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Found 882 Collections



Columbus as explorer. Contains activity for focusing on and finding details that tell a story, a formative assessment using a portrait, and a summative assessment for the end of unit.


Lisa Lynch

Presidential Backgrounds as Portraiture

In this collection, I take a look at the objects and the atmospheric space as the major components to portraiture as opposed to the figure.  This approach allows the participants to draw conclusions of the subject when no prior knowledge may be known of the subjects themselves. This activity tests the viewer to first look beyond the traditional portrait and begin to have a conversation about the setting and the situation that the portrait holds. 

Portraits with multifaceted backgrounds with objects are most effective when using this strategy. Thus, the rationale that the 44 portraits in Americans President’s is used for this collection, not everyone knows everything there is to know about the Presidents of the United States of America but this collection will give viewers a snapshot of their lives in a particular moment. 

 The five Presidents highlighted in this particular collection are: George Washington, Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama

Bryan Hill

WWI Propoganda

This collection focuses on some of the propaganda posters that were used during WWI,


"Home and Away": Using museum objects to prompt stories and explore sense of place and belonging

"Home and Away" is a digital storytelling workshop that enhances the 4Cs (Creativity, Critical thinking, Collaboration, Communication) and improves literacy in second-language learners.  In this three-day workshop participants from Spain coming to Washington DC for an international exchange program with Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, supported by American students, will use museum objects as prompts to create videos of personal stories. No technical experience is necessary, but participants of all levels will:

  • learn about the variety of resources available in the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
  • experiment with storyboarding techniques for creative writing.
  • learn how to record and edit an audio file.
  • be supported in the selection of images and the production of a short video.
  • reflect on the Digital Storytelling 5-steps process
  • practice oral and written English language skills
  • enhance identity through personal stories
  • increase visual literacy through close looking at art

This workshop has been organised by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) in collaboration with Oyster-Adams Bilingual School.

Workshop facilitators are Antonia Liguori (Loughborough University, UK) and Philippa Rappoport (SCLDA).

This activity is part of  “Storying” the Cultural Heritage: Digital Storytelling as a tool to enhance the 4Cs in formal and informal learning, a research project led by Dr Antonia Liguori, appointed as a Smithsonian Fellow with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) from March 1 to June 30 2018, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK under the International Placement Scheme.

Antonia Liguori

Cambodian New Year

Cambodian New Year (Khmer: បុណ្យចូលឆ្នាំថ្មី) or Choul Chnam Thmey in the Khmer language, literally "Enter New Year", is the name of the Cambodian holiday that celebrates the traditional Lunar New Year. The holiday lasts for three days beginning on NewYear's Day, which usually falls on April 13th or 14th, which is the end of the harvesting season, when farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor before the rainy season begins.

Cambodians also use Buddhist Era to count the year based on the Buddhist calendar.
    Maha Sangkran, derived from Sanskrit Maha Sangkranta, is the name of the first day of the new year celebration. It is the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. People dress up and light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines, where the members of each family pay homage to offer thanks for the Buddha's teachings by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three times before his image. For good luck, people wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening before they go to bed.

    Vireak Vanabat is the name of the second day of the new year celebration. People contribute charity to the less fortunate by helping the poor, servants, homeless, and low-income families. Families attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at monasteries.

    T'ngai Loeng Sak in Khmer is the name of the third day of the new year celebration. Buddhists wash the Buddha statues and their elders with perfumed water. Bathing the Buddha images is a symbolic practice to wash bad actions away like water clean dirt from household items. It is also thought to be a kind deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By washing their grandparents and parents, the children can obtain from them best wishes and good pieces of advice to live the life for the rest of the year.

#APA2018  #TCSLowell

Siobhan Melville

Asian Pacific Cuisine

Food, agriculture, tools, and customs in Asian Pacific Cuisine.  International Foods Lab 2018, #tcslowell, #APA2018

Lorraine Ostanik-Bellessa

Whale Evolution

Evidence for the evolution of whales from land mammals

Caitlyn Dixon

Who Belongs in Massachusetts? The Story of Immigration

This collection is to support our 4th grade unit on immigration. 

Our unit makes use of the Massachusetts Department of Education's lesson "America's Salad: The Story of Immigration to Massachusetts" and includes trips to the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Lowell for their program "Yankees and Immigrants" and to the Edward Kennedy Institute for the American Senate for their program "Pathways to Citizenship"

In class, we will explore why people leave their country, where they choose to settle (with a particular focus on Lowell, Massachusetts), and how they are welcomed. Students will explore how



#immigration #Massachusetts

Laura Lamarre Anderson

Key Moments in WWII: What makes you say that?

Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will investigate two photographs, taken from different angles, of Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri as they signed the surrender that would officially end WWII.

Tags: world war 2; world war ii; general macarthur; carl mydans; primary source; ww2; japanese instrument of surrender; potsdam declaration; inquiry strategy

Emily Collins

Horn Players

This is introductory information for Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Horn Players" from 1983.

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, jazz, Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Basquiat, AP Art History

Emily Collins

iSpy: Storytelling in Presidential Portaiture

iSpy: Storytelling in Presidential Portraiture 


Objective: Students will explore how elements of a portrait tell the story of the subject’s identity by comparing portraits of Presidents Washington and Obama.



  1. Instruct students to look carefully at each portrait. They should read through the information for each portrait; follow the highlight instructions; and answer the quiz questions.
  2. Lead a discussion about the symbols included each portrait. What story is the artist trying to tell? What do they leave out? How does an artist contribute to our understanding of Washington and Obama’s identity? How does art help to shape our historical understanding of their subjects?
  3. Have students create a self-portrait and write an artist’s introduction explaining how they intentionally included/excluded/highlighted symbols to tell their story of identity. If making art isn’t possible, have students write a description of what their portrait would look like.




For more information and context:


Christy Ting

corduroy mentions

these things mention corduroy, which is a nice, unoffensive textile around which to base a test assignment. 

Peter Musser

Movement of Life Initiative: Discover What Makes Sharks Move

Our knowledge about animal movement and the processes that regulate it only begins to scratch the surface! Join the Smithsonian's Movement of Life (MoL) Initiative in their mission to advance the understanding of how all living things, big and small, move across land and seascapes to better sustain a biodiverse planet. This is the first of the MoL collections focused on discovering shark movement along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. What makes sharks move? Dive in to find out!

**Lesson plan included (with teacher strategies) that follows NGSS for 4th graders where students are the scientists, they map and analyze shark movement!

Contact Smithsonian scientist Dr. Matt Ogburn at for inquiries about the shark tagging project or visit his lab's website for more information! 

Cosette Larash

Portraits of Pocahontas 1614-2010-FINK

Pocahontas is a name well known to many due to her vast representation in everyday culture and society. She is the daughter of the chief of the Powhatan tribe and is well known for her relationship with John Smith and the early settlers of Virginia.This is a collection showing how Pocahontas has been shown by different people across the time period 0f 1614-2010. These different images show how various cultures viewed Native American society and specifically Pocahontas. Through these various images one can see how the traditional view of Pocahontas evolved over time. Differences can also be seen in the images across different cultures, particularly the contrasting images of Pocahontas in native clothing and Pocahontas in Colonial-style clothing. The representation of Pocahontas is important because she is a crucial figure in the development of early Colonial America, specifically Jamestown in Virginia. Her name is known throughout the United States today in connection with John Smith and the Establishment of the Virginian colony of Jamestown.

Connie Fink

Disabled Doesn't Mean Unable

George Pagano

Four – Six 45 minute Class Periods

Lesson Overview:

This lesson plan unit is built around the exploration of identity for individuals with disabilities. Students will be asked to examine several items in the collection and answer the following essential questions:  How can unfair/fair depictions of an individual with a disability affect their identity?  How can positive depictions empower an individual?

This theme will be combined with a component of advocacy and change: How can one advocate to make a difference? What causes a change in one's belief system? How can a portrait or image inspire change? How can a portrait or image document change?

Lessons are designed for an 8th grade interdisciplinary team approach: English, social studies, and art class. The plan for this unit includes the synthesis of visual images within the historical context of the promotion of rights for individuals with disabilities.

The subject of self-identity - the recognition of one's potential and qualities as an individual will be explored as well.  

George Pagano

Moving Your Audience: Identifying Rhetorical Appeals in an Argument

In this online activity, you will get a better sense of the four rhetorical appeals (logos, ethos, pathos, and kairos) The collection is organized as follows:

  • The collection opens with an introduction to rhetoric and definitions of the four rhetorical appeals.
  • Then, you will be tasked to examine four advertisements and identify one rhetorical appeal that is being used. For each image, you must use concrete information to explain your choices.
  • After looking through the four advertisements, you will then sort six additional advertisements into categories. You will categorize the images based on the rhetorical appeals. In the slide after the sorting tool, you will be asked to fully explain your classifications.
  • You will then be asked to reflect on the information learned through these activities, and how it may have changed your opinion on rhetoric.
  • In the final assignment for the collection, you will be tasked to upload an advertisement or public service announcement and analyze two rhetorical appeals. You may use an image or a video as your uploaded resource.

Tags:  rhetorical analysis, beginning writing, English 101, ENG101, on-line activity, student activity, online activity

Alexander Graves

"Votes for Women!" A Comparative Look at British and US Suffrage Movements

The resources in this collection provide a comparative look into the similarities and differences of the Suffrage Movements in both the UK and the US. 

Emily Surman

Activity Collection: ArtBots!

In this activity collection, you'll learn how to create your very own art-making robot--an ArtBot! 

Special thanks to Lenovo

Cody Coltharp

Object Analysis: Hawaiian Flag Quilt

This student activity explores a "Hawaiian Flag" quilt, a type of decorative object that became popular in Hawaii after the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown and the kingdom was annexed by the United States.  Symbols on this quilt, which include the Royal Coat of Arms, a quote from King Kamehameha III, and more, help reveal Hawaiian opinions about the state of their country during this tumultuous period in Hawaiian history.

This collection can be used as an activity while studying the overthrowing of the Hawaiian monarchy, Hawaiian annexation, and United States foreign policy in the late 1800s.

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Keywords: Hawai'i, annexation, Lili'uokalani, Liliuokalani, 19th century, 1898


Tess Porter

For Gender Class

texting out the learning lab.  

Hannah Smith

Exploring Plate Tectonics

This student activity introduces students to plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, rocks, and fossils through selected Smithsonian images, diagrams, videos, articles and activities supplemented with additional instructional materials. Features of this collection have been included or designed to spark excitement by teaching students through different forms of media. The sorting activities (see pink and white tile at the end of the collection) let students play the roles of archaeologists, anthropologists, and curators by sorting rocks and fossils based on age. At the conclusion of the activity, students will be able to think critically about how cities prepare for volcanoes and earthquakes by answering questions about current events.


If there is a paper clip on the left side of the slide, click on it and follow instructions.

Tags: archaeology, anthropology, margins, subduction, hotspot, oceanic, crust, continental, rift, transform, shield, spreading, ridge, trench

Christina Shepard

Sports and Pastimes Pertaining to Colonial America Before 1865

This is a collection of the sports and recreational activities enjoyed by the early colonial Americans of this time period before 1865. Not only played by the civilians but also soldiers as well ,to occupy themselves while they were away from home.

Brandon Okiche


Impressionism, an art movement that began in France and was most prevalent from approximately 1872-1892, was an innovative and important precursor to several different art styles. It focused on capturing everyday scenes, changing light, and moments of motion. Forerunners of this movement include artists such as Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas.

Characteristics of Impressionism include quick and non-blended brush strokes, occasional unmixed colors, and an overall appearance of the "impression" of a situation-- not necessarily a fully rendered, academic image.

[All images in this collection have been personally uploaded from and credited to Wikimedia Commons.]

Alexander Falone


A collection of various self-portraits throughout art history, for exploration and comparison.

Self-portraits have been prevalent for centuries as ways for artists to immortalize themselves and their passions. As you engage with this collection, ask yourself some of the following questions: Why did the artists choose to paint themselves in this way? What similarities and differences do you notice among these portraits? Why might these artists decide to include certain clothing or objects in their paintings?

By studying these paintings, we can gain a better understanding of who these artists were and what they valued.

Alexander Falone
649-672 of 882 Collections