Secret Presidential Recordings

July 17th, 2008 by ClickSchooling Leave a reply »

Recommended Website:
Miller Center of Public Affairs: Presidential Recordings

Age Range: 11-18 (Grades: 6-8 and 9-12)

ClickScholar Nancy Hogan recommended this site and wrote: “This site, hosted and maintained by the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, makes the recordings of six American Presidents from 1940-1973 available online for scholars, teachers, students, and the public.”

These secret sound recordings of meetings and telephone conversations conducted by U.S. Presidents are an amazing resource that will enhance and bring to life any study of modern U.S. history, government, and social studies.

The recordings come complete with on-screen transcripts that highlight the text as it is spoken to improve clarity and understanding. Historical photographs illustrate the transcripts. There are classroom materials (that can be tweaked for homeschool use) with suggested activities to further learning about the topics discussed in the recordings.

When you get to the site you’ll see a brief introduction. Click on either of two sections that include:

  • Transcripts and Virtual Exhibits – Here you can use the menu on the left side of the screen to access the recordings that were made on tape of all six U.S. Presidents including: Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Read the transcripts and listen to audio clips, or explore featured exhibits. This section will require time to fully peruse the offerings – and my best advice is to “keep clicking” to see it all. ;)
  • Classroom Materials (Digital Classroom Initiative) – This section, designed for teachers, is easier to explore. It opens to an introductory page. Use the menu on the left side of your screen to access the recordings through:
    • Topic – Includes recordings discussing Civil Rights, Economy, Foreign Policy, Health Care, Immigration, Law, Politics, Space, War on Poverty, and “Presidents: The Human Dimension.” Click on any one to access the transcripts and audio clips.
    • Classroom – This section includes activities to further learning through exploration of additional materials (that you can read online or print out) and then engage in a question-led discussion of the material. It is sorted by topic and includes Space, Vietnam, Cuba, and more.

This is a rich resource that, as the website claims, provides “contributions to our understanding of recent political history and how the U.S. government works.”


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