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Found 6,303 Collections


Why are written laws so important? #TeachingInquiry

Hammurabi created the first set of written laws in Mesopotamia. Why was this a huge step for civilization?
Kim Counihan

Why did the Second Great Awakening inspire reform movements?

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

Kate Harris

Why is Art Important to Atta Hashmi

This is my collection.

Attaur Hashmi

Why is Art important?

Val Brodsky

Why Is Celia Cruz Called the Queen of Salsa?

Celia Cruz celebrated her Cuban American identity as one of the first women salsa singers. 

Because of Her Story presents a YouTube miniseries where students speak with Smithsonian curators about four women who shaped American history and culture. In Why Is Celia Cruz Called the Queen of Salsa?,Mincy, a student, speaks with Ariana A. Curtis, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

See more YouTube videos from the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative, Because of Her Story. #BecauseOfHerStory

Because Of Her Story

Why Move West?

Each resource symbolizes a reason why Americans chose to move west.  For each one, complete the following activity:

1) Source it: Is it a primary or secondary source? Who made it? When was it made? What is the author's purpose (PIE)? Hint- click the i on the left side of the screen to learn more about the source.

2) Identify at least 4 details that you see in the image.

3) Why would this resource motivate people to move West? Use a specific detail that you saw to prove your point.

Michelle Moses

Why Move West?

Each resource symbolizes a reason why Americans chose to move west.  For EACH one, complete the following activity:

1) Source it: What is it? Who made it? When was it made? What is the author's purpose/why was it made? Hint- click the i on the left side of the screen to learn more about the source.

2) Identify at least 3 details that you see in EACH image.

3) Why would this resource motivate people to move West? Use a specific detail that you saw to prove your point.

Terri Duncan

Why some objects become cultural heritage and others don't?

This collection aims to discuss the reasons why some objects are elevated to the category of cultural heritage while others are not. Museums are important institutions in this process and the collection of a museum is by nature a collection of cultural heritages. From the survey of some objects safeguarded in the Smithsonian, we will reflect on the immaterial character of all cultural heritages. After all, the value of an asset does not lie only in its physical nature or in its function and market value.


João Victor Camara

Wilbur and Orville Wright: The Process of Invention

Before they built airplanes, the Wright brothers built bicycles. This episode of STEM in 30 will be broadcast live from inside the Wright brothers' bicycle shop at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. We'll take a look at their workshop and see how their fascination with solving the problem of human flight led to the invention of the airplane.

December 17, 2015

STEM in 30 at National Air and Space Museum

Wild Children

Katie Cahill

Will, Darius, Jonathon War DBQ

To what extent did economic, political, and social aspects of society change after the War of 1812? Focus on the time period of 1800-1825.

Will Colenbrander

Willi Smith

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 from HIV/AIDS.

This collection is a representation of the 2020 exhibition Willi Smith: Street Couture at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, which features over 200 pieces from Smith’s work and career and his numerous collaborations with artists, dancers, choreographers, graphic designers, architects, and more. The works on view include video, sketches, patterns, photographs, and garments.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

William Faulkner: Examining Portraiture

This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of William Faulkner, an American author and Nobel Prize laureate. Includes the video "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" and the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators, both of which provide suggestions and questions for analyzing portraiture.  


  • What do these portraits have in common? How are they different?
  • How are these portraits both fact and fiction?
  • How do these portraits reflect how they wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created (such as the caricature, stamp, etc.).
  • Having read one of his stories, does the portrait capture your image of William Faulkner? Why, or why not?
  • If you were creating your own portrait of William Faulkner, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?

Keywords: mississippi, ms, the sound and the fury, writer

Tess Porter

William H. Johnson

Jean-Marie Galing

William Healey Dall

A sampling from the Smithsonian pan-institutional collections documenting the work of William Healey Dall.
Stephanie Norby

Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph defied the odds and paved the way for African American female athletes. Discover her strength and courage.

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery’s 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.


TAGS: #NPGteach, portrait, learning to look, National Portrait Gallery

Jennifer Houston


Meredith Osborne


Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center

Wind Power

DeeAnn Moore

Winning the Vote: How Americans Elect Their President

This 1996 issue of From Art to Zoo includes activities to introduce students to the office of the presidency and the process of electing the president. Includes lessons on political campaigns, political parties, and the Electoral College. Click on the PDF icon to download the issue.

But first take a look at this sample of presidential campaign memorabilia in the National Museum of American History. Can you name the year of each piece?

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Winter Count
Erin Purrington

Winter Olympics: Highlights Collection

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

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Winter Scenes

These pictures are to be used as a writing catalyst for writing club. Pick one to do a See / Think / Wonder as a whole group. Then students can complete their own individual ones. These pieces offer a variety of interpretations about the season of winter which may serve as an inspiration to write winter poetry.

Suggestion: You may also play an excerpt of Vivaldi's Four Seasons during this activity.

Yolanda Toni
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