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Using Artifacts to Inspire Critical Thinking

By: Mary Manning, College and Career Readiness Specialist, Cleveland History Center  You don’t need to be a museum curator to use artifacts in a classroom. If you decide to use visual thinking strategies, which offer powerful ways to unravel all the symbolic power of artistic images, they may not seem to apply to artifacts, especially those used in daily life that may not carry symbolic meanings. However, artifacts are the most often forgotten yet most compelling kind of primary …

National History Day: Stories of Triumph and Tragedy from the National Portrait Gallery

By: Kate Clarke Lemay, Historian and Briana Zavadil White, Student and Teacher Programs Manager, Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development, and culture. Our collection presents people of remarkable character and achievement. These Americans include artists, politicians, scientists, inventors, activists, and performers, who together form our national identity.…

Strategies to Engage Young Children with Museum Objects and Artworks

By Meredith Osborne, Museum and Early Learning Specialist, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center and Brooke Shoemaker, Museum and Early Learning Specialist, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center As early learning and museum education specialists at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, we believe in the value of using museum objects (including artifacts, artwork, specimens, etc.) to engage children ages zero to six in learning every day. Objects tell stories, provide opportunities for careful lo…

“Triumph & Tragedy” Digital Resources for National History Day

By: Joe Phelan, Division of Education, National Endowment for the Humanities and Tess Porter, Education Support Specialist, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access If you mentor student projects, you know the challenges of helping students brainstorm exciting and relevant topics for which they will find authoritative supporting resources. To make this task easier, the Smithsonian Learning Lab and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ EDSITEment have teamed up to create digital c…

First-Generation College and Career Readiness: A Link to Visual Literacy Skill Development

By: Le’Passion Darby, Instructional Designer for Tech & Tour.   While there is materiality to campus artifacts, they interface with campus constituents in interpretative ways to produce multiple meanings, and these artifacts can be photographed for discussions of campus culture. Dr. James Banning, Professor Emeritus, School of Education, Colorado State University ------------------------------------------------------- Every spring, thousands of high school juniors and s…