Teacher Professional Development

Discover new teaching practices and broaden your knowledge through MNHS teacher professional development. Educator workshops are offered by the History Day and Teacher Education teams.

Mille Lacs Museum Display

Effective Practices in Teaching Native American History and Culture Through Art

Cost: $30 
Date: Thursday, July 18, 10:00 - 4:00
Location: Mille Lacs Indian Museum & Trading Post 
Audience: Classroom teachers using Northern Lights Minnesota Studies curriculum


Visit Mille Lacs Indian Museum & Trading Post to expand your knowledge of Ojibwe history and culture, practice hands-on learning, and explore best practices around teaching Native American history and culture. Engage with one of the MNHS Native American Artists in Residence and learn about the connections between historical and contemporary Indigenous art in the Mille Lacs Indian Museum collection. Participants will do an art project and work with teacher educators to critically analyze teaching approaches that will bring this content to students with fidelity. 

Participants will receive: 
✔ Resources for classroom application ✔ Lunch ✔ Admission to Mille Lacs Indian Museum exhibits ✔ Tour of the Four Seasons room ✔ Tour of the archival collection ✔ Mileage subsidy for those driving over 50 miles round trip (Application required) ✔ Hotel subsidy for those driving over 200 miles round trip (Application required)

Contact Kara Knight (kara.knight@mnhs.org) with program or subsidy questions. Contact Jessica McMahon (jessica.mcmahon@mnhs.org) with registration questions.

Black and white image. Teacher stands in the front of a classroom with a pointer.

History Fest

Cost: $50
Date: Thursday, August 8, 9:00-3:30
Location: Minnesota History Center (St. Paul, MN) 
Audience: K-12 Teachers


Minnesota teachers of history: join us for History Fest, a full day of sessions about teaching history in the classroom! Get ready for the 2024-2025 school year with a choice of educator-led sessions focusing on state, national and world history, as well as assessments, primary sources, and more. Connect with your history peers from around the state! This workshop has sessions for elementary, middle, and high school levels. A tentative agenda will be posted later. The keynote speaker will be Cathy Coats, author of To Banish Forever: A Secret Society, the Ho-Chunk, and Ethnic Cleansing in Minnesota.

Interested in presenting at History Fest? Session proposals are due May 3 and can be submitted here.

Participants will receive:

✔ Light breakfast ✔ Lunch ✔ Exhibit access ✔ 6.5 CEUs ✔ Parking

Returning in 2024: You are invited to a complimentary social event following History Fest, August 8. Enjoy History Happy Hour on the Field with snacks and a baseball game. The program includes stories with Frank White, author of They Played for the Love of the Game: Untold Stories of Black Baseball in Minnesota and time to explore the City of Baseball Museum. The St. Paul Saints will be playing the Columbus Clippers. Sign-up below and join us for a fun-filled conclusion to a day of learning!

Tentative agenda:

4:45 Meet at CHS Field 
5:00 Learn with Frank White, local historian and author of They Played for the Love of the Game 
5:30 Explore Museum or enjoy pre-game food and drink 
7:07 Game time!


Contact Heidi Kloempken (heidi.kloempken@mnhs.org)with program questions. Contact Jessica McMahon (jessica.mcmahon@mnhs.org) with registration questions.

Image from Minnesota Digital Library

Northern Lights.

Northern Lights 101 Webinar

Cost: Free for Northern Lights teachers 
Virtual meeting platform: Zoom video conferencing;
The same session will be offered multiple times:

  • Friday, August 23, 1-3 pm
  • Tuesday, August 27, 2-4 pm
  • Tuesday, September 17, 3:30-5:30 pm


First time teaching with the Northern Lights Interactive eBook? Need a refresher before the 2023-24 school year? Join Northern Lights teacher educators from the Minnesota Historical Society for an introductory webinar about Northern Lights -- from the content it covers, to the different curriculum components, and hallmarks of the curriculum. Get a walk-through of the Northern Lights Interactive eBook and have practice time to navigate the new eBook platform and ask questions.

The session will address changes to the Minnesota social studies standards, how the current curriculum addresses them, and measures we are taking at MNHS to align the curriculum with those standards with greater fidelity.

The webinar will be repeated synchronously multiple times to accommodate your schedule. Zoom video conferencing will be used. Connecting via a device with a larger-screen video feed (laptop, desktop, or tablet) will be essential to benefit from this session.

Sessions are free for Northern Lights subscribers, but registration is required. Contact Kara Knight (kara.knight@mnhs.org)with questions.

Teachers sitting in a row listening to a speaker. A lighthouse image with the caption Northern Lights Academy.

Northern Lights Academy

Cost: $100 ($80 for MNHS members) 
Date: Monday, November 4, 2024 8:00 am-2:30 pm (in-person) 
Location: Minnesota History Center (St. Paul, MN) 
Audience: Teachers using the Northern Lights curriculum


Join 6th grade colleagues from across the state at Northern Lights Academy, the premier professional conference for Minnesota Studies! Sessions will feature Minnesota Studies experts and master Northern Lights teachers from across Minnesota, as well as opportunities to explore MNHS collections items and tour select History Center exhibits. This year, as we look forward to standards adoption and a forthcoming new edition of Northern Lights, we will be packing our agenda with ideas, curriculum resources, and time to tap into the potential of the current edition as a stopgap while the Third Edition is being developed.

Reimbursement subsidies are available to support in-person workshop participation. Apply for funding to reimburse substitute, mileage, and hotel costs. We want to ensure that Northern Lights teachers have the resources to attend in-person regardless of how far they live from the History Center. Learn more about subsidies and apply for this first-come, first-served resource.

Sessions align with current state social studies standards, as well as with content and resources in the Revised Second Edition of Northern Lights (print book, 2013; Interactive eBook, 2014+); those with earlier editions of Northern Lights may also find this conference useful. 

Your in-person registration includes:

✔ Light breakfast   ✔ Lunch    ✔Exhibits Access     ✔ Collections Tour      ✔History Center Store Voucher    ✔CEUs    ✔Parking

Contact Kara Knight with program questions. Contact Mariajose Cardenas for subsidy questions. Contact Jessica McMahon with registration questions.

History Day Teacher Workshops

There are no History Day workshops scheduled at this time.

Cancellation policy

  • Registrants canceling 24 hours before the workshop are eligible for a refund or credit. (This includes weather related cancellations.)
  • Registrants unable to attend a workshop may send someone in their place; substitutions will be made at the registration desk the day of the event.
  • No refunds or credits will be granted for nonattendance.