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Found 6,947 Collections


Photographer: Mintz, Chuck


This is a collection of photographs by Chuck Mintz from his Lustron Stories and Hardware Store series. Mintz uses a large format camera.

Copyright Chuck Mintz.

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Keywords: pre-fab homes, Lustron, hardware store, lumber store, hunting license, BBQ sauce, interior home view, exterior home view, domestic interior, bedroom, living room, home furnishing, books, interior decoration, backyard, hammer, community service, rural supplies

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Cameras and Apparatus: Mutoscopes and Title Cards


This is a selection of mutoscope title cards and apparatus. 

The Mutoscope Collection in the National Museum of American History’s Photographic History Collection is among the most significant of its kind in any museum. Composed of 3 cameras, 13 viewers, 59 movie reels, and 53 title cards (movie posters), the collection documents the early years of the most successful and influential motion picture company of the industry’s formative period. It also showcases a unique style of movie exhibition that outlasted its early competitors, existing well into the 20th century.

Keywords: Mutoscope, early motion picture, moving picture, movie 

Written by Ryan Lintelman for a finding aid for the Photographic History Collection:

 The American Mutoscope Company was founded in 1895 by a group of four men, Elias Koopman, Herman Casler, Henry Marvin, and William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, to manufacture a motion picture viewer called the mutoscope, and to produce films for exhibition. 

Dickson had recently left the employ of Thomas Edison, for whom he had solved the problem of “doing for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear” by inventing the modern motion picture. Casler and Dickson worked together to perfect the mutoscope, which exhibited films transferred to a series of cards mounted in the style of a flip book on a metal core, and avoided Edison’s patents with this slightly different style of exhibition. 

The company’s headquarters in New York City featured a rooftop studio on a turntable to ensure favorable illumination, and the short subjects made here found such success that by 1897, the Edison company’s dominance of the industry was in danger. American Mutoscope became American Mutoscope & Biograph in 1899, when the namesake projector, invented by Casler, became the most used in the industry.

Mutoscope viewers were found in many amusement areas and arcades until at least the 1960s. Their inexpensiveness and short, often comical or sensational subjects allowed the machines a far longer life than the competing Edison Kinetoscope. The company also found success in its production and projection of motion pictures, though its activity was mired by patent litigation involving Thomas Edison through the 1910s. 

The notable director D. W. Griffith was first hired as an actor, working with pioneering cinematographer G. W. “Billy” Bitzer, before moving behind the camera at Biograph, and making 450 films for the company. Griffith and Bitzer invented cinematographic techniques like the fade-out and iris shot, made the first film in Hollywood, and launched the careers of early stars Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish. The company, simply renamed the Biograph Company in 1909, went out of business in 1928, after losing Griffith and facing a changing movie industry.  

The Museum’s collection was acquired in the years between 1926 and the mid-1970s. The original mutograph camera and two later models of the camera were given to the Smithsonian in 1926 by the International Mutoscope Reel Company, which inherited Biograph’s mutoscope works and continued making the viewers and reels through the 1940s. 

The viewers, reels, and posters in the collection were acquired for exhibition in the National Museum of American History, and were later accessioned as objects in the Photographic History Collection. Many of the mutoscope reels in the collection date to the period from 1896-1905, and show early motion picture subjects, some of which were thought to be lost films before their examination in 2008.

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Subject: Photographers at Work


This is an assortment of photographs depicting photographers at work, studios and businesses, advertising for photography business and services, business cards and press passes, and equipment on location.

See also People with Cameras and Portraits of Photographers.

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Keywords (subject): photographs and cameras, photographers on site, photography studio, photography gallery, photographic gallery, photographic studio, photography business, working photographer, advertisement, daguerreotypist, ambrotypist, tintypist, ferrotype gallery, tintype gallery, floating gallery, certificate, awards, patch, insignia

Keyword (photography): gelatin silver print, stereoview, stereograph, real photo postcard, ephemera, press print, cabinet card, carte-de-visite, combination print, combination photography, broadside

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Easy PZ: Looking: Ten Times Two (Mary Lord's Civil War Autograph Quilt)

Each Easy PZ collection includes an artwork or museum object and a recorded webinar demonstrating how to use it to develop students' skills with a Harvard Project Zero thinking routine. Supplementary resources provide context relevant to understanding the featured artwork or object.

This collection models the routine "Looking Ten Times Two" with an object from the National Museum of American History. #visiblethinking

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access


this slow?!

jen stebbing


jen stebbing

G is for Victory

I created this collection for families to do together while schools are closed. I will be making a collection a day while we are out of school. Today we will be exploring gardens. The idea is for families to look at the items in the collection and consider what they see in the objects and paintings, what they think, and what they wonder. Families can also watch a videos about gardening, learn about victory gardens, learn about seeds, and listen to a Peter Rabbit read aloud. At the end of the collection I have provided a few ideas for families about what to do next.

If you want to learn more about more about See Think Wonder you can click here to see a video of a teacher using the routine in her classroom.

Ellen Rogers

Westward Expansion Part I

This playlist on Westward Expansion of the United States is designed for self-guided learning with intermittent check-ins for middle school age students. The five learning tasks are divided over the course of 2 weeks, and build on each other. Students will engage with primary and secondary sources as well as visual art, videos, and written texts. Students can complete the tasks online by connecting through Google classroom for each formative and summative assessment.

By the end of the week, students will create an original piece that an expresses an evidence-based argument that expresses their opinion how well the impacts of westward expansion align with its goals.

  • Formative assessments are represented by a chevron (Learning Tasks and Daily Check Ins).
  • Additional processing questions are included with select resources, marked by a question mark in the upper left hand corner of the resource tile.
Cameron Mcconnell


Collection of photos and artworks depicting wars throughout the eras; whether it be weapons of war, military leaders, or illustrations presenting conflict.

Zhethan .

Portraits of Black Children in America Photography Collection

A study of Black youth in America throughout the decades

Andrea Castellano

Climate Change

How Carbon Affects Earth

Sowbhagyalakshmi Areke

Subject: Firefighting


This is an assortment of photographs from the Photographic History Collection related to firefighting and firefighters.

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Keywords: fire, firefighter, firefighting, fireman, firemen, rescue, first responder, parade, helmet, safety gear,  public safety, hero, fire house, fire wagon, fire truck, September 11, 2001, 9/11, Ground Zero, World Trade Center, tragedy, house fire, fire investigation

Keywords (photography): press print, daguerreotype, ambrotype, real photo postcard, chromogenic print, color photography

NMAH Photographic History Collection


This collection is based off the play "Fences" by August Wilson. The collection reflects the main themes, characters, and key moments in the play.

Alitzel Serrano

Mishna-Testing Collection

Devora Hornstein

Sand Dollar

Sand dollar photo and an educational blog about sand dollars. The marine life lesson plan has a few ideas for stay-at-home activities relating to a sand dollar unit.


Types of Triangles

Randi Jones

Photographer: Kasebier, Gertrude


This is a selection of photography by Gertrude Kasebier from the Photographic History Collection (PHC). The PHC is the only museum collection to hold a significant volume of her works of Native Americans.

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Keywords: platinum, gum bichromate, Pictorialism, Native Americans, artists, sculptor, motherhood, portraiture, photographic presentation, ledger drawings, side lighting, window light, grief

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Castle Tour

Building a collection to share with Castle visitors who either take a tour or just express interest in Smithsonian/Castle history.
Michael Rubin

Plastic Pollution & Coral Reefs: A Calamity of Global Proportions

This collection was designed to provide students with an independent learning experience on the relationship between coral reefs and plastic pollution.  Students are presented with the following challenge: 

"You are part of a team that is trying to protect corals from plastic pollution. Billions of plastic items are trapped in coral reefs, and experts predict that number will increase by 40 percent by 2025. It is your goal to identify solutions to this global problem."

Students will use Project Zero Thinking Routines to examine various sources before they create a research-based proposal that addresses solutions to this issue.

Global Competency Connection:

  • Students will “investigate the world” as they explore the importance of coral reefs and the threat of plastics.   
  • This project will allow students to “communicate their ideas” in writing as they design a proposal to "take action" on these issues of global significance. 

Using the Collection

A detailed description of learning activities can be found by clicking the information icon on each resource.  Additionally, notes regarding the use of each Project Zero Thinking Routine are documented as annotations within each individual Thinking Routine tile and provide specific instructions on how align these routines with this collection. 

A handout that students can use to document their thinking can be found here. Note: This handout contains questions specific to Washington, DC, but can be modified to suit any location. 

#ProjectZero #EnvironmentalScience

Aleah Myers

Photographer: Erwitt, Elliot


This is a selection from over 200 photographs by Elliot Erwitt in the Photographic History Collection. 

Copyright held by Elliot Erwitt.

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Keywords: humor, national tragedy, dogs, reportage, fine art photograph, street photography

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Anderson, Paul L.


This is a collection of work by Paul L. Anderson from the Photographic History Collection.

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Keywords: platinum print, gum bichromate, gum over platinum, portrait of photographer, window light, bedroom, portraiture, portraiture of women, child with camera, Pictorialism, still life, photograph in garden, Yiddish newspaper, landscape photography, summer, photographs of children, side lighting

NMAH Photographic History Collection

MAKE IT: Catch the Sun

Create a complementary colors suncatcher inspired by Pat Steir: Color Wheel. Gather some paper, crayons, cooking oil, and a brush and get started!

time: 20–30 minutes | skill level: beginner | topic: complementary colors

About HIRSHHORN KIDS at home

Want to be creative at home? Bring the joy of HIRSHHORN KIDS into your home with unique hands-on projects inspired by the artists in our collection. Projects are designed to keep kids of all ages engaged and interested in exploring art and making. New projects are released every week at [add landing page] and here on the Learning Lab.


Teaching for Community without a Classroom: Leveraging Digital Museum Resources for Distance Learning

This collection serves as a companion resource for the Community Works Institute conference series, Teaching for Community without a Classroom. 

The session will introduce participants to the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a free platform that gives users access to millions of digital resources from across the Smithsonian and beyond, as well as the tools to create interactive learning experiences with them. This session will also include an activity exploring Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" to help students think critically and globally, as well as techniques to consider personal experiences and their connection to museum resources.

Included here are an image of the work from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, an explanatory video with curator E. Carmen Ramos, two  Thinking Routines - "See, Think, Wonder" and "The 3 Y's" - from Harvard's Project Zero Visible Thinking and Global Thinking materials, examples of activities using museum objects and personal stories, and supporting materials. This collection is adapted from a larger teaching collection on the same theme (Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" (, that includes extension activities. 

This collection was co-created with Matthew Decker, Jamie Gillan, and  Tess Porter.  

Keywords: #CommunityInVirtualEd, #LatinoHAC, Latinx, Latino, global competency, competencies, CWI, 3ys

Philippa Rappoport
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