Sunday, April 2, 2017

Historical EDC (Everyday Carry)

I was fortunate enough to participate in the Monticello Teacher Institute in 2016 and, while at Monticello, saw a display of items Jefferson carried on his person every day.

This got me thinking about a topic I was very interested in for about 6 months a few years ago: EDC, or, Everyday Carry.  One of those blog rabbit holes that I went down and stayed awhile, EDC asks a simple question: what do different types of people carry with them? Imagine thousands of Tumblr pages of neatly arranged junk from your purse, backpack, or pockets.

                                        Photo by user: MACZTER

Connected to EDC are sites like The Selby, that take viewers inside the personal spaces of artists, chefs, designers, writers, etc. and groups photographing things they would carry from a burning building.  I imagine I'm drawn to topics like this because I love objects and material culture and what they say about people and society.  So, as I thought about Jefferson's EDC, I debated whether this could be done in my classroom.  My students will soon be examining Washington's first term as president and I plan on trying an EDC-inspired lesson over that topic.

As I begin to frame the lesson, I want to keep a couple of key questions in mind:

1.  How can we help students see historical figures as everyday people making everyday decisions, instead of seeing them as icons who lived for posterity?  

2.  How can we help students realize that they are "making history" right now?  

I also want students to be mindful of their answers and justify each object they "take" from Washington's pockets.

As I spend more time on the mechanics of this lesson it will undoubtedly change, but this is what I have right now.

How could you use the EDC concept in your classroom? How can this foundation be approved upon?



  1. Thanks for checking out the blog, Z4. I appreciate the comment.

  2. My favorite item from Jefferson's EDC is his portable ivory notebooks. I have always wanted to get some old piano keys and see if I could make a replica. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Eric. That would be a cool project. He's always fascinated me, even the day to day things like his EDC. We were talking this morning in class about the scope of his interests and I asked students if there's anyone like him today. He got compared to the character of Sheldon Cooper and Elon Musk, so...