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Found 1,676 Collections


The 15th Amendment

By MaKayla Schauffler and Shelby Hughes

Makayla and Shelby

The Revolutionary War

The Revolutionary War or the American Revolution was one of the biggest turning points in world history as it marked the beginning of a world superpower. It showed the world that revolts were possible and the seemingly under powered colonists can stand up for themselves. It was a conflict that resulted from colonists realizing the conditions of their livelihood which was brought to light by the Enlightenment. A chain of laws and events would eventually lead to the colonists wanting to secede from England thus triggering the American Revolution.

The collection begins with the pamphlet Common Sense which sparked the reality of the colonists' livelihood. It'll feature prominent figures of the era such as Nathan Hale and the founding fathers in the painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We will look at objects the Continental Army's men carried with them like weapons and their personal belongings in chests. Nearing the end, there will be examples of tea ceramics decorated with references to the war to celebrate it and even music. There are also postcards from the World War II era that refer to the American Revolution to show how symbolic it is to the country.

Randy Park

American Revolution

The American Revolution marked the point in history when the colonist finally felt it was time to demolish the current government in the colonies since their existence was to only make money for England and they knew that there was more to them then that.

Omar Arreola

Hudson River School

Today, the United States' borders are much larger than what they were 250 years ago. With the release from British authority, the United States faced the challenge of expanding westwards, bound by no outside law.

Art was perhaps the most compelling form of storytelling. Whether it was about certain war victories, discovery of land, or peace treaties, art was a popular way of depicting what had taken place.

Art during this era was also a form of propaganda: it had to be beautiful, depict the west as a place of grand spectacles and such. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that heavy romantic themes would dominate this era of art. This was called the Hudson River School movement, which often exaggerated the beauty of American nature. As a result, we get to explore three major themes associated with Western Expansion: discovery, exploration, and settlement. Examine how these pictures make you as the audience feel, and how it might relate to the successful expansion westwards.

Marjon Santiago

SS 7.4.3 - Describe long-term and short-term outcomes of Reconstruction.

Students will use this collection to analyze key people, events, and ideas from the Reconstruction Era 1865-1877.

Grade 7

Strand: History

Standard 4: War and Reconstruction

Karla Kiper

Civil Rights

This collection of artifacts and images represent visual evidence of the struggle for Civil Rights and include images from the March on Washington in August of 1963.


Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Institute

This collection includes photographs and paintings that reveal information about Booker T. Washington's strategy for achieving civil rights for African-Americans, and about the subjects taught at Tuskegee. It is intended as an introductory activity on the subject, to be completed by students.

Tags: point of view, Reconstruction, Tuskegee Institute, civil rights, segregation, Gilded Age, cause effect

Leah Knecht

Althea Gibson Tennis Collection

Resources related to tennis player and International Tennis Hall of Famer Althea Gibson.

Althea Gibson, tennis, Wimbledon, racquet, racket

Nicole Markham

Constructing History: Exploring Primary Sources.

This unit explores different historical artifacts and the stories they tell. Students will investigate a range of objects, ranging from prescriptions to buffalo hides sourced from different Smithsonian collections.

Guiding Questions:  How do humans shape the narrative of History? Whose History is being told? Is it possible to have multiple versions of the “past”?

The collection consists of 5 sets of artifacts, connected by some aspect such as culture, time period, event or movement. However, these objects each tell a very different story. 

Working individually, in pairs or in small groups, students choose  a set to explore. The students spend time quietly and carefully looking at the sources and investigate what they can tell us about our world, both locally and globally.  This activity encourages students to reveal the multiple layers of meaning in an artifact from the most visible story to what it helps us to understand about the lives of our fellow human beings. 

Students can share their ideas in pairs, or small groups, before coming together as whole class to share their findings.

Time: 40-60 minutes

As a follow up activity, students reflect on what new connections and information they discovered, new ideas that came to light, and what they found puzzling.

Students can complete the handout individually, in pairs or groups. 

Time: 30-50 minutes depending on the length of the follow up discussion.

It might be interesting for students to watch the brief video included, where anthropologist Candace Green and curator Emil Her Many Horses, discuss the Lakota Winter Count as a form of historical record. 

The duration of the video is just under  5 minutes.

For more information about the thinking routines visit:


Lisa Holden

Exploring Scientific Innovation: Process, Product and Impact.

This collection consists of  three activities exploring different aspects of invention.  Students are invited to examine how inventions are linked, the impact of innovation on society, and the ethical implications of innovation.  Although designed to work as a unit, the lessons can be used individually.

Guiding Questions: What factors influence innovation in science? How do humans use science ? To what extent is science a group or individual process? Are all discoveries good or can they have a potentially negative effect?

In the first activity, students consider the process of invention by looking closely at images of inventions and exploring the connections between them. Students might consider which object was invented first, the microscope or the spectacles or investigate the relationship between glass, the telephone and the computer.

Students then view the short video on the manufacture of fiberglass, which looks at the process of innovating the glass manufacturing industry and the social and economic factors that propelled the invention of fiberglass. 

Time: 50 minutes.

Building on the student’s earlier thinking about innovation, in this activity they explore how new inventions shape our understanding of our world and their impact on our daily life.  Students are invited to explore images from artwork, advertisements, and leaflets and explain what each reveals about our changing world in both positive and negative ways.

This activity can be done individually, in pairs or in small groups followed by whole class sharing.

Time: 50 minutes, depending on the number of images explored.

The final activity delves into the ethics of invention and innovation, taking a broader look at the purposes and intended/unintended consequences of progress. This activity could also form  the basis for further research into other inventions and their implications.

 Time: 30-minutes




Lisa Holden

Exploring Works of Art: Parts, Purposes and Puzzles

How does Art shape our knowledge of the world? What is the purpose of Art?  What shapes our ideas about Art?

These are some of the questions students will explore in this collection. The focus of this collection is on visual art, including images drawn from photography, painting and sculpture. The 17 images are drawn from a  variety of Smithsonian museums.

I use two activities, built on Project Zero thinking routines, to guide and scaffold the students' thinking. For more information and resources visit,


The activities can be done sequentially or individually over two 50-60 minute class periods, depending on how far the teacher would like to extend the follow-up discussion after the first activity or the number of images explored in the second.

 The first activity, “What makes you think that? invites students to identify their own ideas about art,  what they consider “good” art and to reflect on how they arrived at their conclusions. Students are invited to sort the works into two categories, "good" or "bad" art.  Once they have sorted the works, they document the reasons for their choices and then compare with a partner,  followed by whole class sharing.

It is interesting for students to think about where their beliefs come from and the discussion may extend to the influence of culture, perspective, religion, or personal versus public opinion.

 In the second activity “Parts, Purposes, Puzzles students delve deeper into individual works.  Students make careful observations, analyze component parts, consider the purpose of the artists choices, and pose questions.

The activity can be done individually or in groups.

As a concluding activity, students might find it interesting to revisit their initial rankings, and consider what they might now change and why?

Lisa Holden

American Indian Heritage Month Resources

These classroom resources from different Smithsonian museums focus on American Indian history and culture. 

Philippa Rappoport

Migration - Lesson Plans and Information

How was migration affected by the use of canoes/boats?

The earliest human migrations and expansions of archaic and modern humans across continents began 2 million years ago with the migration out of Africa of Homo erectus. This was followed by the migrations of other pre-modern humans including Homo heidelbergensis, the likely ancestor of both modern humans and Neanderthals.

Michele Hubert

Weather and Climate (Earth and Space Systems)-- Lesson Plans and Information

What does the weather do to the ocean currents?

Ocean water and currents affect the climate. It takes a greater amount of energy to change the temperature of water than land or air; water warms up and cools off much slower than land or air does. As a result, inland climates are subject to more extreme temperature ranges than coastal climates, which are insulated by nearby water. Over half the heat that reaches the earth from the sun is absorbed by the ocean's surface layer, so surface currents move a lot of heat. Currents that originate near the equator are warm; currents that flow from the poles are cold.

The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt

The great ocean conveyor belt is an example of a density-driven current. These are also called thermohaline currents, because they are forced by differences in temperature or salinity, which affect the density of the water.

The great ocean conveyor belt begins as the coolest of all currents - literally. At the beginning of the conveyor belt:

The Gulf Stream delivers warm, and relatively salty, surface waters north to the Norwegian Sea. There the water gives up its heat to the atmosphere, especially during the frigidly cold winters. The surface waters cool to near freezing temperatures, at which time they become denser than the waters below them and sink. This process continues making cold water so dense that it sinks all the way to the bottom of the ocean.

During this time, the Gulf Stream continues to deliver warm water to the Norwegian Sea on the surface. The water can't very well pile up in the Norwegian Sea, so the deep cold water flows southward. It continues to flow southward, passing the Equator, until it enters the bottom of the Antarctic Circumpolar current. It then drifts around Africa and Australia, until it seeps northward into the bottom of the Pacific.

Michele Hubert

Aboriginal Melodies: a Look into the Music of Those Who Came Before

There were hundreds of different native communities, and with each, there was a distinct history, language, and musical culture. Musical culture played a vital role in the life of Native Americans. It was used for recreation, healing, expression, and ceremonial purposes.

Music was the foundation of Native American culture that worked its way into rituals, customs, and daily life. Much of the foundational personality and uniqueness of Native music that is known, originates from the instruments themselves, most notably, drums, rattles, and flutes/pipes.

Originating in the 1500's and ending in the 1700's Native Americans adopted and adapted many European instruments. However, before learning of the European instruments, the natives already had many of their own. Even though their instruments weren't as advanced as those of the Europeans, they had what they needed which were these beautiful percussive and woodland instruments. Still, when borrowing and adapting European instruments, the Native Americans managed to make these them their own by decorating them. 

Decorations would often have some sort of spiritual significance, or could oftentimes refer to sacred narratives. However, it is not only the decorations that tell stories. Usually, the names of the instruments themselves reflected some sort of symbolic significance. Also, some instruments are thought to be sentient and require special treatment. 

There are several techniques that are employed in making these instruments. One of the most abstract being the art that was often carved, painted or placed on these instruments. Some devices would take an hour or two to make and were able to be built by practically anyone in their tribe. However, some instruments were so complex that only certain tribe members could make them and it could take up to weeks to finish. 

Unlike the Europeans, instruments were much more than just instruments to the Native Americans, they were spiritual symbols and carried a lot of cultural significance for their individual tribes. 

Native Americans put a lot of work and effort into these devices, and even though they didn't have the modern tools and knowledge that we have today, they had what was necessary for their practices. 

Victoria Miranda

The Types of Print Culture

Print culture in and before the 17th century, before 1865 to be exact, took the world by storm. It shows the developlment of human communication, political expression, it provides a sense of self worth, and it holds a vital role in today's society. In this collection, each photograph will show the advancement in human intellectuality, advancement in technology, and advancement in creativity and self-expression. This collection will have not only literary pieces and documents, but will also have paintings and photographs.

Lauren McIver

The Alamo and Texan Revolution

During the early 1800s American's newly found values of independence and freedom flowed throughout the lands. One of the boldest and most remembered acts was the triumph of Texans at the Alamo February - March of 1836. Through a series of hard fought battles, William B. Travis led a group of Texans to victory. By never giving up these events caught the attention of all America. The creation of the Republic of Texas showed people everywhere that through perseverance and determination people could defy overwhelming odds. 

chris pulido

Persian Artifacts

Artifacts from the Persian Civilization. Primarily, artifacts from the ruins of Persepolis.

Keidre Hull

Assyrian Artifacts

Artifacts from the Assyrian Civilization

Keidre Hull

Hittite Artifacts

Artifacts from the Hittite Civilization

Keidre Hull

The Women's Suffrage Movement

The Women's Suffrage movement was a big part of history. Without The brave women who fought for suffrage in the past women would't be anywhere near where we are now, with a woman being so close to being the President of the United States. Suffrage did stem from the fight for the abolition of slavery. The women saw how African Americans wanted freedom for themselves, how they wanted to vote, own property and they were both movement that essentially brought power to the minorities and people who were being treated like minorities Some abolitionist even joined the movement like Frederick Douglas, William H Garrison,etc. Even thought the original women activists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and prominent participants didn't get to see the change, change did eventually come and it was a good day for women worldwide.

Zainab Suara

Farming Tools and Methods: 1600-1860

               In early colonial times for America, few jobs or positions were held with more importance than the American Farmer. These men became the backbone of American society, yet have little to show for it. Ever since the quest for gold turned out to be quite the dismal failure for early Virginian settlers, farming for crops like tobacco, corn, and wheat became the new standard for economic growth, stability, and security.

               Farming is a mainstay in American culture from the first settlers to beyond the pioneers of the west and plantation owners the Civil War, as far as routes to reliable financial security go. Overtime, the mainstream adopts more methods and tools of farming, gradually making the profession more efficient and profitable overtime.

               To this day, farming has a major impact on our lives, and even though the agriculture business may sometimes seem unimportant or forgotten in American society, it is important to preserve the history of this vital livelihood. This collection includes multiple artifacts to display the adoption of processes, traditions, and tools that made farming a powerhouse industry of America. They are placed in chronological order to signify not only when they were invented, but when each became more popular.

Devon Woods

Making America: Jamestown

It all began in April of 1607 when Englishmen boarded their ships and sailed to the Americas, creating the first English colony, Jamestown. Even though the colonists went through some hardships, they were able to push through and set the groundwork for future colonies and eventually The United States. 

Jamestown was an uninhabited peninsula before the English arrived. They quickly understood why. Although the location was close to Native Americas, so that trade could be established, the soil made it impossible to farm and the tidal water spread disease. 

During the early months, many of the original colonists died. If not for the help of the Powhatans', the Englishmen would have all died during the first winter. 

Years went on and the settlers of Jamestown continued to struggle. It was the mass production of tobacco that saved Jamestown. Due to the high demand of tobacco, Jamestown went from ruins to riches. As the tobacco business grew, tobacco farmers had to find more people to grow their crops. The industry outgrew Jamestown and expanded far into the land of the Native Americans. This led to ideas and concepts such as slavery, and the entitlement of settlers. 

Katherine Flores
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