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Found 2,010 Collections


1875 Civil Rights Movement

This Collection has some of the minor and major things that had to do with the 1875 Civil Rights Movement. It was big part of the Reconstruction Era, although failed to succeed as an effective "constitutional" law until 1964. So what do you do if your nation just fought and killed off over half a million soldiers of their own and demolished each other as best as they could which almost cause the whole nation to split into two different counties, along side that the President was recently assassinated? Easy. Well you try and fix it. The diverse difference in belief of rights between the union and confederate states made it a difficult adjustment to unite as one nation without more conflict after the Civil War. After Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, Vice President Andrew Johnson took over. Although Johnson was a southerner himself and was a racist bastard, he attempted to reconstruct the south and build “equal” AGAIN I SAY EQUAL rights for blacks. By that I mean putting only white people in the “reconstructed” governments. He gave no land to the black people, and lacked on protecting and proceeding their civil right laws. Anyways.. There was obviously a lot of conflict between the two races over land and just straight up discrimination all over the place. In response to this they tried to reconstruct a civil rights act multiple times, which leads me to the Civil Rights Act of 1875.  The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was signed by President Ulysses S. Grant to protect all citizens and their civil and legal rights, which outlawed segregation by giving everyone equal access to public places. Grant signed it as a federal law. If you did not obey this law, the consequences varied from being put in jail for 30 days or paying a fine of $500-$1000 dollars while being trailed at the Supreme Court. It was an extremely controversial topic. The Southern states did not obeyed by it. When the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed was believed to be supported under the 13th and 14th Amendments. (13th Amendment- prohibits slavery, 14th Amendment- all persons born or naturalized in the United States are American including African Americans). Pretty much the law just fell apart over time. It was declared by the Supreme Court unconstitutional in 1883. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was the last attempt of the government to create a successful Civil Rights Movement until the year of 1965. 

Ashley Lazaro

Dorothea Lange, Photographer & Artist

Dorothea Lange took images of the bread lines during the Great Depression, migrant workers displaced, destitute families, Japanese internment camps, and the removal of a town in Monicello, CA. Her work inspired others to put themselves in the shoes of the very poor and the displaced, humanizing their predicament, with the hope of leading to social justice and change.


Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era

Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era explores the events of civil rights and the Vietnam War as they impacted African American life and culture. The mid 1950s to the 1970s was an era of great change in America as new social, political, and cultural perspectives began to reshape the American landscape. In Vietnam and at home, African Americans were impacted by these events resulting in a greater expression of political and cultural identity. This was the era of street demonstrations and court battles; of protest and musical expression; of Black arts and Black Power. African American men and women, Soul Soldiers, battled on two fronts, for equality at home and democracy abroad. Their service in war was valor and their activism in civil rights was historic.

This collection of materials was designed by the Heinz History Center for classroom use. Be sure to click on the info tab and/or paperclip icon on each time for additional information and suggested learning activities.


Fast Lines: Transportation, 1800-1900

Fast Lines: Transportation, 1800–1900 contains activities, primary sources, and other information to help teach students about the effect of transportation in western Pennsylvania  (be sure to click on the paper clip and/or info icon on each item to find out more about it). 


Making a Home: Changes through Time, 18th-20th Century

With rich primary sources including family photographs, advertisements, and historical maps, Making a Home: Changes through Time, 18th-20th Century teaches students about regional homes and the families who lived in them  (be sure to click on the paper clip and/or info icon on each item to find out more about it).


The Great Depression

Christina Ratatori

Ozark artifacts

Aaliyah Williams

World War I Stamps

This topical collection features forty international stamps that were issued during the World War I era. These stamps will serve as inspiration and a starting point for teacher-created Smithsonian Learning Lab collections during the National Postal Museum's workshop, "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" (July 2017) 


Ashley Naranjo


White southerners that helped with the reconstruction after.

lance mcmillan


This is a collection with at least 5 "artifacts" giving a basic knowledge on what the KKK is. This is for a presentation, made by Liam and I.

Nathan Stillwell

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
1585-1608 of 2,010 Collections