Opening The Door West is a great teaching aid for fourth and eighth grade students learning Ohio and Northwest Territory history.  Here are some reviews by educational publications:

Review in Video Librarian Magazine, Jan-Feb 2005

"Marietta, Ohio made national news during the September 2004 floods ... but that wasn't the first time the community produced headlines (nor, for that matter, the first time the city was flooded). Some 217 years ago, Marietta was established as the maiden settlement of the Northwest Territory, with the Ohio Company of Associates setting out to create a planned and profitable community, and eventually opening up the territory to settlers from the new United States and around the world. Of course, the people who rushed in were not entering unoccupied lands, and the Shawnee as well as other groups of Native Americans ended up being the victims of land grabs and broken treaties that are now acknowledged as being one of the more shameful chapters of American history. Filmmaker David Shelburne's Opening the Door West tells this tale using better-than-average historical re- enactments, sophisticated computer animation recreating long-gone places, and interviews with a variety of history enthusiasts and scholars. However, while it's true that the Ohio Company of Associates outlawed slavery from the outset, it's a bit of a stretch to conclude that it "sowed seeds of order, justice and honor that would eventually spread across the continent and grow into the American nation we know today." Still, given the amount of information and the bargain price, this is essential for regional collections and highly recommended for others."


-R. Reagan

 Video Librarian Magazine, Jan-Feb 2005; page 70

Review in School Library Journal, December 2004


“Produced for the Ohio statehood bicentennial, this film tells the story of the first official settlement in Ohio. The Ohio Company of Associates, a stock company headed by Revolutionary War hero Rufus Putnam, built forts and established the community of Marietta at the mouth of the Muskingum River in the late 1780s. The program's 12 "chapters," which run from 6 to 20 minutes each, discuss the company's dual objectives of making a profit and spreading democracy in a model settlement, the competing goals of and eventual warfare between the settlers and the Native Americans they displaced, the hardships the settlers faced, and the importance of the Northwest Ordinance as a template for American settlement of the West. The male narration is supplemented with narrated quotes and extensive commentary from historians, Native American tribal leaders, and descendents of settlers. Visuals include location footage, period art and illustrations, computer generated images that recreate the countryside and settlement buildings as they might have looked in the 1780s, and historically correct reenactments. The CD contains 25 selections of authentic period music. While the program will be of the greatest interest to students of Ohio history, it does offer viewers a glimpse into life on the frontier and the often‑overlooked settlement of the Northwest Territory and explains its importance as a model for the settlement of the western United States. The chapter format allows for maximum classroom flexibility, making it a good additional choice for secondary collections.”



‑Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO

 School Library Journal, Dec. 2004; page 71



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