.

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.

Fall 2018 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 Oct. 27 and Nov. 17.

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 4th days of the program (Saturdays Oct. 27 and Nov. 17 from 12:45 – 5:00 p.m.), directly after their regular morning classes. Please save the dates and times!

Fighting for Health: Disease in American History

Instructor: Kelly Jones, Ph.D. in History, Stony Brook University
Open to students in grades 8–12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 am – 12:00 p.m.

Students will explore the history of disease from 19th-century epidemics of yellow fever and cholera to more recent health crises such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS to learn how everyday people, community advocates, and health professionals have combatted threats to the public’s health. Participants will visit the Museum’s exhibition Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis to explore the technologies used to fight disease in New York City, in addition to using posters and films from historic public health campaigns to learn how individuals have understood the experience of sickness. Through interdisciplinary investigations that will bring science and history together, students will stage classroom debates about public health concerns from the past and today.

Peril and Power: Asian-American Immigrant History

Instructor: Cindy Yuan Gao, Ph.D. Student in American Studies, New York 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 will explore pivotal moments in immigration policy and Asian-American activism around citizenship and identity. Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act, students will examine historical roots behind current mobilizations around family separation, immigrant detention, and deportation. Students will also learn about the different waves of Asian migration to New York City in the post-World War II era and will focus on labor conditions of Asian migrants, Asian-American political activism, intra-ethnic class conflict, and the relationship of Asian Americans to other racial groups in the city.

Writing New York: The City’s Place in American Literature

Instructor: Hannah Diamond, Ph.D. Student in History, Yale University, M.A. 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.

Students will explore the crucial role that New York City played in the development of American literature to discover how the city’s very streets have been muse to a diverse selection of historical and contemporary authors. The course will trace New York’s literary history beginning with the flourishing of the Harlem Renaissance, the transformation of Greenwich Village through the Beat Generation, and the Nuyorican Arts Movement to examine how writers have woven the city’s past, present, and future into their art. Throughout the course, students will bring their individual experiences of New York to life by writing poetry, fiction, and memoirs inspired by the historical works discussed to include in a portfolio of their own.

Identity in Early America

Instructor: Melissa Morales, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Fordham University
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.

From the moment of initial contact among Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans, cultural ideas of race and gender have played an important role in the development of the United States. Throughout the course, students will consider how the identities of diverse people influenced key events such as King Philip’s War between Native Americans and Europeans, the debate over slavery in the Declaration of Independence, and Abigail Adams’s early advocacy for women’s equality during the American Revolution. Students will have the opportunity to investigate one-of-a-kind artifacts in the Museum’s Port City: 1609-1898 exhibition in New York at Its Core, to understand how objects and images from hundreds of years ago can provide insight into questions regarding identity in early American history.

How to Apply

Applications open on Monday, September 10. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED ONLINE BY Monday, October 8, 2018.


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 Wednesday, October 17.

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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