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A prototype is an experimental model of an idea. It is a way to give our ideas a presence that we can put in front of someone else to see if our idea has value. It is important to match the fidelity of the prototype to the stage of the design process. At the beginning we want to use low-fidelity prototypes. Low-Fidelity prototyping refers to rapid prototyping from cheap, readily available materials. At this stage we are testing broad concepts such as materials, forms, usability.
This learning lab collection documents low-fidelity prototyping objects, techniques, activities and examples specific to Built Environment Design (Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture). This collection is designed for use by students, teachers and parents. After you explore this learning lab collection you will be ready to embark on your own prototyping adventures.
- Understand the materials used in low-fidelity prototyping
- Identify ways that designers gain inspiration for design ideas by exploring designed objects
- Consider how ideas can be represented, tested and iterated using prototypes
- Understand and explore techniques to create low-fidelity prototypes
- Consider how prototypes are used at various stages of the design process
This collection includes artifacts and images that represent the Five Pillars of Islam. Students should complete the chart (included as the final resource) by first explaining what each pillar is by creating an image that represents the pillar. Then, after looking through the collection, they should identify an artifact that represents each one and explain why.
Tags: Islam, Muslim, religion, Muhammad, object analysis, practice, pilgrimage, hajj, fasting, Ramadan, Shahadah, zakat, tithe, salat, prayer
Going to the American History museum and African American museum with my ENGL101A class
Many aspects of American culture, traditions, history, and systems make up the nation's identity. This collection will help us dip our toes into this deep well of information by first looking at geographic representations of the United States.
This Learning Lab from the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will explore the landscape painting through Grafton Tyler Brown's piece View of Lake Okanagan (1889).
Landscape provides an avenue for exploration and observation unlike any other genre of visual art. Studying landscape can be a great introduction to close looking and appreciation of natural lands for young minds.
Visitors to this Learning Lab collection will have the opportunity to learn more about nineteenth-century painter, Grafton Tyler Brown, and his approach to landscape painting while trying their hand at their own landscape! The questions, prompts, and information provided in this Learning Lab will help students develop their ability to follow instructions and hone their skills in drawing, observation, and creative expression.
The guiding questions of this Learning Lab are
- What is landscape painting?
- How can artists express themselves and tell stories through landscape?
- What can we learn about landscape painting as an art though making our own landscapes?
- How do Americans engage with nature?
If you are new to Learning Lab, visit https://learninglab.si.edu/help/getting-started to learn how to get started!
The J. Ross Baughman collection in the Photographic History Collection at the National Museum of American History includes some 290 photographs, his Pulitzer prize, five contact sheets, an album, two books, and cameras. The photographs include various subjects such as his time in the Middle East, an unpublished series entitled Beautified, as well as, prints from Baughman's image assignments for Life magazine during the 1980s , including a story about two gay fathers.
Some of Baughman's cameras are seen the PHC's Learning Lab collection, Leicas.
Objects from Baughman's career and professional experiences can be found in two other National Museum of American History Collections (accessions 2010.0228 and 2010.0229).
For additional materials, search collections.si.edu.
Keywords: photojournalist, photojournalism, Rhodesia, Pulitzer Prize, undercover work, journalism, photography and danger, newspapers, print culture, picture magazines, print journalism, freelance photographer, controversy, contemporary politics, international affairs, protest, community activism, AIDS, gay family life, military, mercenaries
This is a sampling of photographic self-portraits.
Professional and amateur photographers have been turning the camera on themselves since photography started. There are a number of strategies and tools that professional and amateur photographers have used, including mirrors, cable releases, timing devices, and simply turning the camera around at arm's length. Cell phones now allow almost effortless self-portraits, known as "selfies."
Keywords: self-portrait, self portrait, selfie, bulb release, string release, timed portrait, cable release, reflection in mirror
For additional images, search at collections.si.edu.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture welcomes you to learn about African American STEM contributions at NASA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) became an official government agency in 1958, born from its predecessor, the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics (NACA).
In 1961, NASA selected its first African American astronaut candidate by the name of Edward Dwight Jr. Although he never flew in space, his selection as an astronaut candidate was a public display to integrate the space agency. Until then, NASA only had white male astronauts flying even though African American scientists, mathematicians, and engineers had been working for the agency for more than a decade.
Finally in 1981, Guion Bluford became the first African American to fly in space. Since then African Americans have continued to fill positions at NASA and make their contributions in space, from behind a desk, and in the laboratory.
This Learning Lab celebrates these individuals, their bravery, their exploratory spirit, and their desires to express themselves fully through their commitment to space exploration.
This is a celebration of them all.
Keywords: NASA, NMAAHC, NASM, Astronaut, African American, Scientist, Engineer, Mathematician, Technology, Space, Space Travel
This is a selection of Leica cameras from Photographic History Collection (PHC) at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The PHC holds has a significant collection of Leica cameras, lenses, and accessories totaling more than 200 items including over 25 cameras from the 1920s to the 2000s. This Learning Lab collection includes a pdf finding aid for Leica cameras. Included in the PHC are cameras used by photojournalists Carl Mydans and J. Ross Baughman.
For additional collections, search collections.si.edu.
Keywords: Leica, Barnack, 35mm, photography, camera
From the finding aid written by Anthony Brooks:
Leica Cameras have a unique position in the history of 35mm film photography. The Leica was not the first still camera taking 35mm film. It was not even the first commercially successful 35mm camera, but it set the gold standard for all other 35mm cameras and turned 35mm cameras from toys into serious professional tools.
The 35mm film gauge was first introduced in 1892 by Kodak for use by Thomas Edison to make movie films. Edison quickly settled on a standard frame size (18 x 24mm) with four sprocket holes per frame. This movie standard has remained unchanged. The growth of the movie industry in the early twentieth century required large quantities of 35mm film. 1000 feet of 35mm movie film creates less than 20 minutes of movie images. Soon there was interest in using this film for still photography and after 1910, the first 35mm cameras appeared. Most of the early 35mm camera designs used the single frame 18x24mm format and many used lengths of film capable of taking a hundred or more exposures. The quality of photographs from this small format was often disappointing and the number of exposures was a deterrent to amateur photographers. A contemporary small Kodak vest pocket camera took larger negatives on an eight exposure roll and produced better quality prints. The majority of early 35mm cameras were not commercially successful and are rare today. One exception was the American made Ansco Memo introduced in 1926 that for a few years had a dedicated following. However, the introduction of the Leica 35mm camera was to dramatically change the status of 35mm photography.
The Leica was designed by Oscar Barnack, an employee of the Leitz Optical Company based in Wetzlar, Germany. Barnack may have conceived the first Leica for test exposures in the 18x24mm single frame format. Test exposures were often taken to check the lighting set-up for movies and portraits. However, at some point Barnack decided to design a 35mm camera for photography in its own right. In order to improve
image quality Barnack used two single frames and thus the standard 35mm film frame was born. The PHC contains many significant items that represent the history of Leica cameras.
By Paapi Merlin Koonooka (St. Lawrence Island Yupik ), 2009
(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)
Sea, Land, Rivers
Sivuqaq, the Yupik name for St. Lawrence Island, rises out of the Bering Sea in the heart of a vast and bountiful marine ecosystem. All around us, depending on the time of year, we have walrus, whales and seals. Standing on the point at Gambell, you can watch ducks and seabirds flying by in endless motion over the sea. Our island lies just below the Arctic Circle, so the winters are long and often extreme. The wind gusts at fifty miles per hour, and the wind chill can get to minus fifty degrees Fahrenheit or lower. When spring and summer bring longer daylight and new life, people travel out from the villages of Gambell and Savoonga to their hunting and fishing camps around the island. Many of those places are ancient settlements where our ancestors lived up to two thousand years ago.
I was born and raised in Gambell and have been a subsistence hunter there for my entire life, going back to when we traveled with dog teams instead of on snow machines and all-terrain vehicles. Marine mammals, fish, birds, eggs, reindeer and wild plants are important in the island diet throughout the year, far more so than store-bought foods. On the tundra and mountainsides people gather ququngaq (willow leaf), nunivak (roseroot), angukaq (dwarf fireweed) and various edible roots. In late summer the aqavzik (cloudberry) and pagunghaq (crowberry) ripen.
Walrus have always been essential to our way of life. We hunt them in open water and later on the frozen ocean, making use of nearly everything as either food or material. The meat and fat are bundled into large tuugtuq (meatballs) to store in underground food cellars, and in the past that meat sustained our dog teams as well. Good-quality hides of female walrus are stretched, split, cured and stitched to cover the angyapik (hunting boat). Walrus stomachs become heads for drums, and their intestines, ivory and whiskers are transformed into adornment and art. Our predecessors used the skins to make tough rope and covers for the nenglu (traditional house) and interior aargha (sleeping room). They spun walrus sinew into thread and carved the tusks into tools and sled runners.
I am a whaling captain like my grandfather, granduncles and father before me, and I serve on the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. Traditionally, the captain prepared for whaling in a religious way, using charms, special songs and rituals that showed the great respect we feel for this animal. While these rituals are no longer practiced, strict hunting protocols and the responsibility of the captain remain unchanged. A bowhead whale is so immense and powerful that hunters, even though armed with modern weapons, are really at its mercy. We use skin-covered boats and sails rather than motors during the approach, keeping absolute silence, because whales have a very sharp sense of hearing. But they know we are there even if there is no sound. That is why we say that a whale decides to let itself be taken, not the other way around. One whale provides an abundance of food that is shared with families on the island and across Alaska.
Our hunting lifestyle has never been harmful to the animal species. Nature has her own way of opening up the ice and sea for us or withholding access. During storms we have to stay at home and wait for a change. When the weather is nice, the conditions may still not be right for going out, even if walrus are floating by on top of the ice floes. Sometimes we will be punished this way if we’ve failed in our respect. But as long as the creatures make themselves available to us, we will gather them for food and traditional needs.
Community and Family
The people of the island have close ties to the Yupik communities of Ungaziq and Sireniki on the Siberian coast, and we speak dialects of the same language. Before the cold war began in the late 1940s, our families traveled back and forth to visit, trade and seek marriage partners. The forty-mile trip took a full day in a skin boat using sail and paddles. Visits resumed in the 1980s after glasnost took hold in Russia, and now with a fast powerboat and calm seas, the crossing takes only two or three hours.
Some of my best memories from childhood are of traveling with my dad. He had a wonderful dog team, and in the wintertime we would go on the sled to trap white fox. Even in the summer we’d take it across the gravel and tundra. When I started raising a family I did the same thing. We would hitch up a team of twelve dogs to pull our heavy sled, which was nine feet long with steel runners. As a child you really look forward to going out with your parents and elders for food gathering and hunting, because you want to learn.
I sometimes think of early days when everyone was living in nenglut (traditional houses). They would go seal hunting on the ice, pulling whale baleen toboggans behind them to bring back the meat. You had a backpack and a rifle slung over your shoulders and an ice tester to see where it was safe to walk. You had to observe the ice and the direction it was moving, making sure not to get caught on an outgoing current. Boys were doing all that by the age of ten or twelve, and by fifteen you had to know everything. Your parents and elders made sure you were ready, or you weren’t allowed to go alone.
Our culture is changing rapidly in some ways, more slowly in others. Fluency in the Yupik language is declining in the younger generations, although among the older people our daily conversation continues to be in Yupik. There is less respect among some young people now for their parents and elders, too much television and video gaming, problems with drugs and alcohol. We need to find a balance between traditional and modern ways, and I believe the best way to do that is through education. If you can be successful in your formal education, you will be in a strong position to help preserve your Yupik heritage. I’m glad to see so many young people still going out with their families to the places where we have always hunted and fished, even if now they travel on machines instead of on foot or by dog sled. They are still eating the same foods that we have always gathered and staying connected to our land and way of life.
Ceremony and Celebration
The remoteness of the island has helped to sustain some of the ways of our forebears. The practices of atuq and aghula (Yupik drumming, singing and dancing) were never interrupted, despite the introduction of Christianity, and people continue to compose new songs and motions. Both communities on the island hold dance celebrations where we welcome visitors and performers from mainland Alaska, Russia and beyond. Other ceremonies are more family-oriented, marking life events such as marriage and the birth and naming of a child. When a young person catches his first seal, a special small celebration is held to share the catch with relatives, making sure that everyone gets a taste. The same thing happens with your first bird.
Many of the former ceremonial practices pertained to hunting, especially whaling. To prepare for the season, a captain would use certain songs that were specific to each clan. The purpose was to please the whale spirits. When the hunters captured a whale, the boats would come back in a line with the successful captain and crew in front. Everyone was deeply thankful, and they celebrated by feasting, singing and dancing. That feeling of appreciation and gratitude for the food that has been provided is just as strong today, even though our beliefs and customs have been modified.
The Yupik culture has a very long, rich history, and at the Smithsonian you will see artifacts that our ancestors created hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Today many of the island’s residents are world-renowned Native artists whose work is shown in national and international museums and art galleries. Some of the ivory they use comes from archaeological sites, and this material, crucial to sustaining life generations ago, is equally important today because of the income generated by art sales. But much more than that, their work is a celebration of our culture, heritage and continuing way of life.
Tags: St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Yupik, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
- How does a person's gaze, stance or the way they use their hands communicate a mood or feeling?
- In artworks depicting two or more people, how are they interacting? What does that say about their relationship to each other?
What kind of relationship can you find between shapes, colors, or lines depicted in these nonrepresentational artworks? How could they symbolize a real-life relationship?
The Carl Mydans Collection at the National Museum of American History consists of 166 photographs that span the years from the mid-1930s to the late 1960s, and two Halliburton camera cases that contain all his photographic equipment.
For additional images, search collections.si.edu.
Keywords: photojournalist, photojournalism, war photography, documentary photography, visual culture, picture magazines, current events, reportage, crisis photography, war coverage, Farm Security Administration, FSA, World War Two, World War II, WWII, Korean War, Life Magazine, U.S. Camera, Time Magazine
Text from PHC finding aid written by Vanessa Pares:
The photographs in the Photographic History Collection include the rural images created as part of his work for the Farm Security Administration and those taken while on assignment for LIFE magazine. In the mid-1930s, he covered cattle drives in the Big Bend, the oil boomtown of Freer and “brushhogs,” migratory workers who lived by the side of the road. A few years later, he completed the series on “sandhogs,” construction workers who built the Midtown Tunnel under the East River in New York City.
During the 1940s, he recorded events of the Second World War, mainly in the Pacific theater. Once the war ended, he was sent to Bikini Island Atoll, an island chain in the Pacific that is part of the Marshall Islands chain. There he documented the evacuation of the people of Bikini from their home island in order to clear the way for major atomic testing, and the Bikinians' exodus to nearby Rongerik.
The rest of the collection includes portraits of major political, military, and literary figures, such as Winston Churchill, General MacArthur and William Faulkner. Carl Mydans was a storyteller. Always seeking the drama and history of a moment, his pictures are meant to recount a story with no words. Carl Mydans was born in Boston on May 20, 1907. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism, after which he went on to work as a free-lance writer for the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe. While a staff writer for the American Banker, Mydans began to carry a miniature camera on his assignments.
In 1935, he carried a camera full time, joining the photographic unit of the Resettlement Administration, which merged into the Farm Security Administration in 1937. Under the supervision of Roy Stryker, a group of photographers—composed of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evens, Ben Shahn, Arthur Rothstein and Carl Mydans, among others—was sent on assignment to make a difference by reporting and documenting the plight of the poor farmer. Their task was to create a “pictorial history” of agriculture and focus on those most affected by the Great Depression. The photographers would tour the nation and interpret it through the shape of the land and the faces of the unemployed, the migrant farmers, and the sharecroppers. During this time, Mydans documented cotton production in the southeastern states, the impoverished dwellings of New England, and the creation of new “greenbelt towns” or government-sponsored planned communities.
In 1936, Mydans left the FSA and was hired by the newly established LIFE magazine. One of his first assignments for LIFE was a photo essay on Texas, focusing mainly on the oil boomtown of Freer. It was also at this time that he met Shelley Smith, a LIFE researcher and journalist whom he married the following year. Once World War II broke out, the couple was sent to Europe as a reporter-photographer team. At first they went to England, covering London under siege, then to Sweden, and then to Finland, where Mydans had his first combat experience. The couple later traveled to Italy to cover Fascism, to France to witness its defeat, to Pearl Harbor to photograph American naval operations, and then to China. When the attack on Pearl Harbor occured, Carl and his wife were in Manila, the Philippines. Early in 1942, the Philippines were invaded by the Japanese and the couple was imprisoned. After almost nine months of captivity, they were moved from Santo Tomas University—an internment camp for civilians—to Shanghai. On December 1943, the couple, along with 1,400 American and Canadian citizens, was repatriated. Although Mydans was unable to cover the war, he was grateful to have survived and continue to watch and photograph all the events that encompassed his life. Soon after his return to the States, he was sent back to the European front.
In 1944, he accompanied Allied forces to Italy where he covered the campaigns in Monte Cassino and Rome. After Italy, Mydans traveled to Marseilles to cover the fighting in southern France. Following the liberation of France, he was rushed back to the South Pacific to rejoin Gen. Douglas MacArthur for his triumphant return to the Philippines. Three weeks after the invasion of Luzon, Mydans took part in the charge into Manila—which concluded with the liberation of the remaining 4,000 civilian captives in Santo Tomas—alongside the 8th Cavalry Regiment. Months later, on September 2, 1945, Mydans was one of the few privileged photojournalists to be present at the site of the official Japanese surrender on the U.S.S. Missouri. After the Second World War, the Mydans took up residence in Tokyo, where he worked as chief editor of the TIME-LIFE news bureau. During those years, he captured the earthquake at Fukui, the Communist Revolution in China, and the war in Korea.
In 1950, while on a trip to New York, Mydans received word of the outbreak of the Korean war. It only took him ten days to get himself shipped back into battle. Later that year, he received a Gold Achievement Award from U.S. Camera for his coverage of the Korean conflict. After the war, Mydans completed assignments in England, Berlin, and Russia, and traveled to Vietnam in 1968 to do a story on refugees. After the closing of LIFE, he continued to work as a photojournalist with TIME magazine, and wrote books based on his experiences at war. Mydans died on August 16, 2004.