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NMAAHC Education

Smithsonian Staff

Greetings from the Education Team of the National Museum of African American History and Culture!!

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture.

We are excited to share objects, stories, and resources that tell American history through the African American lens!   Our Learning Lab collections provide ways to explore well-known and lesser-known moments of history by utilizing objects, documents, imagery, and videos to enhance content knowledge, hone historical thinking skills and inspire users to see themselves as agents of change. 

To browse our collections, visit us here

 If you use our Learning Labs, feel free to send us any thoughts or feedback you may have.

NMAAHC Education's collections


Kwanzaa: The Seven Principles - NMAAHC's Essential Historian Skills Series

<p>One of the essential skills for historians to investigate the past is the ability to question a primary source. Primary sources are the building blocks historians use to create history. A primary source is anything created by the historical person, made or existed during the historical period the historian is studying.</p> <p><strong><strong>We will explore the seven principles of Kwanzaa expressed through historical primary sources and narratives</strong><strong>.</strong></strong><br></p> <p>Some of the answers of the past are locked in primary sources. Historians access these answers by asking various questions to get a variety of answers to help them gain a fuller understanding of the primary source.</p> <p>This collection features two methods of questioning:</p> <ul><li><strong>Analyzing primary sources</strong> – questions asking specific information about the primary source</li><li><strong>Historical questioning skills</strong> – asking six questions that put a primary source in the larger context of a historical topic</li></ul> <p>In this collection, you will practice becoming a historian by questioning primary sources centered on <strong>the seven principles of Kwanzaa represented in African American history</strong>.</p>
NMAAHC Education

Black Organizations and Institutions

<p dir="ltr">What can objects tell us about the experiences of African Americans as they built organizations and institutions during the early 20th century (~1900-1930)? How will this information help us to better understand the roles that institutions played in African-American society and how they reflected African American needs, traditions, and identities?</p> <p dir="ltr">History is a study into the past, and how it informs the future, our communities and world, and ultimately ourselves. Learning History Through Objects (LHTO) is a series designed by the National Museum of African American History and Culture to empower students, primarily through the historical thinking skills of analysis and interpretation, to allow them to explore, question, and create history.</p> <p dir="ltr">One of the important skills to be a historian is the ability to analyze and interpret a primary source to gain a better understanding of history. A primary source is any document, artifact, media, or image that was created by the historical person you are studying or during that time period.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Learning History Through Object Series is based off the exhibit structure and objects within the permanent and temporary exhibitions at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and other Smithsonian units.</p> <p dir="ltr">The analysis questions are taken from the National Archives and Records Administration Document Analysis Worksheets, unless stated otherwise.<br></p>
NMAAHC Education

All Aboard "The Real McCoy": How Elijah McCoy Changed Transportation

<p>Elijah McCoy's work was an integral part of the industrial revolution. Born to fugitive slaves who escaped from Kentucky to Ontario, Canada via the Underground Railroad, Elijah was always a curious kid who was interested in how things worked. He got a mechanical engineering apprenticeship in Edinburgh, Scotland and later on was employed by the Michigan Railroad as a fireman. It was his experience working with trains that inspired his invention, the lubricating cup, along with at least 40 lubricating devices that he patented. These devices were used in trains, ships, and factories, laying the foundation for faster transportation and manufacturing of goods that. </p> <p>Along with learning about Elijah McCoy, students will cover the application of constant rates of change, and exponential growth. To complete this lesson, students will need to be familiar with the concept of graphing and will leave with a better understanding of formulating linear and exponential equations.</p>
NMAAHC Education