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Mission Vieja: The First Site of La Purisima Mission 1787-1812

Established on December 8, 1787 La Purisima Mission is the eleventh of twenty-one missions in California.  Between 1787 and 1812, La Purisima Mission thrived in terms of population and economic growth as well as increases in farming and livestock operations.

December 21, 1812 changed everything.  A large earthquake followed by a series of large rainstorms destroyed the mission site.  The year 1812 is now known as The Year of the Earthquakes.

Following the devastating earthquake of 1812, the Mission Padres sought permission to relocate La Purisima Mission to a site located four miles away.  Construction at the current location began in the spring of 1813.

Today, the original site of La Purisima Mission is known as "Mission Vieja" or the "Old Mission".  Visitors can still see some of the original walls and entry way to the church.  A vast majority of the site is covered by a neighborhood that was constructed during the mid-1900s.     

La Purísima Mission CA State Historic Park

Bracero Program: Unveiling Stories

In this activity, students will examine photographs documenting the Bracero Program, the largest guest-worker program in US history. Started in 1942 as a temporary war measure to address labor demands in agriculture and railroads, the program allowed Mexican nationals to take temporary agricultural work in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and 24 other states. By the time the program ended in 1964, over 4.6 million contracts were awarded.

Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs tell about the experiences of braceros in this program, and the impact of these stories in multiple contexts. Additional resources (primary sources, a digital exhibition, and an article) and information on how to use these routines in the classroom can by found by clicking Read More ».

Keywords: mexican, immigration, work, migration, migrant workers, agriculture, reform, politics, government, leonard nadel, photojournalism, activity, inquiry strategy, global competency, global competence, latino, chicano, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s

#LatinoHAC #EthnicStudies

Tess Porter

Bracero Program: Step In, Step Out, Step Back

In this activity, students will examine a painting of Mexican guest-workers, known as braceros, involved in the Bracero Program (1942-1964), the largest guest-worker program in US history.  Started as a temporary war measure to address labor demands in agriculture and railroads, the program allowed Mexican nationals to take temporary agricultural work in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and 24 other states. By the time the program ended in 1964, over 4.6 million work contracts were awarded. 

Using a Project Zero Global Thinking Routine - "Step In - Step Out - Step Back" - students will examine the perspectives of those depicted in the painting, consider what it means to take the perspectives of others, and explore avenues and methods to learn more about Braceros. Resources for learning more about the Bracero program are located at the end of the collection and include: Bittersweet Harvest, a digital exhibition about the Bracero Program; the Bracero History Archive, which includes oral histories, objects, and more; and a Learning Lab collection of photographs documenting the Bracero Program.

Keywords: laborer, immigration, work, migration, migrant workers, agriculture, reform, politics, government, photojournalism, activity, inquiry strategy, global competency, global competence, latino, chicano, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s


Tess Porter

Apollo 13

Collection created to supplement the Red Clover Award book Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13.
Carrie Speranza

September 11, 2001

This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature, Battered bronze sphere returns to World Trade Center site. Use these resources to ask, where is 9/11 lie in our national memory? Is it recent event, or history?

Kelly Wall

Exploring Systems - for teachers

Systems can be vast or miniscule. They can be man-made or occur in nature. A system can be simple or complex but all systems are have various parts. Each of the parts have functions within the system and each system has its own function (what a part or system is used for is called its function)

In this collection, students investigate a variety of systems by viewing and reading about them. 

This collection can be used in the classroom as students explore the crosscutting concept of systems and system models across a variety of science disciplines. The collection can also be used in a design thinking course or unit or as students undertake engineering projects and explore processes and systems.

This collection is designed for students to use independently either in class or on their own. The collection can also be used as a small group or whole class activity driven by discussion instead of writing.

The task is provided in the first slide in the collection. Extension activities can be applied to the task. One extension is included in the task slide and prompts students to use the Learning Lab to seek out their own example of a system and explain its parts and functions. A more interactive class based extension might be for students to circulate and look for a partner/partners who chose the same system or can find a way to make connections between two or more different systems that they chose. Partnerships/teams can then compare the parts/functions that they have identified and prepare to share with the larger class community.

sara gottlieb

POIT introduction

This is a test collection


Analyzing Oral History Interviews: Asian Indian Community of Cleveland, Ohio

This collection includes a series of oral history interviews the Asian Indian Community of Cleveland, Ohio from 2013. Ten Asian Indians who settled in the Greater Cleveland region during the 1950s and 1960s were interviewed by middle and high school students. These interviews document their unique immigrant experiences and focus on professional, family and religious life.

Complementary resources to the podcast files include: a National Museum of American History teachers' guide and images, Smithsonian Libraries' graphic organizers for evaluating historical sources, and a Smithsonian Folklife and Cultural Heritage guide to conducting your own oral history.

Interviewees include: Ajeet Singh Sood, Batuk Modi, Dipti P. Roy, Elizabeth and Winfred Balraj,  Gulab Khandelwal,  Ivan Tewarson, Kul Bhushan, Om Julka, Paramjit Singh, P.K. and Virginia Saha,  Ramachandran Balasubramaniam, Ranajit Datta, Sam Rajiah, Shanta and Surinder Kampani, Shiv and Saroj Aggarwal, Vijay Rastogi, Vinay and Surinder Bhardwaj

#APA2018 #EthnicStudies

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

Ashley Naranjo

The Industrial Revolution

Eile Guenego

Native American Art

Christina Ratatori

Technological Evolution

Our rapidly developing world has lead to unprecedented evolutions in technology. Technology tells a continuous narrative of innovation, disruption, collaboration, risk and resilience. Through this collection students explore the essential questions: What makes something innovative? How do you define innovation?

To help unpack these questions have students explore each object by answering:

  • Who is this object made for?
  • How is it used?
  • What did this object allow people to do?
  • What connections do you notice between the objects?
  • Was this technology innovative for its time? Why/Why not?  

This collection was inspired by the Bob Greenberg Selects exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum:

Jasmine Kassulke

Asian Pacific Americans in the Performing Arts

This topical collection includes resources about Asian Pacific American actors, choreographers, spoken word poets, musicians, composers, comedians, filmmakers, and stage performers. The collection includes portraits, videos and articles. 

Teachers and students may use this collection as a springboard for classroom discussions about Asian Pacific American representation in the performing arts. This collection is not comprehensive, but rather provides a launching point for research and study. 

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

Keywords: entertainment, actress, magician, dancer, “Siamese twins”, entrepreneur, Moana, Mulan, Anna May Wong, Chinese American, George Takei, Japanese American, Michio Ito, Dana Tai Soon Burgess, Korean American, Regie Cabico, Filipino American, Yo Yo Ma, Aziz Anzari, Mindy Kaling, Indian American, Bruce Lee


Ashley Naranjo

Russian Coinage and Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich

The Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich collection of approximately 11,400 Russian coins and medals is among the most comprehensive Russian numismatic collections outside of Russia. Mikhailovich had a lifelong commitment to collecting and documenting Russian coinage and published extensively on the topic. Following the Russian Revolution, Mikhailovich was executed in 1919. His wife and daughters went into exile and eventually sold the collection at auction. It changed hands a number of times before it was purchased by Lammot du Pont, whose son donated it to the National Numismatic Collection in the 1950s. This collection is a rich resource for the study of Russia, Europe, and numismatics more broadly.


A small portion of the Mikhailovich collection is on display in The Value of Money exhibition at the National Museum of American History.

Text adapted from The Value of Money by Ellen R. Feingold, Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2015.

Jennifer Gloede

social media

Rosemith Metayer

Weaving Shop

Are you ready to see the magic behind La Purisima Mission's Weaving Shop?  Come along, let's explore!

La Purísima Mission CA State Historic Park

Snapshots & Social Change: A Collection of Photographs by Elizabeth Howe Bliss

A collection of photographic prints made between 1915 and 1919 by a social worker named Elizabeth Howe Bliss. She traveled to the American South on behalf of the National Child Labor Committee, writing reports and documenting through photographs child laborers and their challenges accessing education. She also utilized her camera in New York City and in the French department of the Somme during WWI. These images currently reside within the Photographic History Collection at the National Museum of American History: Kenneth E. Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution. 
[This collection is presently under construction as content is being added.]

Kate Fogle

The Art of Healing

Mind, body and soul.

Various ways of healing the body whether it be exercise, spiritual ceremonies and much more.

Lianne Perez


English 12 unit 

Focus on "Identity" and transition to "Conformity" and the response of the individual to environmental sources that might seek to suppress individuality


Marie Meyer

The Industrial Revolution, changes in consumerism, labor and community.

This lesson will examine how innovation in the distribution of food had a lasting effect on the consumer, the worker and the community.

Students will be invited to study Ralph Fasanella's Iceman Crucified. They will start  by examining the painting with the VTS method: What’s going on in this picture?, What do you see that makes you say that? and What more can we find?

Students will then be introduced to our set of supporting documents. At the conclusion of studying these sources we will revisit Iceman Crucified using the Step Inside: Perceive, Know about, Care about. This will include questions: What can the person or thing perceive? What might the person or thing know about or believe? What might the person or thing care about?

Students will end with a creative assignment that will ask them to give a Eulogy on the iceman


Connecting to Great Gatsby's Appearance vs. Reality in Self Portraiture

This lesson, integrated halfway through F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, will address both character analysis and the ever present theme of appearance vs. reality in the text.  By using Thomas Hart Benton's "Self Portrait with Rita" as a starting point students will study the specifics of a self portrait from the 1920s which highlights American dream centered ideals.  As a second step, students will make connections between the painting and the characters from our text.  As a final extension activity, students will further explore the inspiration, the biography, or another work by Benton.


Molly Boehler

Sustainable by Design

Students identify needs in their community and design a building to fit that need using Agency by Design framework and protocols. Designed for a collaborative unit with Environmental Science and Sculpture High School students. #goglobal

Ashley Beck

From One Artist to Another: "Rudolfo Anaya" by Gaspar Enríquez

Students use a Global Thinking Routine to explore both a portrait and a work of literature that together offer a  rich view of the Chicano experience in the American southwest in the middle of the 20th century. 

This teaching collection features Gaspar Enríquez's portrait of Rudolfo Anaya. It is the first commissioned portrait by the National Portrait Gallery of a Latino sitter by a Latino artist. Both artists address the Chicano experience and confluence of cultures in the American southwest.

Included here are the portrait, a bilingual video with National Portrait Gallery curator Taína Caragol, the "Step In - Step Out - Step Back" Thinking Routine from Harvard's Project Zero Global Thinking Strategies, two other works by Gaspar Enríquez, and some links to National Portrait Gallery supporting materials. 

Teachers and students can pair the portrait and read Rudolfo Anaya's coming of age novel "Bless Me Ultima," first published in 1972 and reflecting Chicano culture in rural New Mexico in the 1940s, to gain a deeper understanding of the Chicano experience in the American southwest.

#LatinoHAC #EthnicStudies

Philippa Rappoport
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