The Elizabeth Murray Project is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and has been designated a "We, the People" program. See "Funding" for more information.
Since the mid-1990s, faculty at California State University, Long Beach, and teachers in the Long Beach Unified School District have participated in a number of joint ventures, including summer teaching institutes and year-long professional development seminars, designed to improve content mastery and disseminate best practices in teaching. Under the auspices of the Teaching American History grant program, faculty and teachers became partners in developing grade-level specific teaching materials. These collaborative efforts are part of a larger "Seamless Education" initiative, directed at facilitating the continuity of students' experiences as they move through the educational system and improving communication between educators at the K-16 levels. It was through these various programs that the team members first began to work together, and it is in the spirit of "Seamless Education" that this project was conceived. Additional collaborative work was undertaken by the project director in conjunction with the exhibit "Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Women in Business."
Mission statement: The shared goals of project team members center on creating a usable online resource for students and educators. To that end, we have endeavored to incorporate and provide 1) extensive primary sources; 2) grade-level specific curriculum materials, with assignments, worksheets, and interactive exercises; 3) analytical tools, also grade-level specific, for analyzing primary sources and web sites; 4) complete citations and bibliographic suggestions; 5) links to other valuable teaching and history sites.
Demonstration and presentation: Members of the project team began demonstrating the project in classrooms in Long Beach, California, during the 2002-2003 academic year and led workshops based on the project for teachers in Boston under the auspices of the National Park Service in July 2002, July 2003, and March 2004. They presented the project at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians in March 2004 and demonstrated the site for fifth- and eighth-grade teachers at the Long Beach Unified School District's summer teaching institute in August 2004. On-going development and demonstrations took place from Summer 2004 through Spring 2007, under the auspices of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including 2006 presentations for elementary and high school teachers at the annual meeting of the California Council for History Education. Since the conclusion of the NEH funding period, the site has been updated and redesigned. Additional regular presentations of the site and its archival and curricular materials have been made through Teaching American Grants to teachers in Los Angeles, Lynwood, Compton, and Long Beach Unified School Districts. The site has also been featured in university-level textbooks.