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Tess Porter

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

I'm the Digital Content Producer at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. Here, I focus on the use of digital museum resources to support teaching and learning.  I train educators on using digital museum resources and the Smithsonian Learning Lab to support student learning, research and develop learning experiences in collaboration with educators at the Smithsonian and other cultural institutions, and support the development of new tools and features to improve the Lab.  I hold a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Art History from University Colorado Boulder, and am currently pursuing an M.S. in Museums and Digital Culture at Pratt Institute. 

learninglab@si.edutwitter.com/smithsonianlab

Tess Porter's collections

 

Tennessee Williams: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Tennessee Williams, an American playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner. Includes the video "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" and the National Portrait Gallery's "<em>Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators, </em>both of which provide suggestions and questions for analyzing portraiture.  </p> <p>Consider:</p><p></p><p></p><ul><li>What do these portraits have in common? How are they different?</li><li>How are these portraits both fact and fiction?</li><li>How do these portraits reflect how they wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created (such as Time Magazine, stamp, etc.).</li><li>Having read one of his plays, does the portrait capture your image of Tennessee Williams? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of Tennessee Williams, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?</li></ul><p></p><p></p><p>Keywords: mississippi, ms, play, author, streetcar named desire, writer</p>
Tess Porter
7
 

Suffrage Pin: Object Analysis

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "See Think Wonder," this activity explores the struggle of suffragists during the American suffrage movement through deep analysis of one object - a pin, worn by suffragist Alice Paul, in the shape of a jail door with a heart-shaped lock. Pins such as these were given in a ceremony to suffragists who were imprisoned as a result of the 1917 pickets. Includes the pin, an article discussing the history behind the pin, and multiple photographs suffragist picketers.</p> <p>Keywords: women's rights, suffrage, suffragette, protest, reform, civil rights, equal rights, alice paul, jailed for freedom, pin, national women's party, nwp, voting, vote</p>
Tess Porter
6
 

Reading Companion: Robots

This collection is a reading companion to two articles - "Robot Zoo" [Ask; Nov 2011] and "Me, Myself, and My Android Twin" [Muse; Nov 2012]. Students are asked to investigate these articles, alongside other objects, videos, and articles, to examine what issues robot designers are attempting to address with their inventions, and how they are trying to address them. At the end of the activity, students will be asked to write a paragraph or more explaining which inventions they think are the most important and why, citing resources in this collection as evidence.
Tess Porter
21
 

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
 

Key Moments in WWII: What makes you say that?

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will investigate two photographs, taken from different angles, of Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri as they signed the surrender that would officially end WWII.</p> <p>Keywords: world war 2, world war ii, general macarthur, carl mydans, primary source, ww2, japanese instrument of surrender, potsdam declaration, inquiry strategy, japan</p> <p><em>#visiblethinking</em><br></p>
Tess Porter
6
 

Bracero Program: Unveiling Stories

<p>In this activity, students will examine photographs documenting the Bracero Program, the largest guest-worker program in US history. Started in 1942 as a temporary war measure to address labor demands in agriculture and railroads, the program allowed Mexican nationals to take temporary agricultural work in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and 24 other states. By the time the program ended in 1964, over 4.6 million contracts were awarded. </p> <p>Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs tell about the experiences of braceros in this program, and the impact of these stories in multiple contexts. Additional resources (primary sources, a digital exhibition, and an article) and information on how to use these routines in the classroom can by found by clicking <em>Read More »</em>.</p> <p>Keywords: mexican, immigration, work, migration, migrant workers, agriculture, reform, politics, government, leonard nadel, photojournalism, activity, inquiry strategy, global competency, global competence, latino, chicano, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s </p> <p>#LatinoHAC #EthnicStudies</p>
Tess Porter
37
 

Visual Connections between Buddhism and Ancient Greece

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "See Think Wonder," this activity investigates the cultural connections between Ancient Greece, Rome, and Gandhara* as seen through a sculpture of the Buddha created in the 2nd century CE. Buddhist sculptures from Gandhara are significant not only because they show the extent of Alexander the Great's influence on Asia, but also because they are some of the first human depictions of the Buddha in the history of Buddhist art.</p> <p>Even without a deep knowledge of the art of this period, students can make visual observations and comparisons that reveal the blending of Asian and Greco-Roman culture in this particular region.</p> <p>*Gandhara is a region in what is now modern Afghanistan and Pakistan.</p> <p>Keywords: greek, kushan, mathura, india, inquiry strategy, classical, roman, gautama, siddhārtha, siddhartha, shakyamuni, lakshanas, signs of the buddha</p> <p><em>#visiblethinking</em><br /></p>
Tess Porter
6
 

Inka Architecture: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection gathers teaching resources on Inka architecture, focusing on building methods and architectural symbolism in Cusco, capital of the Inka Empire. These resources explore the symbolic layout of Cusco as well as the architecture of five specific structures: Saqsaywaman (upper temple of the sun), Hatunrumiyoc (a wall, once part of the palace of Inka Roca), the Qorichanka (lower temple of the sun), and the Double Jamb Doorway (a sacred entryway). Includes video interviews with archaeologists, interactive 3D models, and the exhibition website for "The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire." Resources also explore the continuing importance of these structures in Cusco today, both in terms of environmental stability and continuing cultures.</p> <p>Keywords: inkan, inca, incan, archaeologist, stonework, continuing legacy, peru, symbol, religion, ancient civilization, world history, culture, cuzco, andes, saksaywaman, qurikancha, archaeology, pre-columbian, latin america, south america, ruins</p>
Tess Porter
23
 

Investigating: Civil War Portraits

<p>In this student activity, students will investigate nine portraits of people involved in the Civil War, both from the Union and the Confederacy. Through these portraits, students will gain an understanding of: experiences of people on both sides of the war; why these people are seen as historically significant; and how portraiture can communicate how a person wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen. Included with each portrait is a video that explains the historical significance of the person depicted.  Activity extension ideas can be found by clicking "Read More."</p> <p>Big Ideas: </p> <ul><li>Why are these people, and the developments they shaped, seen as historically significant? </li><li>How does portraiture communicate how a person wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen?</li></ul><p>Keywords: thomas stonewall jackson, william tecumseh sherman, john pelham, elmer e ellsworth, george armstrong custer, jefferson davis, abraham lincoln, clara barton</p>
Tess Porter
10
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: National Museum of American Indian Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the second seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the National Museum of the American Indian, tour the exhibition "The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire," and watch the documentary "Caravan of Memory." Dr. José Barreiro, Assistant Director for Research, Director of the Office for Latin America, and co-curator of "The Great Inka Road," will lead the seminar.</p> <p>Included in this collection: bio of presenter, presentation description, and resources chosen by the presenter for attendees to explore before attending the session. These resources are not required, but will help fellows prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
6
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: Renwick Gallery Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the first seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s branch for contemporary craft and decorative art, which recently re-opened in November 2015 after an extensive two-year renovation. Two Renwick Gallery staff members will speak at this event: Nicholas Bell, Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-In-Charge, and Nora Atkinson, Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft. </p> <p>Included in this collection: presenter bios, presentation descriptions, and resources chosen by presenters for attendees to explore before attending the session. These resources are not required, but will help fellows prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
8
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: Opening Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the opening panel of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Three Smithsonian staff members will speak at this event: Tricia Edwards of the National Museum of American History, Doug Herman of the National Museum of the American Indian, and Josh Bell of the National Museum of Natural History.</p> <p>Included in this collection: presenter bios, presentation titles and descriptions, and resources chosen by presenters for attendees to explore before attending the session. These resources are not required readings - instead, they provide guiding questions and background information to help prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach</p>
Tess Porter
12