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Programs: Image


Learning & Outreach
Programs: Details

With the adjoining building and additional staff, the Dr. Johnson’s House Trust will be able to capitalize on its potential to reach, inspire, and connect with new audiences in new ways. Plans to expand learning and outreach programs will address such important issues as literacy, academic achievement in all children regardless of background, immigration, Black British History, and meeting mental and physical disability challenges. Plans for the future include:

  • expanding the House’s current learning programs for school children of all ages with additional subject matter and themes (in conjunction with exhibitions and collaborations)—which will continue to be free for schools in disadvantaged areas;

  • establishing a Johnson Debating Society pairing young people with mentors to allow students to practice and develop a mastery of the English language and skills in forming and presenting their ideas—with the eventual goal of linking with other similar programs abroad to make the experience even more meaningful;

  • creating Dr. Johnson’s Summer School to offer intensive English-language and cultural studies for U.S. students (fee paying) and local disadvantaged children (free);

  • establishing a program to support children who speak English as a second language in the U.K. schooling system and beyond in developing their literacy skills to ensure they do not fall behind in their education at an early age;

  • developing a network of schools within the U.K. and abroad to create a ‘twinned institute’ approach to programming to deliver a series of workshops and skills and knowledge-sharing opportunities;

  • partnering with organizations that serve the Black community and those facing physical and mental-health issues to inspire and engage through art, theater, spoken-word performances, creative writing, historical research, etc.;

  • maintaining a website that is interactive, flexible, and informative, serving as a platform to facilitate an online community to exchange ideas and research, from independent scholars and word enthusiasts to academics; and

  • providing more opportunities for adults within local communities of residents and office workers to connect with others and engage with intellectually stimulating topics.

Given that Dr. Johnson’s House is of special historic interest as one of the first places in England where a formerly enslaved person is known to have lived as a respected, independent individual—and because of the role that blind poet and translator Anna Williams played as Johnson’s housekeeper—the opportunity to interpret the domestic areas is especially important. The House witnessed the beginning of a relationship that resulted in an important milestone: upon becoming Johnson’s heir, Francis Barber used his inheritance to become the first recorded Black schoolmaster in England. These are important stories to share.

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