My school is currently beginning a partnership with the New Haven Museum and Historical Society to rewrite a book about the different neighborhoods in New Haven. The original book was published in 1982 and was titled
Inside New Haven’s Neighborhoods: A Guide to the City of New Haven.
The structure of our book will be similar to the original. In the book there will be a chapter about each of the twelve neighborhoods, with each chapter broken up into sections. First, there is a section that provides a brief history of the neighborhood, which will be created by the history classes at my school. Then there is a section that highlights two or three key figures in the neighborhood, including interviews with those key figures; the history classes will also be responsible for producing these. Lastly, there is a section including sites of interest within the neighborhood. The other history classes at High School in the Community (HSC) will also be writing this section, but my students will be responsible for the photographs of these sites. In order to produce this book, my students will be responsible for capturing, on film, the buildings of about half of the neighborhoods in New Haven.
We have received a grant in partnership with the New Haven Museum and Historical Society and Common Ground High School in order to produce this book. My school will be focusing on the Upper State Street, Fair Haven, Morris Cove and Wooster Square neighborhoods for the book. I would also like to give students the opportunity to include Newhallville in their study, since many of our students live there and it is fairly close to Upper State Street. We can easily walk to these neighborhoods from school, and many of our students will know them well from having spent time in them.
I would like my students to learn more about the histories of their neighborhoods, to look at photographs of their neighborhoods at different time periods, to read oral histories of these places and to begin to understand the rich history of where they come from through a variety of sources. As an end result students will take photographs capturing the neighborhoods as they currently look. Through a comparison of “then and now” photographs I believe students will gain a greater appreciation of New Haven and their own neighborhoods. Besides being published in the book, students will also need to create a Google My Map of the neighborhood they’ve studied, while adding the images and information they’ve learned to the map.
In order to become familiar with the neighborhoods and to successfully photograph important buildings in each neighborhood, students will go through a three part process. First, to get a feel for the growth of the neighborhoods, students will compare a variety of maps of New Haven over time, and will then create a composite map. Next, they will need to study the history and techniques of architectural photography by focusing on photographs of their particular neighborhood. Finally, they will learn to become photographers using both digital and hopefully manual cameras. The photographs that students take will be published in the updated book about New Haven’s neighborhoods.