REACH Ambler for the Classroom

The REACH Ambler project produced a number of materials that can be easily re-purposed for middle school, high school, and university classrooms. All included materials have been approved for classroom use by the Science History Institute, Act II Playhouse, and interviewees. Before examining these resources, we recommend looking over the REACH Ambler map, booklet, and Distillations article to familiarize yourself with the project.

Teachers! Have you used these materials in an interesting way? Interested in sharing your methods? Email us, and we will add your guidelines, curricula, and classroom activities to our growing collection of teacher resources.



Consisting of three exhibit banners, Voices of Ambler explores the community, history, and environmental health of Ambler as understood by residents past and present. These 6 feet by 3 feet banners (see photos below) are portable and can be loaned to libraries, schools, and other community organizations in the greater Philadelphia area at no cost. 

Voices of Ambler originally appeared at Act II Playhouse in Ambler during April and May, 2015.

                                                                       April 25, 2015, Act II Playhouse. Photos by Conrad Erb.



As part of REACH Ambler, 11 playwrights came together under the direction of Bill D'Agostino at Ambler's Act II Playhouse, developing 12 short plays based on oral history interviews. 7 of these plays were performed on April 25, 2015 as The White Mountains. Each play interprets Ambler's story in a very different way. Some are comedic, other serious; some focus on asbestos and civic activism, others on race and class, others on Ambler's manufacturing history. Most of the plays have only 2-3 characters, require few special props or costumes, and can be performed in less than 10 minutes.

The REACH Ambler plays are available to be shared, discussed, and performed in school classrooms. 

The The White Mountains were performed again on April 6, 2018 and you can watch that performance using the video playlist below.



Voices of Amblers accompanying 16-page booklet expands upon the stories told in the exhibit, sharing community perspectives on Ambler's history, contemporary debates, and hopes for the future. It can be used in classrooms in conjunction with the exhibit banners, or independently, and is available for viewing and download.


Oral Histories


REACH Ambler conducted 21 oral history interviews with Ambler-area residents, local officials, scientists, and activists. Full transcripts of these interviews are available for use in middle school, high school, and university classrooms, free of charge. Most transcripts are 30-40 pages in length. 

For more information about the transcripts, please see the Science History Institute.

Video clips

Select video and audio clips from the REACH Ambler oral histories can be viewed here. These excerpts cover a variety of topics, including community history, civic activism, environment, and health. Most are less than three minutes in length.

Click on a category below to view video clips sorted by subject.

+ Local History

Oral history excerpts focused on the history of the Ambler area, childhood memories, and community change.

+ Civic Activism

Oral history excerpts focused on recent activism and community change in Ambler, including the 2004 high rise protest, the formation of the Community Advisory Group for the EPA, and West Ambler community development.

+ Environment

Oral history exceprts about Ambler’s natural environment and related issues, including management of the Wissahickon Creek and EPA cleanup.

+ Health

Oral history clips describing health concerns and solutions relating to the presence of asbestos in Ambler.


Resources from other sources

Conducting oral histories in the classroom

One of the best ways to use oral histories in the classroom is to have students conduct interviews themselves. The Oral History Association, Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and other professional organizations have created a number of guides to developing oral history projects for middle school, high school, and university classrooms. Here are some of our favorites.

For additional resources, see Oral History in the Mid Atlantic Region Bibliography and Oral History in the Classroom from the Oral History Association.

Health and Environment in Ambler

A number of local social and governmental organizations have collected data related to environmental, heath, and medicine in Ambler. These resources pair well with the stories collected and shared within the REACH Ambler project. Here are a few places to find scientific information that relates to REACH Ambler.


In Action

Teachers! Have you used these materials in an interesting way? Interested in sharing your methods? Email us, and we will add your guidelines, curricula, and classroom activities to our growing collection of teacher resources.