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Tess Porter

Digital Content Producer
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
Smithsonian Staff
Digital Content Producer

I'm the Digital Content Producer at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. Here, I research and develop learning resources focused on the topics of history, art, and culture for projects both within the Smithsonian and in collaboration with other institutions. I also train educators on how to create their own customized content in the Lab.

learninglab@si.edutwitter.com/smithsonianlab

Tess Porter's collections

 

Reading Companion: Hot-Air Balloons and the Civil War

In this collection, students will explore the Union Army's use of hot-air balloons during the Civil War. Two articles - "Professor Lowe's Adventure" [Cobblestone; Nov/Dec 2015] and "Civil War Air Force" [Cricket; Oct 2015] - serve as an introduction to Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, an aeronaut, and his influence in the creation of the US's first air force. Additional resources, such as photographs of the balloons, letters written from the Secretary of the Smithsonian to Lowe prior to his involvement in the Union Army, the remnants of a Confederate balloon, and more, help situate these articles into a larger, historical context. Suggestions for use located in "Notes to Other Users." Uses the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "Think Puzzle Explore." This routine sets the stage for deeper inquiry.
Tess Porter
19
 

Understanding Ancient Civilizations through Artifacts

<p>Resources supporting the April 2016 Google Hangout facilitated by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in coordination with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.</p>
Tess Porter
22
 

Portrait Analysis: Long Tack Sam

<p>In this activity, students will analyze a poster of Long Tack Sam (1884-1961), an influential magician and acrobat who was once one of the most famous vaudevillian performers in the world. As a Chinese-American man competing against fake-Asian magicians in "yellow-face" who hoped to capitalize on Western ideas of "the mysterious orient," Long Tack Sam held a complicated and sometimes contradictory position.  He and his performance troupe wore elaborate embroidered costumes and used scenery depicting pagodas, but he also authored newspaper articles correcting Western misconceptions of China and refused roles in early Hollywood films that negatively stereotyped the Chinese as opium addicts, criminals, and laundry workers. Opportunities to learn more include <em>The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam</em> (2003), a documentary directed by his great-granddaughter.</p> <p>This activity can be used in studying Asian Pacific Americans in the early 1900s, Chinese-American experiences, and more. This activity opens with questions from the National Portrait Gallery's<em> "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators </em>and ends with a Project Zero Think / Puzzle / Explore routine; the full portraiture guide and routine instructions are located at the end of the collection.</p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.</em></p> <p>Keywords: magic, entertainer, entertainment, immigrant, 20th century</p> <p>#APA2018</p>
Tess Porter
7
 

Japanese American Incarceration: Publications, Letters, and Other Documents

<p>This topical collection includes yearbooks, magazines, letters, official announcements, and other important documents from the Japanese American Incarceration era.  It is one in a series of collections, each containing different types of resources, about the Japanese American Incarceration; see also <a href="http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/gCGyk6eEyx7hGU4a">Japanese American Incarceration: Images of Camp Life</a>, <a href="http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/D1atcYAXArxq55uY">Japanese American Incarceration: Camp Objects</a>, and <a href="http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/219EPFjW3g1MKqND">Japanese American Incarceration: Articles and Videos about Inmate Experiences</a>.</p> <p>In February 1942, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 and authorized the imprisonment of approximately 75,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and 45,000 Japanese nationals in incarceration camps.  This order was not rescinded until 1945. </p> <p>Teachers and students may use this collection as a springboard for classroom discussion; for example, what documents reveal about the restrictions placed on Japanese American families while they were incarcerated. This collection is not comprehensive but rather provides a launching point for research and study. </p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.</em> </p> <p>Keywords: internment camp, world war ii, ww2, wwii, rohwer center high school yearbook, magazine, newsletter, isamu noguchi, calendar</p>
Tess Porter
51
 

Japanese American Incarceration: Camp Objects

<p>This topical collection includes objects used by inmates in Japanese American Incarceration camps.  It is one in a series of collections, each containing different types of resources, about the Japanese American Incarceration; see also <a href="http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/gCGyk6eEyx7hGU4a">Japanese American Incarceration: Images of Camp Life</a>, <a href="http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/yqzp7FXFJtCqPsik">Japanese Incarceration: Publications, Letters, and Other Documents</a>, and <a href="http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/219EPFjW3g1MKqND">Japanese American Incarceration: Articles and Videos about Inmate Experiences</a>.</p> <p>In February 1942, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 and authorized the imprisonment of approximately 75,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and 45,000 Japanese nationals in incarceration camps.  This order was not rescinded until 1945.</p> <p>Teachers and students may use this collection as a springboard for classroom discussion; for example, what types of objects inmates created during their incarceration and why they created these objects. This collection is not comprehensive but rather provides a launching point for research and study. </p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.</em> </p> <p>Keywords: internment camp, world war ii, ww2, wwii, gaman</p> <p>#APA2018 </p>
Tess Porter
42
 

Asian Pacific American Authors

<p>This topical collection about Asian Pacific American authors includes portraits, interviews, and book reviews. </p> <p>Teachers and students may use this collection as a springboard for classroom discussions. This collection is not comprehensive but rather provides a launching point for research and study. </p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. </em> </p> <p>Keywords: Jhumpa Lahiri, Indian American, Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart, Filipino American, Maxine Hong Kingston, Chinese American, Julie Otsuka, Japanese American, Chang-rae Lee, Korean American, Anor Lin, Sadakichi Hartmann, A.X. Ahmad, Ava Chin, P. S. Duffy, Eddie Huang, Yiyun Li, Valynne Maetani, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Vietnamese American, Ellen Oh, Vu Tran, Thrity Umrigar, literature<br /></p> <p>#APA2018</p>
Tess Porter
28
 

Portrait Analysis: Duke Kahanamoku

<p>In this activity, students will analyze a stamp depicting Duke Kahanamoku to explore his significance in American history and culture. Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968) transformed the Polynesian pastime of surfing into a worldwide competitive sport.  He also won five Olympic medals in swimming, was an accomplished actor and businessman, and was re-elected sheriff of the city and county of Honolulu for thirteen consecutive terms.  Opportunities to learn more include a photograph of him with Amelia Earhart and her husband, a surfboard he carved, and a Google Doodle created for his 125th birthday.</p> <p>This activity can be used as an entry point into studying Duke Kahanamoku's life and achievements, Hawaiian history and culture, and more.  This activity opens with questions from the National Portrait Gallery's<em> "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators</em> and ends with a Project Zero Think / Puzzle / Explore routine; the full portraiture guide and routine instructions are located at the end of the collection.</p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. </em></p> <p>Keywords: surfer, pacific islander, athlete, hawaii, hawai'i</p> <p>#APA2018</p><p><em>#visiblethinking</em><br /></p>
Tess Porter
11
 

National Portrait Gallery’s Asian Pacific American Portraiture (Artists & Sitters)

<p>This topical collection contains portraits and artwork that depict or were created by Asian Pacific Americans. Leslie Ureña, National Portrait Gallery Assistant Curator of Photographs, curated this group of resources from the National Portrait Gallery’s ever-expanding collections. A list of the museum’s collections on this topic is included as the second resource.  <br /></p> <p>Teachers and students may use this collection as a springboard for classroom discussion; for example, this collection may inspire students to conduct research about other Asian Pacific American artists and individuals. This collection is not comprehensive, but rather provides a launching point for further research and study. </p><p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. </em> <br /></p> <p>Keywords: portraiture, photograph, sculpture, article, primary source, painting, poster, letter</p> <p>#APA2018</p>
Tess Porter
123
 

Shoes: Exploring Culture, History, Place, and Innovation

<p>Teacher's guide for using shoes to explore culture, history, place, and innovation. Includes images of thirty shoes and three different strategies, located at the end of the collection, for using these objects in the classroom. </p> <p>Strategies include: a small-group object analysis activity; a poster, "If You Walked in My Shoes," introducing students to basic primary source analysis questions through six pairs of shoes; and a vocabulary exercise for ESL learners.</p>
Tess Porter
33
 

Foreigners in Japan, 1860-1861

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?", students will examine Japanese artworks depicting Americans and other "westerners" in Japan to analyze Japanese views towards foreigners in the period after the signing of the Kanagawa Treaty (1854). The Kanagawa Treaty, the first treaty between the United States and Japan, ended a period of Japanese isolationism that had lasted for 220 years. Collection includes 21 woodblock prints from the years 1860-1861.</p> <p>Keywords: commodore perry, matthew perry, treaty of amity and commerce, townsend harris, national seclusion, sakoku, millard filmore, edo period, treaty of amity and peace, harris treaty, inquiry strategy, foreigner, global perspectives</p> <p><em>#historicalthinking</em></p>
Tess Porter
24
 

Mummification in Egypt: Ritual and the Afterlife

<p>In this student activity, learn the process and religious significance of Ancient Egyptian mummification through analysis of objects associated with tombs and funerary rituals. </p><p>Big ideas: Why and how did the Ancient Egyptians practice mummification? How does their religion effect their material culture?<br /></p><p>Includes artifacts, multiple choice and discussion questions, and opportunities to learn more through a reading-level appropriate article and a webcast. Encourages cross-cultural comparison of Afterlife concepts. Resources for learning more about the subject, through videos and articles, are located at the end of this collection.</p> <p>Keywords: mummies, mummy, archaeology</p>
Tess Porter
22
 

Mummies: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection pulls together resources on mummification in multiple cultures. Resources cover reasons for mummification, different methods, and what can be learned by studying mummies. Includes Smithsonian Channel videos, fact sheets, objects, a student-targeted webcast, and articles. Areas explored include Ancient Egypt, South America, and Europe.</p><p>Keywords: egyptian, archaeology</p>
Tess Porter
19