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Found 5,872 Collections


Road to the American Revolution

This collection highlights a few key events leading to the onset of the American Revolution.

Dina Donini

Great Gatsby

Grace Eberhart

Using Art to Understand Reconstruction

This lesson is designed for a middle school (7th grade) US History lesson on Reconstruction. It is aligned with Virginia SOL USII.3B. The teacher will use Visual Thinking Strategies to help students interpret Winslow Homer's "Visit from the Old Mistress" and create more interest in the personal side of this time period. Then, students will work in partners to read a text and complete interactive notes on terms and ideas from Reconstruction. Finally, the class will come back together to use Harvard Project Zero's Visible Thinking Routines to modify their understanding of the painting based on what they have learned from the reading passage. #SAAMteach
Michelle Moses

When Irish American eyes are smilin'

This is a collection of objects, from the National Museum of American History, that were selected by museum staff for what they reveal about the Irish American experience.

The manager of Museum Advisory Committees in the museum's Office of External Affairs, Daniel Gifford is a scholar of holidays (see his post on Thanksgiving cartoons) and the history of vacationing in America. Timothy Winkle is the deputy chair and curator in the Division of Home and Community Life. Eric Jentsch is the deputy chair and curator in the Division of Culture and the Arts. Christy Wallover is a project assistant in the Division of Armed Forces History.

Philippa Rappoport

Breakout Social Studies

Jamie Rivers

Making Inferences



at the front away from the front to the front
Suzanne Micallef

Dia de Los Muertos

Nov 1-2

Nicole Papa-Tudor

"Women's Work"

This collection explores the conception of "women's work" and challenges users to think about whether such a phrase has meaning.

Teachers and students can use the collection in a number of ways: grouping or sorting the resources chronologically to explore change over time; writing definitions of "women's work" for different time periods; completing image or text analysis on individual resources; or researching women's contributions in a particular field.

This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative. In fact, this could be a point of discussion: what, or who, do you think is missing from this collection?

Kate Harris

Martin Luther King Portraits

Examine these different portraits of Martin Luther King Jr.
Stephanie Norby

Taking a Closer Look: The Photographs of Gordon Parks

This collection uses the strategy, "What Makes You Say That?" to take a closer look at a photograph by Gordon Parks.

Stephanie Norby

Captains of Industry

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, powerful entrepreneurs dominated American industry. These individuals were both creative and insightful in the creation of American corporations that monopolized many facets of distribution and production. While each of these individuals was unique, they shared qualities that made them successful in American capitalism.

Arthur Glaser

School Integration

The topic of K-12 school integration is a complex one that goes far beyond an understanding of that landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. How have efforts at integration been sustained in the 60+ years since that case was first decided? How have concerns about socioeconomic differences been addressed (or not addressed) through school districting? How do district and national policies impact individual students for better or worse? This is a topical collection that addresses the history of school integration but also includes references to and resources reflecting the issue today.

Tags: segregation, Little Rock Nine, desegregation, charter schools, Arkansas, busing, Boston, racism, prejudice, civil rights

Kate Harris

The Black Arts Movement

‚ÄúSometimes referred to as 'the artistic sister of the Black Power Movement,' the Black Arts Movement stands as the single most controversial moment in the history of African-American literature‚ÄĒpossibly in American literature as a whole. Although it fundamentally changed American attitudes both toward the function and meaning of literature as well as the place of ethnic literature in English departments, African-American scholars as prominent as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., have deemed it the 'shortest and least successful' movement in African American cultural history."--"Black Creativity: On the Cutting Edge," Time (Oct. 10, 1994)

This topical collection includes background information as well as examples of poetry and art from the Black Arts Movement. Two excerpts from essays are also included. There are also some examples of works from artists who rejected the premise of the Black Arts Movement.

Students could use this collection as a starting point for further research or to create an illustrated timeline of the movement. Works could be analyzed for their reflection or rejection of themes like: black nationalism, self-determination, "the black is beautiful" movement, and liberation. Students could also evaluate the merits of the arguments for and against a "black arts movement" as articulated by Karenga and Saunders in the text excerpts.

This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative.

Kate Harris


Chris Railey

Resources for Teaching African-American History

A collection of teaching resources about African-American history, from slavery to modern-day. This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative. This collection will be updated frequently and includes both individual artifacts and lesson plans.

Kate Harris

The Black Power Movement

Teaching about the Black Power Movement can be challenging, but has rich rewards. Misconceptions about the Black Power Movement abound, but the ability to contrast their strategies and aims with the earlier Civil Rights Movement allows Social Studies teachers to discuss the complex ways that social movements evolve, change, and respond to the times. In addition, a study of the Black Power Movement helps give context for a broader study of the economic and political shifts in the 1970s and 1980s and the rise of identity politics. This teaching collection includes a variety of resources that could be used to teach about the Black Power Movement, organized into sections for:

-People in the Movement

-Goals and Strategies of the Movement

-Teaching Activities

General guiding questions for this collection include:

-What were the distinct problems that the Black Power Movement tried to address? Do they remain today?

-What were the strategies of the Black Power Movement? Do you agree or disagree with these?

-Why and how do social movements develop and evolve?

-What defines a successful social movement? Was the Black Power Movement successful?

- Can a social movement survive beyond the demise of its leadership?

-What is the role of the arts in promoting the ideals of social movements?

This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative.

Kate Harris

Teaching about the Chicano Movement

This collection gathers resources and artifacts pertaining to the Chicano Movement of the post-WWII era. The following paragraphs, from the Educating Change website, briefly define the movement:

The "Chicano Movement" has been used by historians to describe a moment of ethnic empowerment and protest among Americans of Mexican descent beginning in the 1960s. "Chicano" had long existed as a pejorative term among young Mexican Americans prior to this period. By the 1960s, however, young Mexican Americans embraced the label, reinscribing it with notions of pride in ones' Mexican heritage and defiance against institutions and individuals who practiced or condoned discrimination against Mexicans.

The "movement" or movimiento was really a convergence of multiple movements that historians have broken down into at least four components: [1] A youth movement represented in the struggle against discrimination in schools and the anti-war movement; [2] the farmworkers movement; [3] the movement for political empowerment, most notably in the formation of La Raza Unida Party; and [4] the struggle for control and ownership over "homelands" in the US Southwest ( We will add an additional component of [5] creating art and music to reflect and voice cultural pride.

Students will review the collection here and identify five items that connect to one of the components listed above. They will then create their own collection that acts as a digital exhibit, teaching others about the Chicano Movement. This assignment is described in further detail on the last resource in this collection.

This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative.

Kate Harris

September 11, 2001

Items relating to the terrorist attacks on 9/11
Amy Theisen

Corps of Discovery

This was a group designed by the United States to go on an expedition to explore the West. It lead up to be called The Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Kelsi Gelle

Lewis and Clark

Savanna Lipper

corps of discovery project

the fascinating history of Lewis and Clark
Brody Landreth

Photographs from Ellis Island

This is a collection of five photographs taken in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as a handout to be used with the photos. Use the collection as a warm up or prompt for further research about the experience of immigrants to America. Teachers could assign different photographs to small groups so that students can share ideas and questions as they closely examine each one, focusing on differences between what is clearly evident in each photo as well as what can be inferred or hypothesized.

What can we learn about the experience of immigrants at Ellis Island from photographs? What emotions are expressed in these images? Challenge students to consider the photographers process and perspective: Are these images staged or candid? What kind of statement do you think the photographer might be making about immigration at this time?

More teaching ideas are include in the "Notes to Other Users" section.

Kate Harris

Take Action on Air Pollution

This collection of resources invites students to examine how societies have been convinced to take action regarding air pollution over time, and to craft their own persuasive message regarding pollution. Students will identify several different means of compelling individuals and groups to change their behavior in order to benefit the environment. They will then evaluate the effectiveness of those strategies. Finally, they will create their own message convincing others to take steps towards improving the environment.

Tags: smoke control, smog, pollution, environmentalism, earth day, advertising, persuasive writing, ad campaign

Kate Harris
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