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Found 6,946 Collections


Why Move West?

Each resource symbolizes a reason why Americans chose to move west.  For EACH one, complete the following activity:

1) Source it: What is it? Who made it? When was it made? What is the author's purpose/why was it made? Hint- click the i on the left side of the screen to learn more about the source.

2) Identify at least 3 details that you see in EACH image.

3) Why would this resource motivate people to move West? Use a specific detail that you saw to prove your point.

Terri Duncan

Why Is Celia Cruz Called the Queen of Salsa?

Celia Cruz celebrated her Cuban American identity as one of the first women salsa singers. 

Because of Her Story presents a YouTube miniseries where students speak with Smithsonian curators about four women who shaped American history and culture. In Why Is Celia Cruz Called the Queen of Salsa?,Mincy, a student, speaks with Ariana A. Curtis, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

See more YouTube videos from the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative, Because of Her Story. #BecauseOfHerStory

Because Of Her Story

Why is Art important?

Val Brodsky

Why is Art Important to Atta Hashmi

This is my collection.

Attaur Hashmi

Why did the Second Great Awakening inspire reform movements?

The Second Great Awakening was a religious revival movement in the first half of the 19th century. It emphasized emotion and enthusiasm, but also democracy: new religious denominations emerged that restructured churches to allow for more people involved in leadership, an emphasis on man's equality before god, and personal relationships with Christ (meaning less authority on the part of a minister or priest). There was also a belief that the Second Coming was imminent, and society must be improved before that time. Women were heavily involved in the 2nd Great Awakening movement, converting in large movements and taking on leadership roles in service committees and reform work.

Students and teachers might use this collection as a topical resource to explore: Why and how did the Second Great Awakening inspired a range of antebellum reform movements?

Other questions that might support this inquiry include:

  • How are concepts of democracy and equality important to both the Second Great Awakening and the rise of reform movements?
  • Why do you think women were often leaders in antebellum reform movements?
  • More Americans were moving westward during this period. How do you think that impacted the religious revival movement?
  • Can you hypothesize a connection between the increase in utopian societies during this time and the growing reform and religious movements?

Tags: abolition, temperance, women's rights, women's suffrage, second coming, antebellum reform, asylum and prison reform, education, 2GA

Kate Harris

Why are written laws so important? #TeachingInquiry

Hammurabi created the first set of written laws in Mesopotamia. Why was this a huge step for civilization?
Kim Counihan

Who Was to Blame for World War 1


Elizabeth Evans


Women’s identities are complex, intersecting with race, class, sexuality, etc., and have often been overlooked or erased from history. What is the importance of being able to express yourself and voice your story? 

This collection features resources related to the November 7, 2019, professional development webinar, "Who Tells Your Story? Exploring Women and Identity," hosted by educators from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.  This joint webinar is one of three in the series A Woman’s Place Is in the Curriculum: Women’s History through American Art and Portraiture. Learn how American art and portraiture can bring diverse women’s stories into your classroom, connecting with themes you may already teach. Discover strategies for engaging your students in close looking and critical thinking across disciplines.  #SAAMTeach #NPGteach

This project received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. To learn more, visit the Smithsonian American Women History Initiative website. #BecauseOfHerStory

Anne Showalter

Who provoked the Korean War?

"On June 25, 1990, the North Korean Army launches it surprise assault on the South." But what led up to this moment? This activity asks students to read primary source documents and interpret historical events surrounding the Korean conflict. Students will look for motives and evidence in a variety of accounts and determine who was responsible for starting the Korean War.

There are resources with quiz questions that students can answer directly, or teachers may prefer to print documents and resources for in-class use. It is recommended that teachers preview the materials in this teaching collection as there are a variety of ways to structure the lesson.

Essential questions include:
-How would you describe the relationship between Kim Il Sung and Joseph Stalin?
-Was North Korea, a smaller country, pulling a superpower into a conflict?
-Was the Soviet Union using North Korea to further its goals?
-Why did the United States choose to respond via the United Nations forces instead of unilaterally? How did this decision impact the conflict?
-How does this incident reflect larger themes and issues of the Cold War, especially the role of the United Nations, over-arching foreign policy strategy, and nuclear fears?

Tags: Wilson Center, Cold War, Korea, China, Truman, Eisenhower, Macarthur, Soviet Union, USSR, Communism
Kate Harris

Who May Enter? Ellis Island and Angel Island Experiences

During this experience you will follow in the steps of immigrants whose immigration story took them to Angel Island and Ellis Island providing you a window into who came to the United States, why they came, the immigration process, their acceptance or denial as well as their legacy. You will find student instructions for each section on the arrow slide dividers. Click on each for instructions.  #APA2018

Throughout this experience consider the 3 Ys:

  1. Why might this snapshot of Angel Island & Ellis Island matter to me?
  2. Why might it matter to people around (family, friends, fellow students, community)
  3. What might it matter to the world?


Quotes / Poems to consider:

Angel Island Written on the walls in Chinese

I am distressed that we Chinese are
in this wooden building
It is actually racial barriers which cause
difficulties on Yingtai Island.
Even while they are tyrannical they still
claim to be humanitarian.
I should regret my taking the risks of
coming in the first place.

This is a message to those who live here not
to worry excessively.
Instead, you must cast your idle worries to
the flowing stream.
Experiencing a little ordeal is not hardship.
Napoleon was once a prisoner on an island.

Ellis Island

"Well, I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, I found out three things: first, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all; and third, I was expected to pave them." Italian Immigrant

"Island of Hope, Island of Tears"

Merri Weir

Who is to blame for WWI?

Who is to blame for WWI? Is it Gavrilo Princip, for assassinating the archduke? Surely that’s much too simple? We like to identify “good guys” and “bad guys,” but is there danger is that? The reparations laid on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles, most historians agree, contributed to WWII... Can any one person, group of people, country, truly take the blame for such a crisis? Should they? Who should have stopped it? #Teaching Inquiry

Melissa Kozlowski Ziobro

Who is Frances Mary Albrier?

This is a collection of items belonging to, or about, Frances M. Albrier. Although an important female leader and activist during the mid-20th century, many students may not have heard of Ms. Albrier. Encourage students to act as history detectives, exploring the collection to determine why this woman's belongings are in the collections of the Smithsonian.

Some questions to consider:

  • What are Albrier's main accomplishments? What types of occupations did she have?
  • Based on these, what values do you think were important to her?
  • How does Albrier's life reflect major changes for women during the 20th century? Changes for African-Americans?
  • What do these items tell us about challenges facing African-American women in the mid-century?
  • What remains unknown about Albrier based on this collection? Where else could you go to look for more information?
  • Look at an encyclopedia entry for Ms. Albrier. Are there any events mentioned not covered in this collection? What might be a good item to add in order to better show her life?

tags: activism, civil rights, union, labor, voter registration, 60s, world war II, shipyards, WW2, nursing, Red Cross, National Council of Negro Women, Nigeria, independence, peace, moral rearmament, #BecauseOfHerStory

Kate Harris

Who is Andrew Jackson?

Students, in groups of 4, analyze images of Andrew Jackson prior to learning about him. Students should make guesses on this man's personality, job, home, family, etc. to build schema and intrigue students to learn about Jackson's life.

Christine Wilson

Who discovered America?

The question "Who discovered America?" invites a lot of discussion, now that many of us recognize that the simple answer of "Columbus" is not entirely accurate. This collection includes resources to help support student investigation into the answers of these questions:
-What does it mean to "discover" a place?
-How did the first peoples arrive in the Americas?
-What claims to the Vikings and the Chinese have to the discovery of America?
-Should Columbus be celebrated as a hero, villain, or something in between?

There are discussion questions and additional links throughout the collection. Teachers and students are invited to explore the many websites included to further their research.
Kate Harris

Who creates identity?

This activity will be used to reinforce close reading and analysis of visual text in either a pop culture unit or an identity unit in AP English Language and Composition. The idea is to examine how iconic popular images can be remixed to create new meaning and conversation about identity. 

The collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2019 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.


Cheryl Chambliss

Who Belongs in Massachusetts? The Story of Immigration

This collection is to support our 4th grade unit on immigration. 

Our unit makes use of the Massachusetts Department of Education's lesson "America's Salad: The Story of Immigration to Massachusetts" and includes trips to the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Lowell for their program "Yankees and Immigrants" and to the Edward Kennedy Institute for the American Senate for their program "Pathways to Citizenship"

In class, we will explore why people leave their country, where they choose to settle (with a particular focus on Lowell, Massachusetts), and how they are welcomed. Students will explore how



#immigration #Massachusetts

Laura Lamarre Anderson

Who am I?

Choose at least three items (image, audio, video) that tell something about you; who you are as a person, what you think is important, how you want others to “see” you.  Make sure you caption your items with your first and last name and an explanation (1-2 sentences).

Charla Floyd

who am I

Search for your personal meaning in life. Who are you as an individual person? How do you connect as  a member of your community? your country? the world?

louise brady

Who "Cares?"

What does a comparison of the collections of Smithsonian's  Museum of American History, Division of Science and Medicine   (Washington, D.C.) 

and its local affiliate the Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, Ohio) 

tell us about Collecting and the recognition of women in medicine and Science?

Kimberly Lenahan

White Standards impact on enslaved women's hair and fashion

The Transatlantic slave trade was not only physically enslaving but spiritually and mentally oppressing. Slave masters took control of the three social constructs that govern our society their race, class and gender expression and their identity.  Examples of the infringement on the slave's identity can be seen with the treatment of female slaves. In African society hair and fashion are very important as it was used to express one’s self and display status. In order to obliterate the female’s pride and self-esteem they were shaven bald and given very plain clothing to wear. When the slave’s hair began to grow back they had no way to take care of it and scalp conditions would often cause bald spots and thin hair. Slaves had to become creative in order to fulfill basic hygiene needs for example, slaves had to use grease from various meats and butter to moisturize their hair, kerosene to wash their hair, and sheep carding combs to detangle their hair. Many slaves had unhealthy hair due to this but some still had thick, luscious manes that evoked jealousy in white women and challenged their idea of beauty because of this slave women became required to to cover their hair. As an act of silent defiance black women would wrap their hair in beautiful, intricate designs which gave them a self-esteem boost. Just like their hair was controlled so was their body and all perceptions of it. The thick thighs, round butt and ample breasts of black women were new and aesthetically pleasing to white men (to the dismay of their wives). To take the responsibility away from white men they began to create the narrative that black women are temptresses and inherently promiscuous due to the shape of their body. This created shame about their body among black women especially after sexual assaults. Slave masters were aware of this a would strip black women naked publicly which increased their likelihood of being raped. African features made life harder for black women they would be raped, forced to work in the field or seen as unattractive because of how they looked due to this black women began to subscribe to the European ideology of beauty and began to associate whiteness in general with a better quality of life. This can be seen in the clash between field slaves and house slaves because those that worked in the house was usually deemed more attractive in the eyes of the European doctrine and were therefore usually lighter. This is what creates the divide and stratification of black people based on the shades of their skin.

Kayla Waldron

White Standards Impact on Enslaved Women - Social

The Transatlantic Slave Trade was not only physically enslaving but spiritually and mentally oppressing. Slave masters took control of the three social constructs that govern our society their race, class and gender expression and their identity.  Examples of the infringement on the slave's identity can especially be seen with the treatment of female slaves. In this learning lab are a number of resources to explore the control of women's hair, body, and actions in enslavement. 

Kelly Wall

Which One Doesn't Belong

This collection includes digital museum resources and models the listening and speaking strategy Which one Doesn't Belong.  The collection can be copied and adapted for use in your own classroom. 


Jennifer Smith

Which decade is it?

Lisa Major
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