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K-12 Education


The Dole Institute offers a variety of educational programming to fit the needs of your students, including onsite visits to the Dole Institute, outreach visits into your classroom, or online access to our digital archives!

Interested in curriculum and education for BIG SONIA? The Dole Institute now has educational materials available for secondary teacher use! Inquire with our public education coordinator on how to utilize in your classroom and connect to the institute.

Browse our offerings below by clicking the titles to expand or collapse a section.

Onsite (click to expand or collapse)

Visit the Dole Institute of Politics with your K-12 class or homeschool group for a personalized session focusing on the leadership and legacy of Senator Bob Dole. Field trips are available year-round. Bring your class or group for a guided tour of the gallery, archives, and more!

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View the current educational programs offered for K-12 students at the Dole Institute!
Click image above for more details, or download the flyer here.

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The Dole Institute is proud to be part of the Curriculum Connections field trip program created by educators at the Dole Institute, Watkins Museum of History and Kansas Riverkings Museum. Your students can visit all three sites in one day or choose which museums fit to your curriculum. A partial bus transportation grant is available to these sites.
Click image above for more details, or download the flyer here.

Outreach (click to expand or collapse)

The Dole Institute can bring the archives to you! Our public education coordinator can visit your classroom for a customized workshop focusing on primary sources from the Dole Archive. Any of these programs are also available as an on-site activity. Click here to view documents used in this dynamic workshop. Current class topics include:

Document Discovery:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Analyze and discuss diverse documents from the archives with different viewpoints on this major piece of legislation. The ADA was signed into law in 1990 and has promoted beneficial changes for the disabled community. (middle to high school age appropriate, 30 minutes to 1 hour)
  • Before the 26th Amendment – Explore constituent mail from 1969 Kansas viewpoints on the minimum voting age and debate the issue as “senators.” Do you vote with your own beliefs or your differing constituent’s views? (middle to high school age appropriate, 30 minutes to 1 hour)
  • WWII Letters – Examine an easy-to-read letter sent from a young Bob Dole to his parents during his WWII service. Ponder what life was like in the 1940s and compare the usage of handwritten letters to today’s communications. (elementary age appropriate, 15 minutes to 45 minutes)

Photograph Analysis: Observe a photograph from the archive collection and “read” into the information it is conveying. Look for context clues to figure out what is happening in the picture! (elementary to high school age appropriate)

Contact us for ways to incorporate primary sources into your classroom. Suggestions are welcome for new topics! (all grades available) 

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Use the above analysis page for your inquiries and research. It is also used in all of the primary source workshops.
Click image for more details, or download the page here.

Interested in National History Day? This informational video highlights the Dole Archives in relation to the 2017 National History Day competition theme, “Taking a Stand in History.”

Online (click to expand or collapse)

Access the digital archive collections online for thousands of digital documents and photographs. We are slowly digitizing our materials – at about 85,000 pages, we are only 1% complete! Authentic primary sources are an excellent use of resources for Kansas College and Career Ready Standards.

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Our topic guide is a great introduction to research and primary sources and includes documents and photographs from 27 diverse U.S. and world history topics. View online topic guides and related materials here.
Click image above for more information, or click here to download the topic guide

STEM in the Dole Archives: Visit our online environmental topic guide for hand-selected items from the Dole Collection concerning water, air, and climate change. These materials are great for interdisciplinary studies in the social studies or science classroom! Click here to learn more.

  • What’s the Problem with Patents?: This 3-day lesson plan traces the investigative question of how federally funded scientific innovations and patents have enhanced the American public’s access to new technologies. An engaging tour of patents from different time periods leads to a discussion on bioethics and gene patenting – a current hot-button issue. Students will be able to:
    • Analyze a variety of 20th century primary sources to scrutinize patents over time;
    • Identify sources of discussion with patent laws and how they can be subject to bioethics;
    • Debate in a professional manner about bioethics and how it relates to government legislation

Interested in teaching this topic in your classroom? Contact us today! Our public education coordinator can assist or teach the topic for you. 

The Council for Social Studies: The Dole Archives has partnered with the University of Kansas chapter of the Council for the Social Studies (KUCSS) to provide professional feedback and mentorship to the pre-service social studies teachers in the School of Education at KU. This group has also created lesson plans for use with Dole Archives materials, most recently bringing primary sources concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act into the classroom during student teaching. These lessons have been professionally taught by student and veteran teachers for constructive feedback. Click here to learn more.

Access to Dole Archives database: Enter a key term in the search bar to view our holdings. Those marked with a green arrow have been digitized, but all files are available for viewing at the Dole Institute! The archives are open to the public but an appointment and topic are required.

History Day support: Annual local and national contest for 6th – 12th grade students to conduct research using primary and secondary resources, and then analyze the information in light of an over-arching historical theme or question.

  • The Dole Archives also sponsors cash prizes for three research projects at the state History Day competition relating to the study of government. Learn more here.

Public program video archive: Full videos online of past programs including prominent interviews, panels, and ceremonies.

Dole Institute archival videos: Archival video footage from the Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archive and Special Collections. Included in this playlist are campaign commercials, speeches, home videos, interviews, and television appearances that highlight the legacy of Senator Dole and role of government in today’s society.

Questions, comments or interested in scheduling a visit? Contact Dole Institute Public Education Coordinator Julie Bergene at least two weeks before your planned visit, and our staff will work with you to tailor a group visit to meet your needs.

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