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jen stebbing

Student Activity: Exploring Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq"

This student activity explores Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" using two Project Zero Thinking Routines to help students think critically and globally.  The work is a metaphorical representation of the unrest taking place in Iraq, and more broadly, an exploration of the human condition during times of crisis.

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, an array of prompts and Learning Lab tools, and an assignment. 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 originally designed for a workshop for pre-service teachers at Trinity Washington University. It is intended to demonstrate, and asks workshop participants to consider, various ways to use the Learning Lab and its tools.  #TWUtech

Keywords: #LatinoHAC, Latinx, Latino, global competency, competencies

Philippa Rappoport

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

Photographer: Connell, Will


This is a selection of photographs by Will Connell from his series, In Pictures, from the Photographic History Collection. 

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Keywords: satire, humor, critique, Hollywood, manipulated photography, composite photography, surrealism

Will Connell (1898-1961) was an influential photographer, teacher, and author in Southern California known for his often-satirical “modern pictorialist” style, commercial photography work, and mentorship of a generation of photographers. The National Museum of American History’s Photographic History collection received a donation of 11 prints of various subjects from Connell’s wife in 1963. This donation was followed by another, from Connell’s son, in 1977, comprised of the 49 prints published in In Pictures. Connell was born in McPherson, Kansas, but moved to California soon after. 

As a young man in Los Angeles, Connell came into contact with the thriving California camera clubs of the 1910s and 1920s, and more importantly, the burgeoning Hollywood film industry. After a brief stint in the U.S. Army Signal Corps at the end of the first World War, Connell worked a variety of odd jobs while experimenting in amateur photography. 

Several motion picture studios hired Connell to photograph actors and actresses in the 1920s and 1930s, and he soon became a professional. Connell’s glamour shots of stars such as Myrna Loy, as well as his growing body of art photography, reveal pictorialist influence, and his work was often exhibited at salons and exhibitions throughout the United States. 

In the 1930s, Connell began working as a photographer for magazines including the Saturday Evening PostColliersTime, and Vogue, started teaching photography at Art Center College, and continued work at the Los Angeles studio he opened in 1925. Connell spent the rest of his life in Los Angeles, teaching, judging work, producing commercial work, and writing, notably, his "Counsel by Connell" column in US Camera, which he authored for 15 years. 

His first book, In Pictures, was published in 1937. Now considered a classic work of satire, the book featured montaged, often surreal images that mocked the Hollywood studio system and a public enamored with the motion picture industry. The photographs were published alongside a fictional account of a meeting of Hollywood moguls, written by several of Connell’s friends in the business. While the images appear to be a marked departure from Connell’s earlier soft-focus pictorialism, the sharp, poignant photographs nevertheless retain that movement’s emphasis on composition and communication of a message. In Pictures also pays homage to the film industry where the photographer cut his teeth – many of the images feature close-ups, characteristic stage lighting, and influence of the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Connell, in his work and teaching until his death in 1961, is cited as an influence on an entire generation of photographers, including Dr. Dain Tasker (COLL.PHOTOS.000031). 

Connell's  1949 book About Photography outlined an artistic philosophy that stressed a straight-forward, communicative style of photography and expressed the author’s belief that even the most commercial work can have artistic merit. A 1963 monograph in US Camera featured fond remembrances from friends Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange, among others, who praised Connell for his warm personality and unique work. 

NMAH Photographic History Collection

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: Grob, Marco


This is a collection of photographs by photographer Marco Grob from his series, Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience, published in Time magazine on September 9, 2011.

The photographs are large, depicting his subjects larger than life-sized. Here is a mix of public officials, members of the armed forces, and private citizens, with varied roles, experiences, and traumas related to life after September 11, 2001. 

Copyright held by Time Magazine and Marco Grob.

Keywords: portraiture, journalism, teddy bear, political intrigue, political policy, military policy, veteran, injured, disabled veteran, interpreter, national leaders, intelligence community, spy, protest, grieving mother, religion, patriotism, memorial, tribute, national reflection, Iraq, Muslim, chaplain, helmet, 9/11

NMAH Photographic History Collection

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

Types of Triangles

Randi Jones

Types of Triangles

Randi Jones

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.



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

Zhethan .

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

No One Should Be Afraid of Big Beautiful Wolves

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 Wolves. 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 wolves, read articles about wolves and listen to two podcast episodes about wolves. 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

Photographer: Horenstein, Henry


This an assortment of photographs by Henry Horenstein from over 150 photographs in the Photographic History Collection. Most are gelatin silver prints, but also, cibachrome, and chromogenic prints.

A portfolio of photographs created by Horenstein's Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Professional Practices class in 2010, includes a work by Horenstein (accession 2012.0122). A student work by Horenstein is included in a RISD Photographic Education Society Portfolio from 1971  (accession 2004.3040) along with a work by his professor, Harry Callahan.

Keywords: country music, horse racing, gambling, baseball stadium, burlesque, animals, honky-tonk, documentary photography, baseball, music, performers, fans, backstage, Grand Ole Opry, blue grass performer, musical instruments, guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, photojournalism, bars, music park, jukebox

Henry Horenstein (1948-) trained in history in the late 1960s at the University of Chicago and with the British historian EP Thompson. Coming of age at time when the new social history focused attention upon anonymous people, the working class and the role of culture, Horenstein took those lessons and applied them to his photography. He earned an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1973. While at RISD Horenstein studied with noted photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. It was actually Callahan who encouraged Horenstein to pursue his passions for photography and country music. Since then, Horenstein has made a career of chronicling a series of subcultures including horse-racing and gambling, baseball stadiums, and burlesque performers, as well as being noted for his photographs of animals. His works are found in books, record covers, magazine publications, museum collections, and gallery walls.

Horenstein is a professor at RISD. In addition to teaching classes, he is an active photographer always working on photographic and publishing projects. Horenstein is well-published, with over 25 books that either feature his photography or are widely used photography text books. He wrote the first darkroom textbooks, Basic Phtography and Beyond Basic Photgraphy. In Fall 2003, his book Honky-Tonk was published, containing an afterword written by NMAH curator Charlie McGovern. In 2006, NMAH featured the exhibition, Honky-Tonk: Country Music Photographs by Henry Horenstein, 1972-1981.

The collection consists of subjects such as fans and performers at outdoor music parks, in the parking lot, and performers on stage. Print sizes vary between 8 X 10 and 11X 14. The two 16 X 20 prints are a view of a crowd seen from backstage with JD Crowe & The South in sillouette, and “Bartender,” Wanda Lohnman leaning on the bar at Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

List of Performers and Venues Depicted in the Collection:

Venues: Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, LA; The Lonestar Ranch, Reed’s Ferry, NH; Hillbilly Ranch, Boston, MA; Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville, TN; The Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Theater, Nashville, TN.

Performers: Abshire Nathan; Acuff, Roy; Akeman, David “Stringbean”; Bailey, Deford; Bare, Bobby; Bird, Billy; Blake, Norman; Blue Sky Boys; Brown, Clarence "Gatemouth"; Burns, Jethro; Butler, Carl and Pearl; Carter, Anita;  Carter, Mother Maybelle and Helen Carter; Cash, Tommy; Clements, Vassar; Cline, Curly ; y; Cooper, Carol Lee; Cooper, Stoney and Wilma Lee; Crook Brothers; Curless, Dick; Dickens, Little Jimmy; Flatt, Lester; Floyd, Hamonica Frank; Harkreader, Fiddlin' Sid; Harris, Emmy Lou ; Holcomb, Roscoe; Holy Modal Rounders; Hughes Family Show; Jackson, Stonewall; JD Crowe & the New South; Jennings, Waylon; Johnson Mountain Boys; Jones, George; Jones, Grandpa and Ramona; Kirby, Brother Oswald; Lewis, Jerry Lee; Lilly Brothers; Lilly Family; Lynn, Loretta; Magaha, Mac; Martin, Jimmy; McCoury, Del; Monroe, Bill;  Lester Flatt; Monroe, Bill and Roland White; Monroe, Bill and the Bluegrass Boys; Monroe, Charlie; Moody, ; Clyde; Nixon, Charlie; Osborne Brothers; Parton, Dolly; Parton, Dolly and Porter Wagoner; Pearl, Minnie (Sarah Ophelia Colley) and Peewee King; Riley, Jeannie C.; Ritter, Woodward Maurice “Tex”; Seeger, Pete; Shepherd, Jean; Skaggs, Ricky; Smith, Connie; Snow, Hank; Snow, Rev. Jimmy Rodgers; Stanley, Ralph; Tubb, Ernest; Tubb, Justin; Turner, Grant; Turner, Spyder; Val, Joe; Wagoner, Porter; Warren, Paul; Watson, Arthel Lane “Doc”; Watson, Merle; Wells, Muriel Deason “Kitty”; Whitley, Keith; Williams, Hank Jr.; Wright, Johnny

NMAH Photographic History Collection


jen stebbing


this slow?!

jen stebbing

Easy PZ: Looking: Ten Times Two (Immokalee Statue of Liberty)

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

DCPS Rocks and Minerals Cornerstone

Grade 4: Rocks and Minerals

Rocks and minerals play an important role in the natural world and human society. This collection will allow you to step into the role of a museum geologist and help you learn how to closely examine a museum specimen. To start, look through the 12 specimens to learn more about their unique properties. Select your favorite and use your new knowledge to complete the student worksheet. 

Additional Resources in this Learning Lab


  • Rock Types: This short video with geologist Dr. Ben Andrews will take you through the 3 types of rocks.
  • Mineral Dependence: Gemstones to Cellphones: In this 30 minute video, Dr. Mike Wise will teach you about unusual rocks called pegmatites and the large mineral crystals they contain. Find out how you depend on pegmatites for everyday uses, such as operating your cellphone.


  • Coming soon! A narrated virtual tour of the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. Until then, click here for a self-guided virtual exploration of the hall!
Nicole Webster

Activism and Change: Clara Lemlich and the New York Shirtwaist Strike of 1909

This teaching collection asks students to consider photographs and documentation about early 20th-century Jewish immigrant activist Clara Lemlich (1886-1982, leader of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and founder of the Progressive Women’s Councils), in the larger context of New York's Garment Industry, the New York Shirtwaist Strike of 1909, and the 1911 Triangle Waist Factory fire. By pairing historical documentation with three thinking routines from Harvard's Project Zero Global Thinking and Agency by Design materials - "Step In, Step Out, Step Back," "Think, Feel, Care," and "Circles of Action," - the collection encourages students to explore complexity and perspective, and fosters a disposition to participate. 

Included here are photographs, documentation, and resources from the Jewish Women's Archive's Encyclopedia of Jewish Women, the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School, the Tenement Museum, and the National Museum of American History. 

This collection pairs well with chapter 11 ("Jews are Pushed from Russia") of Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America, and supports Unit 1: Intersectionality of Economics, Politics, and Policy, and Unit 3: Local History and Current Issues, of the Austin ISD Ethnic Studies Part B course. 


Philippa Rappoport

Remnants from the exploration of space

Clothing, spacecraft, tools, and mementos to better understand the achievement of space exploration.  

David S. Ball

Design It Yourself: Design a Utensil

Follow along to design an unusual utensil. 

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Design It Yourself: Design a Pencil

Follow along to design a pencil that will be comfortable to hold through a long school day.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Athabascan Potlatch Values

Potlatches are Athabascan ceremonies marking significant events in life. They are a time when cultural values are practiced, including honor, respect, gratitude, responsibility, gifting and reciprocity. This site provides materials for students to learn about Potlatches and generally about the Athabascan peoples of Alaska. Photographs with in-depth captions give information about Athabascans in the past and today. Short essays and museum objects featuring Elders’ discussions allow students to learn directly from community members. Questions and writing projects in the education unit help students understand and apply what they have read, and find shared cultural values in their own lives.

Tags: Alaska, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Athabascan, Dene, Potlatch, ceremony, ceremonies, tradition, gifting, museum object, artifact, heirloom, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
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