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An Interpretive Lesson: Engraving of a Goldsmith Shop

Diderot, Denis. A Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry (1763). New York: Dover Publications, 1959.

How does a master craftsman's goldsmith shop provide experiences for apprentices to learn the craft?

Goals and Objectives
      • The participants will become familiar with a primary source document.
      • Using only the information they observe from the document, participants will interpret the document.
      • This activity will introduce an interpretive process which uses only the information which one sees in the document to gather the information.

Transferring skills from one generation to another (Apprentice System)
      • A Boston Indentured Contract for an apprentice stating his obligations, what he will gain, his master's obligations, what the master will provide.
      • Colonial Apprentices - examples at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia
      • Trades defined and pictured at Colonial Williamsburg
      • History of Apprenticeship - Current apprenticeships rooted in a long history of the apprentice system.
      • Plaque: Paul Revere's Goldsmith Shop - The locations of Revere's Shop in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1700s.

      • In celebration of George Washington's inauguration as our nation's first president, he visited Boston. A procession of professionals, tradesmen, artisans, and service providers lined up to welcome the visiting President George Washington. This broadside dated October 19, 1789 advertised the "Procession" giving directions for an orderly arrangement of the procession and listing the order of occupations.

      • A copy of the engraving of a goldsmith shop of the 1700s (Diderot) (pictured above)
      • Observe and analyze the engraving while filling-in the appropriate columns on the blank worksheet: featuring the column titles - "What Do You Know - What Do You Think You Know - What Do You Want to Know More About?"

      Student performance of understanding - Oral Language Application

        Assume the role of an apprenticed servant. Explain how you came to be indentured, what you understand the contract that you signed to mean, what you expect to get from the experience, what your master craftsman expects to get from the agreement, how you expect to be treated, what your jobs will be in the shop now and in the future.

          • Using legal and personal documents involving the lives of apprentices, gather factual evidence about the daily life of an apprentice.
          • Expand your reservoir of factual evidence by gathering online supportive documents that supplement the apprentice system.

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Copyright © 2012 Marjorie Duby - Inquiry Unlimited - All Rights Reserved. - Last modified: April 24, 2012.