Found 374 Learning Lab Collections
How did colonialism affect the lives and livelihoods of Africans? The kinds of money people used can provide some clues. This collection contains coins and notes introduced by the colonial powers which Africans received in return for the sale of produce and used for paying taxes. It also includes cowrie shells, kissi pennies and manillas, which Africans often used to buy everyday goods in local markets despite colonial government policies banning them.
1. Do you think art is universal in its qualities and nature?
2. WHY is art created?
3. Who decides what is art and what is not art?
This collection supports the free Smithsonian Science How webcast, "What's a Lichen? How a Smithsonian Scientist Studies a Unique Symbiosis," scheduled to air on November 14, 2019. Manu is a scientist at the Smithsonian who studies lichens, a lichenologist. She collects lichens from all over the world, depositing them into the U.S. National Herbarium, which is located at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Manu identifies the lichens she collects with observations of how the lichen looks, their DNA data and where they were found.
Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus. They have been on earth for millions of years, living on rocks, trees, and soil in all different habitats on all seven continents. Even though lichens are all around us, scientists are still learning about what they are, where they live, and how many different species of lichens there are.
Fungus is any group of spore-producing organisms feeding on organic matter, and include molds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools. Algae is a simple, non-flowering plant. Algae contain chlorophyll and produce sugar through photosynthesis, like other plants, but do not have true stems, roots, leaves, or vascular tissue like most other plants. Lichenization is a fungal lifestyle, and therefore the name of lichen is the name of the fungus component.
When you look at a lichen, what you’re looking at is the “house” that the fungus and algae grow together. Scientists call this house a “thallus.” When algae and fungus come together to form this house, we see a lichen. This partnership is called a symbiotic relationship, because it helps both the fungus and algae survive. Research has shown that lichens are not a natural biological group, meaning they do not all come from a single common ancestor, in other words, lichens have many origins. Currently there are almost 20,000 species of lichenized fungi known.
In this symbiotic relationship, the fungus and algae benefit from being associated with each other. The fungus provides the house, its shelter (the thallus). This shelter helps the algae survive in habitats where it would otherwise be exposed to the elements and possibly could not survive. The algae provide food for the fungus, in the form of sugar. The sugar is a byproduct of photosynthesis that occurs within the algae.
Lichens are very important for the environment. They are an important food source for many animals, provide nest materials for birds, and provide habitat and material for biomimicry for insects and other organisms.
Lichens are also important for humans by providing natural dyes, perfumes, litmus paper, and even food. Humans even use lichens as bio-indicators, organisms that help humans monitor the health of the environment. Some species of lichens are sensitive to environmental pollution, so their presence or absence can help us understand more about the health of the environment, like air quality.
Lichens produce over one thousand different chemical compounds, most of them unique to lichens. These compounds include acids and pigments. Some chemicals may even fluoresce under UV light, making them important components for lichen identification.
Lichens have DNA, which is used to identify lichen and compare relationships amongst and within species. DNA analysis has been an important tool for lichenologists in identifying and understanding the biodiversity of lichens.
Sign up for the Smithsonian Science How webcast to introduce your students to Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno! The program airs at 11am and 2pm on November 14, 2019. Sign up and view the program here: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/...
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
Willi Smith (1958-1987)
Willi Smith was an African American fashion designer whose street wear line known as WilliWear was and experiment of democracy in fashion. WilliWear designs were known to be bold, blurring the lines between high and low culture, and his work often involved collaborations with other artists and designers. The openly gay designer's career was cut short when he died in 1987 from complications to AIDS.
This collection is a representation of the March 2020 exhibition Willi Smith: Street Couture at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum that features over 200 pieces from Smith’s work and career, including video, sketches, patterns, photographs, and garments.
This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, recordings, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature, Four Olympic stadiums with unexpected afterlives. Use these resources to introduce or augment your study of this topic. If you want to personalize this collection by changing or adding content, click the Sign Up link above to create a free account. If you are already logged in, click the copy button to initiate your own version. Learn more here.
Among the many purposes art fulfills, it can convey a message, allow self-expression, and indicate a way of life. In the Revolutionary War era, while boys were taught traditional knowledge (much like today), girls were instructed in the arts--including sewing.1 This medium helped women contribute to their home as well as communicated thoughts and emotions of them and their country.
The art of sewing was used in practical manners through household items like quilts and bed coverings, giving a picture of normal life. Even the decorative works were practical; Education accessible only for the rich, the art was displayed in houses to show off their wealth and skill in order to attract suitors. It also conveyed values about religion and family, with passages and pictures, helping people in their time--and ours--understand their thoughts that otherwise would have gone unacknowledged. Some women even professionally embroidered to exchange it for money and goods, giving some financial independence in a time of assumed submission. 1
American culture also form into what it is today through these creations. Using stylized images, they created the picture of a patriot, dictating to the nation what a true American looks like and promoting the war effort. It showed what the country was as well as what it could be. In a time of adjustment and confusion, it gave the nation a direction of how to live.
Sewing gave a voice to the voiceless and helped define a woman's traditional role in American society. From the practical household items to a platform to display their personality, it gave them an outlet to educate and express themselves, giving them a way to participate and contribute to the country.
The first article is an embroidery frame. This was used to hold embroidery in place when creating. It is what opened the door for so many women to learn this skill and create a whole new influence in America.
The second article listed, called Sweet Sampler, is an example of what a girl would learn to do in school. This was made by an 13-year-old. A simple scene with just , this shows the beginning of a hard-to-attain education and the seeds of what grew into a popular form of expression.
The third article shows a quilt, one example of a household item done by sewing. Though the creator had no kids, it shows how the skill could be used practically to keep a family warm.
The fourth article is a coverlet (bedspread). Its design was inspired by Indian bed hangings, showing how American culture is influenced by outsiders-- and shaped by it-- through this medium. It is yet another example of how sewing was applied in basic items.
The fifth article, a pair of decorated shoes, was the only one I found of its kind. It was designed after German trends; this is another sample of other nations' influences on America, creating what is considered "American" today. In addition, it shows another use for sewing and embroidery.
Article six is a woman's stylized sampler tracking her genealogy. This is an example of work done with sewing to attract suitors and display wealth and education. It showcases what is considered "good" values through this display, giving a hint to the culture at the time.
Article seven demonstrates religious virtues. This perpetuates the cultural religious emphasis at the time, especially among the elite. This is yet another indication of American culture and also shows the woman's values-- a detail we otherwise wouldn't have known about.
Article eight, along with the rest following it, are more professional. Made with embroidery thread, it depicts a pleasant rural life, giving an idea of what was considered ideal life (for an elite, at least). The artist clearly had to develop this skill with the very little independence they were given.
Article nine's details were done using needlework. The artist depicted a woman flying an American flag in a picturesque setting. This became "a symbol of liberty to Americans during the Revolutionary War period" (National Museum of American History).
The final article depicts Liberty with armor and "a boy and girl looking toward a distance hilltop" (National Museum of American History). There are national emblems and symbols included, showing this picture is patriotic. This is yet another example of women influenced (as well as influencing) nationalism and the American war effort.
Here is a collection of videos from a Women's History Month family festival, that includes interviews and performance footage with Kathak dancer Prachi Dalal, Native American singing group Ulali, mother-daughter storyteller and artist Yona Zeldis McDonough and Malcah Zeldis, and the Georgia Tech Glee Club paying tribute to the women in the audience for Women's History Month.
This topical collection features forty international stamps that were issued during the World War I era. These stamps will serve as inspiration and a starting point for teacher-created Smithsonian Learning Lab collections during the National Postal Museum's workshop, "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" (July 2017)
This lesson plan teaches innate and learned animal behavior by having students watch videos of Bao Bao, the Smithsonian National Zoo's panda, and answer questions about her behavior in the videos. The videos range from Bao Bao as a newborn to her first birthday and have quiz questions connected to them to help students better understand how to observe animal behavior. There is a hand out for students to read while watching the videos to better help them answer questions. There is also a chart attached that can be used by the teacher to write down the behavior of Bao Bao in each video in fifteen second increments. This teacher lesson plan can also be adapted to be used as a class assignment, if needed.
Discovery Theater is a pan-institutional museum theater dedicated to bringing theatre to young audiences and general visitors on and off the Mall since 1969. Recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 7, this delightful Discovery Theater original offers a fresh take on three classic tales . The Little Red Hen asks the question “Who will help?” Jack and the Beanstalk proves that small is mighty. And The Gingerbread Man… well, he’s just one bad cookie. Filled with delightful songs, puppets, and audience participation, this bilingual story-time spectacular is not to be missed!
Jack and the Beanstalk: Our version of this classic story teaches kids about overcoming adversity and intervening on behalf of those with less power than you.
The Little Red Hen: This story teaches kids about the important of helping others!
The Gingerbread Man: This fun tale also serves as an example of not trusting someone without carefully considering what their motives might be.