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Found 1,272 Collections


The Search for an American Identity

We live in a multicultural, multilingual, multinational America, which offers complicated, imposing, unsettling questions about American identity.  There are no easy answers to what is an American identity or perhaps no answers at all.  What is an American identity is an important subject in an ever changing America, and Smithsonian Institution exhibits and objects on display in various museums help us to seek answers to the question of what is identity and what is American identity.

Mimi Mann

Music to Protest By

A collection of resources showing how music instilled a sense of protest
Kevin Hodgson

How has our view of Thomas Jefferson changed over time?

Thomas Jefferson is remembered for his contributions to the ideals of natural rights and democratic principles.  Yet, as a slave owner,  Jefferson personally lived in contradiction of those  principles. In this Learning Lab you'll explore how Thomas Jefferson is viewed at different times in history through portraiture. Using evidence from his portraits you'll answer the question, "How has our view of Thomas Jefferson changed over time."

Laura Nicosia

Frankenstein 200 RB copy

Collection on Frankenstein related resources for the 200th anniversary of the publication of the novel by Mary Shelley... as a sandbox for getting me acquainted with SLL and this project...

Rebecca Boggs

Flashcard Activity: See, Think, Wonder with Science-Related Images

This collection contains illustrations, sketches, paintings, sculpture and photographs representing a variety of science-related concepts, including animal adaptations, the invention process and climate change. 

They may be used for a variety of purposes; here, we use them as a catalyst for discussion.  In small groups or as a classroom, have students select one artwork they find meaningful or interesting and discuss the following:

  1. Why did you pick this image?  
  2. What do you see?  Name specific aspects of the image you notice.
  3. What do you think about what you see?
  4. What does this image make you wonder? 

This activity works equally well online or using printed flashcards (see the resource tile).  You may also replace or pair the above activity with a Project Zero Thinking Routine found in the final section of the collection. 

Keywords: printable, flash card, project zero visible thinking routine, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, NJPSA, arts integration, natural history, animals, invention, patent, portraits, weather

Ashley Naranjo

Electronic Superhighway: The Infrastructure of American Stories

A collection of art about how Americans construct their collective spaces.

John Allen

Depictions of Children

Viewers will consider how images of children have changed over the past 300 years. Artwork selections include a large variety of individual and group portraits of both male and female sitters/subjects in a variety of styles for the purpose of analyzing the elements of portraiture (expression, pose, clothing, hairstyle, setting, objects, etc...) in order to help students gain a better understanding of social norms in the context of place and time. This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2018Learning to look Summer Teacher Institute.


Michelle Zimmerman

What is the legacy of the 19th century whaling industry?

A collection designed to introduce students to the 19th century whaling industry- one of the biggest industries of the 19th century and the industry which supported industrialization.


Erin Becker

Designing For Accessibility–Tova Kleiner

This Learning Lab showcases different examples of accessible design in order to provide a fuller understanding of what designing for accessibility can look like. The collection shown here includes designs that address physical, cognitive, and emotional barriers that impact the lives of people with disabilities. This Learning Lab explores design for the blind, for wheelchair accessibility, for the elderly, and for people with autism. Through the DesignPrep Scholars program, I have learned about various design disciplines and focuses. DesignPrep Scholars gave me the opportunity to meet several inspirational designers and do many design projects. Throughout this experience, I have been especially drawn to design that is inclusive and accessible. This Learning Lab is the culmination of my work at DesignPrep Scholars and displays what I have learned about accessible design.


Cooper Hewitt Design Scholars

Emotions: Expression

Ability to comprehend and express emotions via color -- journeys from the initial discovery and acceptance of multiple emotions to a various selection of emotions itself. People make conscious choices in the creation of art; colors can correlate to emotions and designers make these choices purposely. 


Cooper Hewitt Design Scholars

Developing Historical Thinkers with American Art

Resources supporting the February 2016 Google Hangout facilitated by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in coordination with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.


Elizabeth Dale-Deines

Libyan Rock Art

This collection contains images of rock-art of the Wadi al-Ajal, in the Fezzan region of south-west Libya. Several hundred engravings have so far been identified here. This rich concentration of rock-art spans the phase from at least 7,000 years ago until the present - a critical period of time which encompasses major transitions in human economy, culture and ideology from hunting and gathering to raising livestock, then to agriculture and more recently to industrialization. Rock-art provides fascinating evidence of how human groups were living during this period, what their relationships with their environment were and what they considered of importance and value. Because rock-art is deliberately placed at specific locations in the landscape, a powerful relationship can often exist between rock-art sites and natural landscape features.


Aubrey Gennari

See Think Wonder: Images of Girls

How can we think about gender through cultural and social lenses? This image gallery invites students to explore gender identity. Using artful looking techniques, students can think critically about how girls are depicted around the world. This collection uses the Harvard Project Zero Visible Thinking routine, "See Think Wonder" for exploring works of art. This strategy encourages students to make careful observations and thoughtful interpretations. It helps stimulate curiosity and sets the stage for inquiry. 

Keywords: girl, woman, gender, identity, culture, history, advertisements, sculpture, art, anthropology



Cultural Series: Five Pillars of Islam

What can we learn about people from their cultural artifacts? The Five Pillars of Islam are unifying principles of the faith by which all Muslims abide. They are: Profession of Faith (Shahada), Prayer (Salat), Alms (Zakat), Fasting (Sawm), and Pilgrimage to Mecca (The Hajj). Look through the collection. What's going on? Identify an artifact that represents a pillar. What do you see that makes you say that? Explain what pillar you think it represents, and explain why. Bonus activity: Complete the sorting activity. What did you know about the Five Pillars before you began the activity? Did you learn anything new? What do you think now about observing the Five Pillars?

Tags: Islam, Muslim, religion, Muhammad, object analysis, practice, pilgrimage, hajj, fasting, Ramadan, Shahada, zakat, tithe, salat, prayer, cultural literacy

The original collection and idea was created by Kate Harris, SCLDA.


Tracie Spinale

Main Street USA: Concept & Community

"In the United States, Main Street has always been two things—a place and an idea. As both, Main Street has embodied the contradictions of the country itself." - Miles Orvell

Conjuring images of simplicity, community, and harmony with the natural world, “Main Street” is a concept that continuously sparks the American imagination. Synonymous with small town America, popular depictions of Main Streets range from Disneyland’s Main Street USA, It’s A Wonderful Life’s Bedford Falls, to Norman Rockwell’s paintings. But is there a difference between the popularized concept of Main Street and the reality of today’s small town communities? How do people today experience their Main Streets, and do their experiences differ from each other?

In this collection, we’ll be exploring two central topics: Main Street as an IDEA, and Main Street as a PLACE. Students will be asked to analyze depictions of Main Street from art, literature, and historical documentation.

Kate Wilcox

Design in Accessories

Discover the numerous resources that explore human nature to improve our physical appearances. We often think of cosmetics and clothing as some of the most popular items people use to improve their physical appearances. However, technology pushes the limits of physical altercations to include prosthetics and other tools that let allow us to add to our bodies in ways that diverge from a simple touch-up or T-shirt. 

Cooper Hewitt Design Scholars

Architectural Elements and Archways- Maya Eisenberg

Cooper Hewitt Design Scholars

Favorite Summertime Activity

Works of art showing things I love doing over the summer...

Colleen Pake

La Lucha da Energía

This lesson introduces Dolors Huerta, Cesar Chavez and the Hunger Strike.

The painting "The Return to Aztlan" is highlighted to introduce students to these two historical figures.

The history of ¡Si Se Puede! is introduced and connected to Barrack Obama.  

Lesson includes: videos, learning target and short answer questions.

Paola Calderón

National Portrait Gallery’s Asian Pacific American Portraiture (Artists & Sitters)

This topical collection contains portraits and artwork that depict or were created by Asian Pacific Americans. Leslie Ureña, National Portrait Gallery Assistant Curator of Photographs, curated this group of resources from the National Portrait Gallery’s ever-expanding collections. A list of the museum’s collections on this topic is included as the second resource.  

Teachers and students may use this collection as a springboard for classroom discussion; for example, this collection may inspire students to conduct research about other Asian Pacific American artists and individuals. This collection is not comprehensive, but rather provides a launching point for further 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: portraiture, photograph, sculpture, article, primary source, painting, poster, letter


Tess Porter

Creative Writing

inspirational story starters/prompts

Christina Ratatori


early childhood 

Christina Ratatori

Harlem Renaissance

Christina Ratatori
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