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Found 28 Collections

 

The Invention of Thanksgiving

This collection explores the evolving history of how Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. The introductory video, podcast and lesson in the collection help provide context for the complicated portrayal and depiction of what actually happened at the first Thanksgiving and how it is celebrated today.

The images in this collection are different portrayals of the holiday over time. They have been grouped in order of publication from 1863 to 1994. As you look through them and complete the activities, think about these three key questions:

  • How does the context in which an image was produced affect the result? Meaning, how does what was happening at the time affect what kind of picture of Thanksgiving we see?
  • What do the images say about our national identity: who is welcome in the United States? What do we celebrate and why? Whose version of the Thanksgiving story does each image tell?

This collection was adapted from Kate Harris' collection, Thanksgiving-- A Reflection of A Nation and supplemented with the National Museum of the American Indian's Americans online exhibition. 

#historicalthinking


Ashley Naranjo
19
 

Liberty Bonds of World War I (WW1)

This collection presents three different liberty bonds primary sources dating from 1918: a postcard, sheet music/song, and a celebrity aviator's brochure. With these resources students will explore Liberty Bonds, also called war bonds or liberty loans, which were essentially loans from the American people to the U.S. government to fund the Allies' involvement in World War I. Many public campaigns presented purchasing bonds as the patriotic way to support the war from the home front. Carefully chosen words and imagery conveyed this message and persuaded Americans to act quickly, through both subtle and direct messaging. 

Essential questions: What role did Liberty Bonds play in financing the U.S. WWI effort? How did persuasive language techniques and visuals lead many Americans to see Liberty Bonds as part of their patriotic duty on the home front? 

Keywords: primary source, secondary source, soldiers, World War I, Great War, Ruth Law, "What are you going to do to help the boys?", army, military, Uncle Sam, WWI, persuasion, advertising

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Postal Museum's "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" teacher workshop (July 19, 2017). It focuses on one of the many postcards from this topical collection to demonstrate its use in the secondary classroom. #NPMTeacherPrograms

#historicalthinking


Ashley Naranjo
6
 

Martin Luther King, Jr..: The Later Years (1965 -1968)

Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for equality did not end with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In his last years, King’s focus shifted toward achieving economic equality and combating poverty in the United States, denouncing the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, and contending with the rise of The Black Power Movement. This Learning Lab highlights documents, images, objects, and media from the National Museum of African American History and Culture and other Smithsonian units that help to tell the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s final years, his assassination, and his enduring legacy.

#historicalthinking

Keywords: African American, NMAAHC, Martin Luther King, Jr., American History, Vietnam War, The Black Power Movement, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Votings Rights Act of 1965


Le'Passion Darby
48
 

Voices and Votes - Faces of Change in American Democracy

Description: 

This learning lab introduces students to individuals who have shaped and participated in American democracy over time. Using a variety of resources, take in the stories and impact of Thomas Jefferson, Molly Pitcher, Thomas Paine, Richard Allen, William Apess, Wong Chin Foo, Alice Paul, Ella Baker, and Dolores Huerta.

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America is an exhibition from Museum on Main Street traveling to rural American from 2020-2025. Voices and Votes is based on the exhibition American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith at the National Museum of American History. This learning lab can be used in conjunction with the exhibition or as a stand alone resource on the history of democracy.

Visit Smithsonian History Explorer to learn more!  

#historicalthinking

Guiding Questions:

Who has influenced American democracy? Why did they participate in American democracy and what did they achieve? Have these people changed over time?

How have social movements changed American democracy throughout history?

How can individuals or groups take action to participate in American democracy?

What issues at a local, state, or national level affect your life? Can your participation in American democracy resolve those issues?

Who is participating in and influencing national, state, or local conversations about  American democracy today? Who would you add to this list?

SITES Museum on Main Street
49
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