Historic Decisions Guides

Historic Decisions issue guides are used for deliberative forums in secondary schools, colleges, museums, and civic organizations. The issue guides were developed by the museums in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation. They are designed to stimulate deliberation about complex historical issues by examining the difficult choices faced at the time of the historical decision. The content is historically accurate and incorporates primary sources. The guides don’t offer counter-factual or hypothetical history, but do include individual and community concerns, such as the freedom to make choices, community stability, and being treated fairly.

The insights generated during a Historic Decisions forum can enrich our understanding of history and of the present moment. Engaging with our past through this problem-based approach nurtures the individual commitment, knowledge, and skills needed for a thriving democracy. When understood as decisions made by individuals working together, democracy is not limited to what governments do, but includes the ways in which everyday people can effectively address shared challenges. To learn more, click here to read Historic Decisions: Looking Deliberatively at the Past.