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.

Spring 2018 courses meet on March 17, 24, April 7, 14, 21 and 28. Students are expected to attend all six sessions and will receive a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the program.

Spring 2018 Courses include:

  • Bell Curves SAT Skills
  • Women and American Politics: Beyond the Vote
  • Caring for New York: Healthcare & Activism in the 20th Century
  • Art in the Open: The History of Public Art in American Cities
  • East Harlem in Context: Place, Memory, and Community History

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, February 23.


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.

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.

Spring 2018 Course Offerings

Bell Curves SAT Skills

Instructors: Bell Curves Educators
Open to students in grades 10–12; 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 March 17 and April 21.

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, March 7 and April 21 from 12:45 – 5:00 p.m.), directly after their regular morning classes. Please save the dates and times!

Women and American Politics: Beyond the Vote

Instructor: Hannah Diamond, Ph.D. Student in American 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.

From the fight to end slavery through the battle for women’s voting rights to the Women’s March of January 2017, women have always been crucial actors in our nation’s politics. Exploring two centuries of women’s political activism, this course will use the Museum’s exhibition Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics as a jumping-off point to discuss the roles women played in key political battles. Students will examine posters, photographs, and flyers, to explore issues such as: labor rights, maternity leave and healthcare issues, family planning, civil rights, and the Equal Rights Amendment. They will consider how the struggle for women’s rights has evolved to include diverse voices and address contemporary challenges.

Caring for New York: Healthcare & Activism in the 20th Century

Instructor: Salonee Bhaman, Ph.D. Student in History, Yale University
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Generations of activists and policymakers in New York have addressed the question of how to best care for the city’s residents, working to imagine, define, and create a healthy city. This course will explore the history of healthcare activism throughout the 20th century by focusing on pivotal moments of local and national debate and change in healthcare policy, including the Settlement House movement of the Progressive era, the reproductive justice movement, the politics of public hospital financing during the 1975 fiscal crisis, and the work of radical activist groups such as the Black Panthers, the Young Lords Party, and ACT UP! Students will engage with the Museum's Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics and Activist New York exhibitions, where they will discuss the connections between health and issues such as housing, accessibility, and voting rights.

Art in the Open: The History of Public Art in American Cities

Instructor: Lehna Huie, Multi-disciplinary Artist and Arts Educator at Groundswell
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Drawing from the Museum’s exhibition Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York, students will explore how public art has influenced the urban environment and culture of New York City from the 1960's to today. Students will explore the wide range of media and methods that artists have used to reach people and promote community engagement, including site-specific sculptures, murals, mosaics, performance art, and digital media installations. Students will also reflect on contemporary artworks such as the Chinatown Art Brigade's protest art, addressing themes of displacement and community resilience, and Simone Leigh's Free People's Clinic, focusing on public health and access. The course will culminate with students creating dynamic zines and poster designs inspired by historical examples drawn from the exhibition, neighborhood explorations, or discussed in the course.

East Harlem in Context: Place, Memory, and Community History

Instructor: Benjamin Serby, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Columbia University
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.

East Harlem – or El Barrio – has seen many of New York's most important political, social, and cultural transformations, including the development of the settlement house movement, the creation of mass public housing, the rise of salsa music, and the spread of urban community gardens. In this course, students will speak with local residents, view the Museum’s exhibition New York at Its Core, and visit some of the area's most fascinating landmarks in order to uncover the traces of this history in buildings, public spaces, artifacts, and personal recollections. Together, they will use the tools of oral history, photomapping, and digital archives to research and document this area's rich and vibrant past, thinking critically about how historical narratives are made and how they can be challenged, and creating their own community histories of East Harlem.

How to Apply

Applications open on Monday, January 22. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED ONLINE BY FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 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, March 7.

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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