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Creating your own collections and customizing resources to fit your needs makes the Learning Lab a one-of-a-kind resource for efficiency and creativity. Free your imagination – you can create collections using the Smithsonian's vast resources, add your own resources or those from other sources, annotate the objects you collect, develop your own quizzes and more. Create complete lessons or artistic collections, and build upon each for more personal and memorable learning.

Suggested Resources

 

Civil War Diary: Homefront Perspectives

Diary entries from Mary Henry and Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas during the Civil War.
Nicole Gilbertson
8
 

Communication

How do you communicate? Through words? Body language? A facial expression? Explore the different ways people and animals communicate.

Maureen Leary
8
 

Hamilton!

Have your students (or you) caught the Hamilton bug inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical? This collection is filled with resources and teaching ideas about the founding father. With his musical, Miranda has transformed teaching the Founding Fathers from distant and un-relatable to a relevant story of a hustling immigrant whose rise helps progress the American Revolution and set the new nation on track to become the economic powerhouse that it remains today.

Tags: Alexander Hamilton, ten dollar bill, Aaron Burr, duel, treasurer, financial plan, Federalist

Kate Harris
14
 

A Morning in Damascus

This collection features a series of three independent activities around one singular portrait of Bayard Taylor (formally titled A Morning in Damascus) painted by Thomas Hicks, 1855.  Taylor was one of America's foremost and most popular travel writers of the mid to late 19th century.  

These activities were created for my Advanced Placement World History course to practice close reading skills as well as historical thinking skills.  The notations provided here are for teacher reference and would not be given to students. 



This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.

#NPGTeach

Lauren Hetrick
12
 

Egyptian Hieroglyphs

What are hieroglyphs? What was the purpose? Who could write them? How did we discover how to read them?
Aubrey Gennari
11
 

Emergence of Civilization in China: Oracle Bones

In this student activity, students learn about life in early Chinese urban society by analyzing oracle bone divinations. These divinations, consisting of characters inscribed on turtle shells and animal bones over 3,000 years ago, are among the earliest systematic Chinese written language extant today. Students will answer object analysis questions, complete an activity using translations of divinations, and compare early Chinese urban society to Bronze Age societies in other parts of the world. This set includes multiple objects from the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Created by Elizabeth Eder and Keith Wilson at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in collaboration with Tess Porter, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Tags: archaeology; ancestor worship; shang dynasty; diviner; early writing; early civilization; ritual; artifact; archaeological remains; artifact analysis

Freer|Sackler Education
10
 

The Fantastic World of Nineteenth-Century Women’s Emotions: Two Literary Portrayals

Inspired by the December 2nd, 2015 Dibner Lecture by Laura Otis
Describing complex human emotions in words has challenged writers of every time in place. The feelings of rejected lovers are especially keen and make for engrossing stories. Two Victorian novelists, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling, combined popular knowledge of science, literature, and religion to create powerful portraits of abandoned women. Although based more on cultural myths than human physiology, their depictions of Miss Havisham and the lady in the phantom rickshaw have had a powerful influence on representations of women’s emotions.
Smithsonian Libraries
23
 

Horn Players

This is introductory information for Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Horn Players" from 1983.

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.

TAGS: #NPGteach, portrait, learning to look, National Portrait Gallery, jazz, Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Basquiat, AP Art History

Stacey Horman
12