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Breaking Barriers: Innovation and Industry

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Language Arts And English +5 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2020, "Breaking Barriers in History."

These resources—including, objects, photographs, portraits, lesson plans, and articles—explore how technologies developed in the interest of advancing industrialization during the United States’ Second Industrial Revolution made it possible to overcome economic and social barriers, while, in some cases, unintentionally creating new ones. Innovators who developed technologies and tools to make every day living easier and more enjoyable, along with transportation technologies that broke barriers in terms of travel and movement, are also included in this collection. Users are also asked to consider the legacies of these inventions and their significance to innovation and industrialization through to today. The second resource of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of a chosen topic alongside photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection was created in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: @EDSITEment and @SmithsonianLab, #NHD2020. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2020 in the description!

Tags: factory, industry, invention, innovator, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, Samuel F. B. Morse, telegraph, Christopher Latham Sholes, typewriter, telephone, communication, technology, workers, labor, International Ladies Garment Workers Union, David Dubinsky, Asa Philip Randolph, John Llewellyn Lewis, Frances Perkins, Samuel Gompers, strike, boycott, union, Transcontinental, railroad, nineteenth century, 19th, twentieth, 20th, #NHD

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Photograph of Madam C.J. Walker

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Tin for Madame C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Thomas Alva Edison

National Portrait Gallery

"New Type Edison" incandescent lamp

National Museum of American History

Meet Edison's Tinfoil Phonograph from 1877

National Museum of American History

Nikola Tesla

National Portrait Gallery

Electric Motor for Alternating Current

National Museum of American History

Samuel F.B. Morse

National Portrait Gallery

Telegraph Key

National Museum of American History

Alexander Graham Bell

National Portrait Gallery

Alexander Graham Bell Experimental Telephone

National Museum of American History

Sholes, Glidden, & Soule Typewriter Patent Model

National Museum of American History

Remington Standard Typewriter Number 2

National Museum of American History

George Eastman

Smithsonian Archives - History Div

Original Kodak Camera, Serial No. 540

National Museum of American History

Men of Progress

National Portrait Gallery

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Collis Potter Huntington

National Portrait Gallery

Train Load of Logs Measuring 88,568 Feet

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Jupiter Steam Locomotive Train Engine

Smithsonian Archives - History Div

Jupiter, Steam Locomotive

National Museum of American History

1889 Overman Bicycle

National Museum of American History

Cleveland Model 69 Bicycle, 1899

National Museum of American History

Riker Electric Automobile, ca. 1900

National Museum of American History

1904 Columbia Electric Automobile

National Museum of American History

Model T Coupe, 1924

National Museum of American History

1926 Ford Model T roadster

National Museum of American History

Indian Motorcycle, 1902

National Museum of American History

Motorcycle, Curtiss V-8

National Air and Space Museum

Obscure Objects: Glenn Curtiss Motorcycle

National Air and Space Museum

1903 Wright Flyer

National Air and Space Museum

Wright (Brothers) Flight Logs, 1910-1911. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

First Flight?

National Air and Space Museum

Electric Streetcar, Capital Traction Co. # 303

National Museum of American History

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Union Broadside in Yiddish, Italian and English

National Museum of American History

David Dubinsky

National Portrait Gallery

Union Cap

National Museum of American History

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Asa Philip Randolph

National Portrait Gallery

Asa Philip Randolph

National Portrait Gallery

A. Philip Randolph

National Museum of American History

John Llewellyn Lewis

National Portrait Gallery

Frances Perkins

National Portrait Gallery

Samuel Gompers

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Samuel Gompers

National Museum of American History

Mary Harris Jones

National Portrait Gallery

Mary Harris Jones

National Museum of American History

Eugene Victor Debs

National Portrait Gallery

Eugene Debs

National Museum of American History