National Museum of African American History and Culture
National Museum of African American History and Culture
What was the world like 100 years ago?
How have things changed or stayed the same, and how does this deepen our understanding about history and of ourselves and our society? This Learning Lab explores this centuries-old question by asking you to analyze objects from the NMAAHC and other Smithsonian collections that were created in (or are likely dated to) the year 1919, particularly from the African American perspective.
This Learning Lab emphasizes the historical thinking skills of comparison and change over time. Historical comparison asks you to analyze the differences and similarities between two historical individuals, groups, events, objects, or ideas, or between someone or something historical with someone or something in the present. Change over time asks you to analyze how a historical artifact, individual, group, event or idea has changed over time, what factors contributed to the change, and what can this tell us about the past and inform us about the modern day.
The analysis questions are taken from the National Archives and Record Administration's Document Analysis Worksheets.
Keywords: NMAAHC, African American, 1919, world, century, comparison, change, time, World War I, segregation, Jim Crow, nineteenth, #NMAAHCteach
Representation in media is important.
In this Learning Lab, we will explore how the African American soldiers fighting in the Civil War are portrayed in two films: Glory (1989) and Lincoln (2012).
History X Media X Culture (HMC) is a series designed by the National Museum of African American History and Culture to teach students historical thinking skills of analysis and interpretation, and also media literacy by exploring historic and modern films about or created by African Americans.
What can we learn, and what do we learn about history from popular media? How does popular media influence our understanding of history? How does the history portrayed in popular media change from the historical account based on primary sources?
Furthermore, how are historical individuals and groups represented in popular media? How do these representations affect how we understand these historical persons and their modern-day descendants? How people are depicted on the screen influences our modern world. We must question and analyze what is said and shown in the media, and why it shown to us.
Your objectives are as follows:
1. Explore how the soldiers are represented in each film, and then compare the film’s portrayals.
2. Compare these representations to historical accounts and primary evidence.
3. Question why the changes were made in the film, and how do these changes affect our understanding of history and ourselves?
The movies contain images of the violence of war, carnage, and brief offensive languages.
The analysis questions are taken from the National Archives and Records Administration Document Analysis Worksheets, unless stated otherwise.
How did African Americans attempt to travel safely in the United States during the age of Jim Crow?
This Learning Lab investigates the question of African American travel during the age of Jim Crow, and how the Green Book assisted by providing African American a directory of welcoming hotels, motels, travel lodges, restaurants, gas stations, and other facilities as they journeyed throughout the United States. This Learning Lab employs the use of primary source analysis of NMAAHC and other Smithsonian unit objects and outside media clips to help answer this question.
NMAAHC, African American, Green, book, travel, Jim Crow, car, road,
segregation, hotel, motel, gas station, restaurants, United States, primary
In celebration of Smithsonian's Year of Music, let us look back a century to an early jazz classic that detailed the experience of African American soldiers on the front lines in Europe during the First World War.
Amid the First World War (1914 - 1918), a new musical genre called jazz would take the world by storm. Jazz was the product of the African American experience, history, and culture. James Reese Europe contributed to the music form by bringing jazz overseas while fighting with the 369th Infantry Regiment (also known as the Harlem Hellfighters) during the war. Furthermore, James Reese Europe composed tunes that reflected the African American experience on the front lines of the war in Europe. In this Learning Lab, you will explore the life and contributions of James Reese Europe, and consider what influenced him when he composed his 1919 classic, On Patrol In No Man's Land.
The Smithsonian Year of Music is an Institution-wide initiative to increase public engagement, advance understanding, and connect communities in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the globe. The Smithsonian Year of Music highlights and shares our vast musical holdings, bringing together our resources in history, art, culture, science, and education.
On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked the United States Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. The United States could no longer sustain anti-war policies and rhetoric, diplomatic neutrality, and an isolationist outlook as it had since 1914. A combination of elements such as unrestricted German submarine warfare, rumored invasions, horrific new tactics of fighting, and technologies of war contributed to Wilson’s request. Congress granted President Wilson’s request, and on April 6, 1917, the United States officially entered the Great War*. Wilson claimed that the world would “be made safe for democracy.”
As the United States was preparing to protect freedom and equality internationally, African Americans were struggling against racism in the forms of economic oppression, violence, and legal as well as social inequality. Though citizenship and male suffrage had been endowed to African Americans by the Fourteenth (1868) and Fifteenth (1870) Amendments, many African Americans found it dangerous, if not deadly, to practice the fruits of American democracy to which they were entitled. Despite the magnitude and horrors of war, the African American community believed that fighting in the Great War, demonstrating their patriotism, loyalty, and bravery would show white Americans they deserved equality and civil rights.
This Learning Lab explores the interwoven legacy of President Woodrow Wilson and African Americans before, during, and immediately after the Great War (1914-1918).
*The Great War, the First World War, and World War I will be used interchangeably to name the war.
Keywords: NMAAHC, NMAAHC Education, African American, World War One, Great War, First World War, soldier, war, Woodrow Wilson, president, Jim Crow, primary sources, stories
Wakanda Learning Lab is this?
This Learning Lab explores the importance of representation in popular media. How are people portrayed? Why are they portrayed? What does this say about a people in a society and the society itself? How do these messages affect and inform us about others and ourselves?
First, how are African Americans represented in popular media. Second, how African, the African Diaspora, and African American culture are represented in Black Panther (both as a comic book character and as part of the modern Marvel cinematic universe) and through other superhero lore.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture celebrates the museum's acquirement of the movie costume of the iconic and groundbreaking Marvel comic book character Black Panther. The character of Black Panther (King T'Challa of Wakanda), and his iconic suit, debuted in the Marvel cinematic universe in the 2015 film Captain America: Civil War, and featured in his self-titled movie Black Panther in 2018. Since the debut of Black Panther (King T'Challa of Wakanda) in the Fantastic Four #52 in July 1966, Black Panther has been a trailblazer for the black superheroes that have followed him in print and on screen.
Students can explore this Learning Lab independently. Learning exercises and worksheets have been provided to help enhance the exploration of the content.
Keyword: nmaahc, African, American, Black, Panther, Marvel, T'Challa, Wakanda, suit, comic, superhero, super, hero, civil war, Falcon, Bumblebee, Vixen, Storm, Nick Fury, Luke Cage, DC, universe, Green Lantern, Misty
In celebration of the Fourth of July, this Learning Lab considers the day’s meaning in the history of the African American community and their nation.
Take some time to explore the objects, images, documents and media that explore the Fourth of July in relation to the African Americans from the Revolutionary War to the modern day. Questions to deepen exploration are embedded into each of the squares.
Keywords: nmaahc, African, American, Fourth, July, 4th, slavery, enslavement, freedom, Revolutionary, War, British, Independence, celebration, Douglass, Washington, Founding, Fathers, declaration
In celebration of Black History Month 2020, we have put together a gallery of 106 images of everyday black history meant to celebrate, inspire, and encourage exploration of the diversity of the African American experience. These images may be viewed leisurely, or for a deeper dive, use the questions provided under the "How to Analyze an Image" square. We also suggest you watch "The Danger of a Single Story" TEDtalk by Chimamanda Ngozi and think about its overall message. Once you have finished viewing the images, make sure to consider the final reflection questions located in a square at the end of the Learning Lab.
Keywords: African American, NMAAHC, images, every day, black, history, month, analyze
Welcome to the National Museum of African American History and Culture's Collection Connection Grid for National History Day 2020! Below is an assortment of selected documents, images, objects and videos that highlight the African American experience in relation to the 2020 NHD theme: Breaking Barriers in History. Use these items as inspiration for a project topic, or use the items to help expand your research on a topic you have already selected. This collection is designed to be self-guided by students and educators participating in National History Day.
Keywords: African American, NMAAHC, National History Day, NHD, Collection, Connection, Grid, breaking, barriers, history, project, topic, ideas, 2020
Historical thinking skills allow historians to better practice and interpret history. This series teaches students how to develop these skills to become better historians themselves.
This Learning Lab will guide students through the process of defining historical context and practicing employing strategies from an example dealing with the 1968 Poor People's Campaign.
Historical context is the background information that informs a deeper understanding of a historical individual, group or event. Historical context is important because it allows historians to better understand history in the ways a historical individual or group understood the world around them, which leads historians to analyze the past more accurately.
Keywords: nmaahc, African, American, historical, thinking, skills, context, historical, contextualization, background, 1968, Poor People's Campaign, history, interpret, analyze
In 1852, Solomon G. Brown of Washington D.C. became the first African American employed by the Smithsonian Institution. He was an unusual man of his time, as he was a literate free person of color in Washington D.C., where slavery was legal until 1862. Additionally, Mr. Brown was an influential member of the African American community in Washington D.C, before and after the Civil War. For 54 years, Mr. Brown worked at the Smithsonian Institution in a variety of positions. He saw the institution change and grow. In 1902, the Smithsonian honored Mr. Brown for his time and service.
This Learning Lab explores the experience of Solomon G. Brown and his work at the Smithsonian Institution. Exploring his career can highlight the complexities of slavery, freedom, race, and citizenship that African Americans experienced in Washington D.C. through the latter half of the nineteenth century, which included the late Antebellum Period, the Civil War, the Gilded Age and the beginnings of the Jim Crow Era. His life poses an interesting contrast to the more normative narratives of African Americans during the mid to late nineteenth century.
Discussion questions are included at the beginning of the Learning Lab.
Keywords: nmaahc, African American, Smithsonian, Institution, museum, castle, secretary, freedom, slavery, Washington D.C. DC, district, Columbia, research, pioneer, Solomon, Brown, first, civil war, antebellum, reconstruction, Jim Crow, 19th century, 20th century
Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for equality did not end with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In his last years, King’s focus shifted toward achieving economic equality and combating poverty in the United States, denouncing the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, and contending with the rise of The Black Power Movement.
This Learning Lab highlights documents, images, objects, and media from the National Museum of African American History and Culture and other Smithsonian units that help to tell the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s final years, his assassination, and his enduring legacy.
Keywords: nmaahc, Martin Luther King Jr, MLK, Jr., African American, civil rights, last years, Chicago, Vietnam, poverty, Poor People's Campaign, Resurrection City, Memphis, assassination, legacy, Coretta Scott King, Reverend
Utilizing primary sources and other material, students can explore the subject of Buffalo Soldiers and their role in American history.
Keywords: NMAAHC, African American, soldiers, westward, buffalo soldier, primary sources, multiple perspectives
This collection highlights the enslaved and free African American perspective and experience during the Civil War with collection objects from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, other Smithsonian units, and relevant media.
Keywords: NMAAHC, NMAAHC Education, African American, Civil War, United States Colored Troops, soldier, war, emancipation, history, primary sources
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the first museum on the National Mall to be recognized as a LEED Gold building due to its use of renewable energy sources and locally-sourced building materials. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications are granted to buildings and other structures that meet global standards in areas such as water use, energy efficiency, and use of sustainable materials. One of the ways NMAAHC is using renewable energy is through the use of solar panels on its roof. Although the solar panels are not visible to our visitors, they produce enough energy to power 11 average-sized U.S. homes for a year.
Use this activity to engage your students in a lesson covering solar power, electricity, and the factors that affect its production.
Keywords: solar, power, STEM, science, LEED, environment, energy, NMAAHC, African American, National Mall
Welcome to the National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection Grid for the 2017 NHD Theme!
Below are some objects and videos to help you explore the 2017 NHD theme: Taking a Stand in History. These objects will help you consider the perspective of the African American experience in history.
These objects may help you form an idea for a project topic or they may help to expand the narrative of your selected project. Click on the text icon for possible project connections and/or the hotspots to reveal object questions to spark your curiosity.
The artifact questions should encourage viewers to think and explore the history of the object or video on their own!
NHD at NMAAHC 2018 - Conflict and Compromise in History: Free People of Color in Antebellum America Making A Way Out of No Way
Welcome to the National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection Grid for our 2018 NHD theme book article: "Conflict and Compromise: Free People of Color in Antebellum America Making A Way Out of No Way."
Below are some objects and images to help you explore the lives and consider the perspective of free African Americans during the Antebellum Era. These objects may help you form an idea for a project topic or they may help to expand the narrative of your selected project.
Click on the information icon to learn more about the history or archival information of the objects and images.
Click on the paperclip icon for examples of project connections, close reading activities, and selected focuses to highlight interesting aspects of an object or image.
Welcome to the National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection Grid for the 2018 NHD Theme!
Below are some documents, images, objects and videos to help you explore the 2018 NHD theme: Conflict and Compromise in History. These documents, images, objects and videos are intended to help highlight the African American experience and perspective in American and international history.
These documents, images, objects and videos may help you form an idea for a project topic or they may help to expand the narrative of your selected project. Click on the text icon for possible project connections, questions to help with analysis, creative activities, and/or the paper clip icon to reveal questions or comments to spark your curiosity.
Welcome to the National Museum of African American History and Culture's Collection Connection Grid for National History Day 2019!
Below is an assortment of selected documents, images, objects and videos that highlight the African American experience in relation to the 2019 NHD theme: Triumph and Tragedy in History. Use these items as inspiration for a project topic, or use the items to help expand your research on a topic you have already selected. This collection is designed to be self-guided by students and educators participating in National History Day.
Keywords: African American, NMAAHC, National History Day, NHD, Collection, Connection, Grid, triumph, tragedy, history, project, topic, ideas, 2019