Due to the extraordinary world health crisis associated with the COVID-19 virus, all one and two-week teacher professional development seminars aboard the USS Midway for the summer of 2020 are canceled.  One-day Freedom Documents seminars scheduled for the fall of 2020 are also canceled.  Dates and application guidelines for 2021 seminars will be posted on this web site when they become available.  If you have questions, please contact Midway Institute Director, John F. Burns at:

About the Institute

The USS Midway Institute for Teachers is a collaboration and partnership between the USS Midway Museum and other institutions, and features faculty speakers from such prominent universities as the University of California, San Diego, George Washington University, and Columbia University, among others.

Our seminar programs are uniquely held aboard the iconic Cold War and Vietnam War aircraft carrier USS Midway. The programs are specifically designed for teachers of history and social studies to learn about the Cold War, the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and World War II in the Pacific, and to incorporate that knowledge, including a variety of perspectives, into their classroom lessons.

Presentations by expert lecturers, university historians, veterans and other individuals who experienced the events of the era, plus field trips to San Diego museums and the immersive atmosphere of studying aboard the USS Midway, combine to create an incomparable and unparalleled professional development experience.


Lesson Plans

These lessons are a sample of the curricular materials we have developed and curated for our archive of “Resources for Online Education””

Students examine primary source accounts of the Battle of Midway from both the US and Japanese perspectives. The lessons include a short essay asking the students to assess whether the Battle of Midway was the greatest naval battle of modern history.

Students analyze Dr. Seuss’ editorial cartoons during WWII. The lessons include a timeline, short biographical sketch and access to the archive of cartoons at the University of California, San Diego.

Mapping of Island Hopping is an opportunity for students to learn how this military strategy set the stage for the ultimate defeat of the Japanese Empire. The lessons use google maps and an article to have students to retrace the path of US military forces from 1942-45.

Students will examine how WWII led to the transformation of the aerospace industry on the West Coast. In looking at primary source materials from the Aircraft War Production Council and newspaper excerpts, students analyze private industry’s role in wartime mobilization.

Students examine U.S. wartime propaganda to understand how the format was deployed by Hollywood filmmakers, visual artists, and cartoonists throughout WWII.

Resources for Online Education

The Midway Institute’s “Resources for Online Education” are being presented here to help teachers, and parents acting as teachers, who are handling the unanticipated demand for distance learning necessitated by the 2020 COVID-19 world health crisis.

In order to provide immediate assistance to these individuals, and to offer an expanding array of resources for teachers involved in future distance learning, the Midway Institute staff has compiled a selection of resources derived from our past seminars and from the ongoing work of Institute faculty and participating teachers.

This is a dynamic collection of resources, with additions and revisions occurring on a continual basis.  We urge you to visit the web site often to check on newly available resources.

Access to this portion of the Midway web site is by registration only.  These resources are offered at no charge and their use is limited to persons directly engaged in the education of students.  No other use is permitted, and none of these materials may be utilized in any fashion for commercial purposes.  Please see the terms of use for the USS Midway Museum web site for further stipulations.

Please click the button below to access our Online Education Registration Form.

Summer Teacher Programs

This is the signature seminar of the Institute, held during the ongoing fiftieth anniversary of the extraordinary Vietnam War era, which was among the most cataclysmic and consequential eras in American history.

The Vietnam War did not occur in isolation. Today’s world has been shaped in many ways by the Cold War era and by the outcomes of the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the challenges of our current era are still highly influenced by this history. Throughout this two week program, teachers will gain knowledge, scholarly insights and different perspectives on these extraordinary, crucial and divisive events in the post-WWII world.

During the first week, the focus is on Cold War antecedents and origins, the early Cold War and U.S. leadership, the Korean War and its continuing ramifications, understanding the Soviet Union and its allies, the initial stages of the war in Vietnam and predecessor conflicts in Indochina, and key American domestic events and controversies in the 1950s and early 1960s.

In the second week, the emphasis is on the Vietnam War and recent interpretations, including disputes about the war’s conduct, anti-war protests, presidential authority and decision making, the dramatic end to the conflict, phenomenal changes in American society during the era, and the conclusion of the Cold War. Particular emphasis will be placed on the years 1968–1970, the period that represents the mid-point of major U.S. combat involvement in Vietnam, including the momentous battle of the Tet Offensive and its effects, tragic assassinations of highly important leaders, and convulsive events in America and around the world.

Eminent scholars share their insights, viewpoints, and cutting-edge research on the Cold War, Korea and Vietnam, while pedagogical sessions allow teachers to exchange information and develop strategies to teach the material presented.  Frequent discussion and interaction among participants and between teachers and Institute faculty is strongly encouraged.

Seminar participants also have the opportunity to explore the sights and attractions of the San Diego area during the July 4-5 weekend, and they receive a special invitation to see the spectacular July 4th harbor fireworks show from the deck of the USS Midway. Participants will also be offered the opportunity to stay overnight aboard the carrier on July 5 at no additional cost while participating in leadership-building activities and eating real “navy chow.”

Participants will:

  • Expand and deepen their content knowledge
  • Discuss approaches to teaching about the Cold War, Korea, and Vietnam
  • Interact with scholars and colleagues, and meet veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars
  • Receive books and other teaching resources
  • Take private tours of the USS Midway Museum
  • Receive a $1000 stipend, instructional materials, meals aboard ship, parking, and travel support (for those outside the San Diego region)
  • Earn up to three optional credits from California State University, San Marcos

The MIT Summer Teacher Programs for 2020 have been cancelled.

In this one-week program, World War II in the Pacific is examined from several angles.  The Pacific War was a monumental clash of many nations and cultures, with significant repercussions and effects that reverberate to the present day, including evolving relationships between the U.S and numerous nations, and the presence of so many varied ethnicities from Pacific nations in America’s classrooms.

Despite its extraordinary impact, the Pacific War is the lesser understood side of World War Two. It is commonly seen as the war between America and Japan.  But it was so much more.  Affecting a large number of countries from 1937-1945, the war’s enduring effects played an extraordinary role in the subsequent history of all nations of the Pacific including the United States, and this impact continues to markedly influence the current course of events within and outside the region today.

This seminar features top scholars from notable universities sharing their research and points of view on such topics as the strategic conduct of the Pacific War on several fronts; the concept and practice of total war in the Pacific including China, Japan and other nations; pre- and post-war colonialism and its effects; the nature of cultural contrasts between Japan and the U.S.; the impact of the Battle of Midway and other key military and non-military events, including the use of the atom bombs; the domestic transformation of the U.S.; the chaos of the immediate post-war years; controversies in how events of the period are memorialized and remembered; and the conflicts among Pacific nations in the public use of these memories.

These discussions will help teachers gain greater understanding and insight not only on the battles and the course of the war, from South Asia to America’s shores, but also on its long term social, political and economic consequences for public policy, military strategy, the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, and current multi-national disputes, enabling teachers to bring new knowledge and broader perspective to their classrooms.

Participants will:

  • Expand and deepen their content knowledge
  • Discuss approaches to teaching about World War II in the Pacific and its key events, including the importance and impact of the war’s aftermath, how the war is remembered, and stories from the war’s veterans
  • Interact with scholars and colleagues
  • Receive books and other teaching resources
  • Take private tours of the USS Midway Museum
  • Receive a $500 stipend, instructional materials, meals, parking and travel support (for those outside the San Diego area)
  • Earn up to two optional credits from California State University, San Marcos

The MIT Summer Teacher Programs for 2020 have been cancelled.

Teaching American History

The Midway Institute for Teachers and Teaching American History ( cooperate to present a seminar series on Essential Documents of American Freedom that began in the Fall semester of 2019. Seminars are offered several times during the school year for teachers of American History, Government, Civics, or any teacher who uses American primary documents. These free seminars are each based around a collection of original sources and are conducted as Socratic discussions, facilitated by a member of’s graduate faculty. Lunch and a certificate for continuing education are provided, and most dates include a guided tour of the ship, while all include free access to the ship after the program concludes.

Registration is limited to 25 teachers for each program. All registrants are provided with an electronic copy of the documents reader and program agenda, and are sent paper copies a few weeks before the program date. All programs are on Fridays and run from 7:45am to about 2pm

All seminars for the fall of 2020 are canceled.  Dates and topics for 2021 will be announced when they are available.


The Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History conducts a one-week summer seminar aboard the USS Midway Museum in partnership with the Midway Institute for Teachers. Entitled “The Global Cold War”, it places the Soviet-American struggle in broad historical and international contexts with a particular focus on the last years of the Cold War and its legacies.

The 2020 seminar has been canceled. Click here for more information about Gilder-Lehrman seminars.


John F. Burns is the Director of the Midway Institute for Teachers. Questions about the Institute’s schedule, academic programs, objectives, and credit arrangements may be sent to him at

Rudy Shappee is the Assistant Director of the Midway Institute for Teachers. Questions about the Institute’s application process, deadlines, the San Diego locality, and about the ship may be sent to him at


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