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Becoming a Historian: Historical Context

Historical thinking skills allow historians to better practice and interpret history. This series teaches students how to develop these skills to become better historians themselves.

This Learning Lab will guide students through the process of defining historical context and practicing employing strategies from an example dealing with the 1968 Poor People's Campaign. 

 Historical context is the background information that informs a deeper understanding of a historical individual, group or event. Historical context is important because it allows historians to better understand history in the ways a historical individual or group understood the world around them, which leads historians to analyze the past more accurately. 

 Keywords: nmaahc, African, American, historical, thinking, skills, context, historical, contextualization, background, 1968, Poor People's Campaign, history, interpret, analyze

National Museum of African American History and Culture
16
 

James Baldwin: The Transatlantic Commuter

Beginning in the late 1940s, the notable African American writer, James Baldwin (1924-1987), lived abroad for much of his life. While acknowledging the benefits of his residence abroad to all of his works and life story, he always considered himself an American living as a “transatlantic commuter.”  This Learning Lab Collection asks you to analyze the documents, images, and objects that give insight into James Baldwin's life as transatlantic commuter and to use these objects of Baldwin to understand how they impacted his work and writings. 

A downloadable PDF workbook is included. The questions and activities are arranged as they appear in the Learning Lab Collection and are designed to enhance student exploration.

This Learning Lab is a companion piece of the digital NMAAHC exhibition Chez Baldwin.

Keywords: nmaahc, African, american, James, Baldwin, travel, Atlantic, commuter, writing, literature, Paris, New York, France, Turkey, Istanbul, Switzerland, United States, #NMAAHCteach

National Museum of African American History and Culture
27
 

Introducing Hokusai: Mad about Painting (Part One)

This Learning Lab Collection introduces three themes from the Hokusai:  Mad about Painting exhibition and provides works of art, classroom activities, and discussion questions associated with each theme.  Works of art selected for this Learning Lab highlight the first of two installations of the Hokusai exhibition, on view November 2019-April 2020.  The activities and discussions can be completed before or after your visit to the Hokusai:  Mad about Painting exhibition on view in the Freer Gallery of Art.  If you are unable to visit the exhibition, this Learning Lab allows you to virtually connect with the works of art and exhibition content on view for the first rotation of the galleries.  A second Learning Lab (Part Two) will be introduced in March for the second gallery installation.

Tags:  #AsiaTeachers; Be a Reporter; customs; daily life; dragons; Edo; Great Wave; Hokusai; Japan; nature; New Year; personification; poetry; power; Project Zero; Mount Fuji; See Think Wonder; Step Inside; symbols; thunder; woodblock print

About the tour:

Japanese Art and Culture
Grades K-12
Tour size limit: 45 students
Tour availability:  December 2, 2019 – November 13, 2020
One adult chaperone is required per each group of 10 students.
What can works of art tell us about cultural values?  How is the concept of “place” significant in Japanese art?  Transport yourself into misty mountains, rushing streams, and peaceful abodes when you explore the Japanese art of Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) in the special exhibition Hokusai: Mad about Painting.  Learn about the symbols and stories that make the works of art culturally significant for the people of Japan.

About the exhibition:

Hokusai:  Mad about Painting
November 23, 2019–November 8, 2020
Freer Gallery of Art, galleries 5–8

The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) is widely recognized for a single image—Great Wave Off the Coast of Kanagawa, an icon of global art—yet he produced thousands of works throughout his long life. Charles Lang Freer recognized the artist’s vast abilities before many other collectors, and he assembled the world’s largest collection of paintings, sketches, and drawings by Hokusai. In commemoration of the centennial of Freer’s death in 1919, and in celebration of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, the Freer Gallery presents a yearlong exploration of the prolific career of Katsushika Hokusai. Works large and small are on view, from six-panel folding screens and hanging scrolls to paintings and drawings. Also included are rare hanshita-e, drawings for woodblock prints that were adhered to the wood and frequently destroyed in the process of carving the block prior to printing. Among the many featured works are Hokusai’s manga, his often-humorous renderings of everyday life in Japan. Together, these works reveal an artistic genius who thought he might finally achieve true mastery in painting—if he lived to the age of 110.


Freer and Sackler Galleries
24
 

Living Our Cultures: Research, Talks and Events at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

In 1994, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center opened an Alaska office at the Anchorage Museum, and in opened the long-term exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska. The exhibition – created by in-depth collaboration with Alaska Natives throughout the project – presents Indigenous voices, perspectives and knowledge through over 600 masterworks of Alaska Native art and design from the National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian collections. Living Our Cultures serves as both a public exhibition and as an active resource for community-based research, talks and educational events, some of which are shown in the videos provided below. A major focus of ongoing work is collaborations with Alaska Native Elders, artists and culture-bearers on heritage documentation and revitalization projects, which are presented in the Community Videos section of this site. For more information, contact Aron Crowell (crowella@si.edu) or Dawn Biddison (biddisond@si.edu).

Tags: Alaska Native, Indigenous, heritage, art, collaboration, museum, objects, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
14
 

Unangax̂ Bentwood Hat-Making videos

Unangax̂ men of the Aleutian Islands wore hunting hats and visors that were shaped from carved, boiled and bent planks of driftwood, intricately ornamented with paint, beads, walrus ivory and sea lion whiskers. The hats were practical headgear for kayak hunters and at the same time works of art expressing the spiritual connection between human beings and animals of the land, sea and air. In 2012, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska hosted a bentwood hat making residency at the Anchorage Museum where Unangax̂ hat makers Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory and Michael Livingston worked with advanced apprentices Delores Gregory and Tim Shangin. They examined bentwood hats and visors from museum collections, and they carved, bent, and decorated their own, sharing their expertise with visiting students and museum guests.

The video set presented here provides step-by-step instructions on how to make a bentwood hat and information on the use and significance of these hats in the past and today, along with artist interviews that provide first-hand information about the Aleutian Islands region and this important art form. Links to a selection of Unangax̂ bentwood hats and visors from the Smithsonian collections are included below.

Tags: Aleutian Islands, Alaska, Alaska Native art, Indigenous, Unangax̂, Unangax, Unangan, Sugpiaq, Aleut, bentwood hat, bentwood visor, chief's hat, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
14
 

Quill Art videos

Athabascan peoples harvested porcupine to eat and also carefully processed its quills into a fine material to beautify special items. Some artists continue to use quill in their work. In 2013, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska hosted the Dene Quill Art project, bringing together two Athabascan artists and an ethnographic conservator to share quillwork techniques and develop new ones by studying historic museum pieces. They shared their expertise with students, museum visitors and local Alaska Native artists, along with conservators who learned how to better care for quillwork objects in museum collections. The video set presented here introduces participants and provides detailed demonstrations of how to work with quill from cleaning and dying, to sewing, wrapping folding and weaving. Links to a selection of Alaska Native objects from the Smithsonian collections made with porcupine quill are included below.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Athabascan, Dene, museum, education, Indigenous, quill, porcupine, conservator, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
15
 

Gifts from the Land: Lifeways and Quill Art of the Athabascan Peoples

Athabascan territories cover nearly half the state of Alaska, and these lands have diverse environments and wild resources that Athabascans respect, harvest and share. Wild resources are used for food and for raw materials to make things. For example, Athabascan peoples harvested porcupine to eat and also carefully processed its quills into a fine material to beautify special items, and some artists continue to use quill in their work. Artists today wrap, sew and weave quills onto clothing, bags and boxes made from tanned moose and caribou hide, like their ancestors did in the past.

  The curriculum below consists of five activity-based lessons and will teach students about the Athabascan peoples of Alaska: their languages, traditional values and knowledge, subsistence lifeways, and historic artifacts, with a focus on porcupines as a local resource and its quills as an artistic material. The three videos referred to in curriculum Lesson 4 are provided below and are part of a 8-video set on this site in the Community Videos section, titled Quill Art videos.

Tags: Alaska, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Athabascan, Dene, subsistence, traditional ecological knowledge, museum, museum objects, artifacts, quill, porcupine, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
11
 

Iñupiaq Language and Culture videos

The Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center hosted a language and culture seminar at the Anchorage Museum in 2011, bringing together eight fluent Iñupiaq speakers for four days to discuss cultural heritage objects from their region in the Smithsonian exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska at the Anchorage Museum. This video set presents a range of information about life in northwest Alaska for the Iñupiaq people: hunting tools used for living from the land and sea to ceremonial items used at celebrations and gatherings to everyday clothing to cultural traditions and values. The videos are in Iñupiaq with subtitles in English and Iñupiaq, for following along in both languages. An educational guide with six lessons is included below, along with links to objects discussed from the Smithsonian collections.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, language, Indigenous, Iñupiaq, Inupiaq, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
16
 

Salmon Give Life: Learning from Alaska’s First Peoples

There are five species of salmon in Alaska, and they are a vital food source for people living a subsistence lifestyle today and in the past. Alaska Natives determined that salmon skin, carefully processed, was a durable and waterproof material for clothing, and they used it to make bags, boots, mittens and parkas. Some artists continue to use this material in their work. The curriculum below consists of five activity-based lessons and will teach students about subsistence, with a focus on salmon, and how Alaska Natives utilize local resources to survive and thrive. The two videos referred to in curriculum Lesson 3 are provided below and are part of a 10-video set on this site in the Community Videos section, titled Sewing Salmon videos.

Tags: Alaska, Alaska Native, Indigenous, salmon, subsistence, traditional ecological knowledge, salmon skin, museum, museum objects, artifacts, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
7
 

Sewing Salmon videos

The Sewing Salmon project was hosted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska and brought together three contemporary Alaska Native artists: Audrey Armstrong (Koyukon Athabascan), Coral Chernoff (Sugpiaq) and Marlene Nielsen (Yup'ik). Together they learned and taught about creating work from salmon skin through studying historic museum objects and through sharing and comparing techniques they developed. Each artist has a commitment to this almost-lost art and shared their knowledge with students and visitors, and with curators and conservators who care for museum collections. The video set presented here introduces the artists and their techniques. Links to a selection of Alaska Native objects from the Smithsonian collections made from salmon skin are included below.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, Indigenous, sew, salmon, fish skin, Athabascan, Sugpiaq, Alutiiq, Yup'ik, Iñupiaq, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
15
 

St. Lawrence Island Yupik Language and Culture videos

The Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center hosted a language and culture seminar at the Anchorage Museum in 2011, bringing together seven fluent St. Lawrence Island Yupik speakers for five days to discuss cultural heritage objects from their region in the Smithsonian exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska at the Anchorage Museum. This video set presents a range of information about life on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska for the Yupik people: hunting tools used for living from the land and sea to ceremonial items used at celebrations and gatherings to everyday clothing to cultural traditions and values. The videos are in St. Lawrence Island Yupik with subtitles in English and Yupik, for following along in both languages. An educational guide with twelve lessons is included below, along with links to objects discussed from the Smithsonian collections. 

 Tags: Alaska, Native art, Native culture, Indigenous, museum, education, language, St. Lawrence Island, Yupik, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
26
 

Sewing Gut videos

The art of sewing sea mammal intestine – also called gut – is an ancient and practical one used to create water-repellant clothing and bags, as well as ceremonial garments. During a week-long residency organized by the Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum in 2014, Alaska Native artists Mary Tunuchuk (Yup’ik), Elaine Kingeekuk (St. Lawrence Island Yupik) and Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Iñupiaq-Athabascan) studied historic gutskin objects and demonstrated how to process and sew gut to students, museum conservators and visitors. A two-day community workshop in Bethel followed, taught by Mary Tunuchuk and hosted by the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center with assistance from Director Eva Malvich.

The video set presented here introduces the artists, examine historic objects made with gut from the Smithsonian collections, and offers detailed explanations and demonstrations. Learn how to process and sew sea mammal intestine (and hog gut as an alternative material for non-Alaska Natives); prepare grass and tapered thread for sewing; and complete a gut basket or gut window project. Links to a selection of Iñupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik and Yup’ik objects from the Smithsonian collections made from gut are included below.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, Indigenous, sew, gut, intestine, sea mammal, walrus, seal, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Inupiaq, Iñupiaq, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
19
 

Twining Cedar videos

Red cedar bark twined basketry is a distinctive Tsimshian art form. With the passing on of elder master artists and the demands of contemporary lifestyles, it became at risk. A handful of weavers today are working to master and revitalize twined cedarbark basketry, reconnecting with a proud heritage. In 2016, the Arctic Studies Center collaborated with The Haayk Foundation of Metlakatla to document the materials and techniques of cedarbark basketry. The project included a harvesting and processing workshop and a weaving workshop in Metlakatla, and a residency at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage where artists studied baskets from museum and private collections, practiced and refined weaving techniques, and taught museum visitors and school children about basketry.

Teaching was led by Haida master weaver Delores Churchill, who learned from master Tsimshian weaver Flora Mather, with assistance from her daughter Holly Churchill, an accomplished weaver. In addition to Metlakatla students, three advanced Tsimshian weavers participated in the project, sharing techniques learned in their families and communities and learning new ones: Kandi McGilton (co-founder of The Haayk Foundation), Karla Booth (granddaughter of Tsimshian master weaver Violet Booth) and Annette Topham (niece of master Tsimshian weaver Lillian Buchert). Metlakatla elder Sarah Booth, a fluent speaker of Sm’algyax (Ts’msyen), assisted Kandi McGilton in documenting indigenous basketry terminology for use in language classes.

The videos below pair with a bilingual guide included here. The videos provide an introduction to the artists and to Tsimshian twined cedarbark baskets, and they provide instruction on how to harvest and process materials and on how to weave a basket from start to finish. A twined cedarbark basket from the Smithsonian collections is also included below.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, Indigenous, Tsimshian, cedar, bark, Metlakatla, weaving, basket, David Boxley, Kandi McGilton, Delores Churchill, Karla Booth, Annette Topham, Holly Churchill, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
18
 

Tsimshian Bilingual Guide: Twining Cedar

Red cedar bark twined basketry is a distinctive Tsimshian art form. With the passing on of elder master artists and the demands of contemporary lifestyles, it became at risk. A handful of weavers today are working to master and revitalize twined cedarbark basketry, reconnecting with a proud heritage. In 2016, the Arctic Studies Center collaborated with The Haayk Foundation of Metlakatla to document the materials and techniques of cedarbark basketry. The project included a harvesting and processing workshop and a weaving workshop in Metlakatla, and a residency at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage where artists studied baskets from museum and private collections, practiced and refined weaving techniques, and taught museum visitors and school children about basketry.

Teaching was led by Haida master weaver Delores Churchill, who learned from master Tsimshian weaver Flora Mather, with assistance from her daughter Holly Churchill, an accomplished weaver. In addition to Metlakatla students, three advanced Tsimshian weavers participated in the project, sharing techniques learned in their families and communities and learning new ones: Kandi McGilton (co-founder of The Haayk Foundation), Karla Booth (granddaughter of Tsimshian master weaver Violet Booth) and Annette Topham (niece of master Tsimshian weaver Lillian Buchert). Metlakatla elder Sarah Booth, a fluent speaker of Sm’algyax (Ts’msyen), assisted Kandi McGilton in documenting indigenous basketry terminology for use in language classes.

The bilingual guide below pairs with a set of 15 instructional videos included here. The guide provides step-by-step details about cedarbark basketry from harvesting materials to twining techniques in Sm’algya̱x (the Tsimshian language) and English. A twined cedarbark basket from the Smithsonian collections is also included below.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, Indigenous, Tsimshian, cedar, bark, Metlakatla, weaving, basket, David Boxley, Kandi McGilton, Delores Churchill, Karla Booth, Annette Topham, Holly Churchill, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
18
 

St. Lawrence Island Yupik Lessons: Language and Culture

The Alaska Office of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center hosted a St. Lawrence Island Yupik language and culture seminar in January 2012, bringing together seven fluent speakers: John Apassingok, Lydia Apatiki, Ralph Apatiki, Sr., Elaine Kingeekuk, Christopher Koonooka, Merlin Koonooka and Angela Larson. They met for five days to discuss Yupik objects in the Smithsonian exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska at the Anchorage Museum.

During the seminar, the St. Lawrence Island Yupik language was documented and language and culture teaching materials were written for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. Twelve objects from the Smithsonian collections – with links below – are featured in the guide and lessons presented here. These resources pair with twelve video lessons that offer teachers, students, parents and lifelong learners access to the St. Lawrence Island Yupik language and lifeways.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, language, Indigenous, St. Lawrence Island, Yupik, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
26
 

Iñupiaq Lessons: Language and Culture

The Alaska Office of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center hosted an Iñupiaq language and culture seminar in January 2011, bringing together eight fluent speakers: Sylvester Ayek, Bernadette Alvanna-Stimpfle, Alvira Downey, Herbert Foster Sr., Willie Goodwin Jr., Jana Harcharek, Faye Ongtowasruk and Rachel Riley. They met for four days to discuss Iñupiaq cultural heritage objects in the Smithsonian exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska at the Anchorage Museum.

During the seminar, the Iñupiaq language was documented, including three different dialects, and language and culture teaching materials were written for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. Six objects from the Smithsonian collections – with links below – are featured in the guide and lessons presented here. These resources pair with six video lesons that offer teachers, students, parents and lifelong learners access to Iñupiaq language and lifeways.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, language, Indigenous, Iñupiaq, Inupiaq, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
14
 

Time Machine By H.G Wells: Age of Industrialization

This collection represents the age of industrialization in the eighteenth century.


William Chan
23
 

Women in Sports: Cindy Whitehead’s GN4LW Skateboard Conversation Kit Resources

A skateboarding pioneer, Cindy Whitehead turned pro at seventeen, skating both pool and half-pipe and becoming one of the top-ranked vert skaters while competing against the boys—something girls were not doing in the mid-1970s. But Whitehead had no choice but to wear boys’ shorts when competing; there were no skate products for girls in the 1970s.

She changed that in 2013 with her girl-empowered brand Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word (GN4LW). Whitehead is especially supportive of young female skaters through the GN4LW skate team and products which are geared towards women and girls.  

Whitehead’s signature phrase printed in gold on many of the GN4LW products personifies her independent spirit, "Live life balls to the wall. Do epic sh*t. Take every dare that comes your way. You can sleep when you’re dead." 


This Learning Lab collection contains artifacts and resources that support the Conversation Kit on Cindy Whitehead's GN4LW Skateboard as part of the Smithsonian's American Women's History Initiative. #BecauseOfHerStory

Because Of Her Story
32
 

From 1619 to the American Civil Rights Movement to Today

This collection brings together the New York Times Podcast 1619 (Episode 1, "The Fight for a True Democracy") and Smithsonian resources to support my 7th graders as we begin our unit on the American Civil Rights Movement. Later in the unit, the students will read March, a graphic novel based on the experience of Congressman John Lewis during the Civil Rights Movement. In order for the students to understand why the Civil Rights Movement was necessary, they must first understand the history that led to it. This collection does not, by any means, provide a complete or comprehensive history. The podcast provides an historical overview and will serve as a jumping off point for further research. The visual artwork, poetry, articles, and films included at the end serve to provide additional perspectives and opportunities for exploration. The students will develop their own research questions inspired by the thinking they've done throughout this collection and may use the additional resources provided to begin their independent research. A PowerPoint lesson on developing research questions is included.

The collection is organized into six lessons. The first five follow the same structure: students will explore a piece of visual art using Ten Times Two and Unveiling Stories, using the handout to record their ideas. Students will then listen to a portion of the podcast and use Think, Puzzle, Explore to document their thinking and record questions for further research. After listening to the podcast, they will return to their Unveiling Stories handout and add any new thinking. The sixth lesson brings the students from history to the present and asks them to consider the 2014 artwork New Age of Slavery by Patrick Campbell using Ten Times Two and Unveiling Stories. They will also listen to an NPR report on Black Lives Matter. Following the same format as previous lessons, they will document their thinking and questions about what they've heard using the Think, Puzzle, Explore handout and then return to their Unveiling Stories handout to add new ideas. 

Please note that the podcast link (including daily listening timestamps), the Unveiling Stories handout, and the Think, Puzzle, Explore handout are all linked at the start of this collection, but will be used each day (see daily lesson plans).  

#GoGlobal

Marissa McCauley
77
 

Classroom Activity Using Images of Immigration and Identity from the National Portrait Gallery, the New York Times, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Students can use the "What makes you say that?" and the "3 Ys" thinking routines to explore two modern portraits about identity and immigration from the National Portrait Gallery. The first thinking strategy asks students to look at a work of art for several minutes before answering two questions: "What's going on?" and "What do you see that makes you say that?" (See https://learninglab.si.edu/res... for more information.)

To further and deepen the discussion, I've included a link to a September 2016 New York Times Op-Doc entitled "4.1 Miles," about a coast guard captain on a small Greek island who is suddenly charged with saving thousands of refugees from drowning at sea. (If it doesn't show up easily, you can view the original video on Times Video at https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000004674545/41-miles.html.) I've also included two sculptures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, an interview with Lisa Sasaki, head of the Smithsonian's Asian Pacific American Center, and resources from the University of Minnesota  Libraries Publishing's Immigration Syllabus - Americans / Immigrants, Weeks 1-4.

You may wish to use the "3 Y's" thinking routine here as well, which asks students to consider the following questions:

1. Why might this [topic, question] matter to me?

2. Why might it matter to people around me [family, friends, city, nation]?

3. Why might it matter to the world?

(See https://learninglab.si.edu/res... for more information.)

#APA2018, #LatinoHAC, #EthnicStudies 

This collection supports Unit 1: Precious Knowledge - Exploring notions of identity and community, of the Austin ISD Ethnic Studies Part A course.

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


Philippa Rappoport
14
 

Athabascan Moosehide Tanning & Sewing videos

Older generations of Alaska Athabascan (Dene) peoples tanned moose hides using time-tested methods to make strong, supple leather for sewing beaded or quill-embroidered tunics, jackets, mittens, bags and moccasins, as well as everyday essentials such as dogsled harnesses. Because traditional tanning is time-consuming and requires technical knowledge that has declined in recent generations, most moose hides are now sent out to commercial tanneries for processing with synthetic chemicals. Commercial tanning produces a lower quality hide, but more importantly, it displaces the passing on of Athabascan tanning knowledge. Recognizing this, contemporary artists Joel Isaak (Dena'ina Athabascan) and Melissa Shaginoff (Ahtna Athabascan) have been learning traditional methods for tanning moose hides from elders Helen Dick (Dena’ina Athabascan) and Jeanie Maxim (Ahtna Athabascan) and adding tested, contemporary tools. 

The Alaska office of the Arctic Studies Center worked with these committed artists and elders from September 2017 through June 2018 to carry out moosehide tanning work in communities and backyards in Kenai, Chickaloon, and Anchorage, and a sewing and beading residency at the Anchorage Museum. The collaboration resulted in the set of twenty-three educational videos presented here. Links to a selection of Athabascan objects from the Smithsonian collections made from moose hide are included below.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, Indigenous, tan, tanning, moosehide, moose hide, smoking, sew, bead, Athabascan, Dena'ina, Ahtna, Dene, Melissa Shaginoff, Joel Isaak , Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
31
 

Sharing the Dena'ina Language

The Alaska Office of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center hosted a seminar with the Dena’ina Language Institute in 2010 at the Anchorage Museum. Elders Helen Dick and Gladys Evanoff shared their knowledge about Dena'ina heritage objects in the Smithsonian collections, using the objects as tools to teach the Dena'ina Athabascan language. They worked with language learners Karen Evanoff, Aaron Leggett and Michelle Ravenmoon and with linguists James Kari and D. Roy Mitchell to script and record new language learning videos, including the three videos presented here. Links to the museum objects discussed are included below. 

Tags: Dena'ina, Athabascan, Indigenous, language, Alaska Native, dog pack, fire bag, snowshoes, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
7
 

DRAFT Grade 4 Beliefs Unit - Science, Art, Humanities and Engineering - Museums Go Global

Welcome to the Grade 4 Beliefs Unit Collection. Please enjoy. Below there is information about:

- How the lesson was used specifically at Washington International School (WIS) in Washington DC in 2019 
- The role of STEAM at WIS

Additionally, within the collection, the markers will help guide the teacher through each component. The collection is broken up into: Educating the teacher team (preparing for the unit), STEAM teacher resources, Student activities, and Student learning extensions. 

Enjoy and all feedback is welcomed. 

About: 

Washington International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB), Primary Years Program (PYP). I am the STEAM Specialist who integrates 21st century skill inquiry projects, hands on science and engineering, and digital tools/technology. This collection is to support many teachers who will contribute to content for this unit. The Language specialists, art teacher, design technology, STEAM Specialist and physical education.

STEAM at WIS:

My role will be to host an experience that role-plays early civilizations and their interactions with sun, moon, and stars. Students will interpret their experience and create a piece of art that demonstrates their translation of the experience. The follow up will be to help the students connect their experience with ancient cultures. Then, the conversation will further develop to challenge the students to think how science changes our understanding of our universe. The overall theme is to encourage students and give them confidence to explore various belief systems, challenge their own understanding of the world through their beliefs, experiences, and science. 

These exercises scaffold learning to align student inquiry to the Social Studies standards: 

  • Distinguish between personal beliefs and belief systems (PYP Scope and Sequence Pg. 29)
  • Define the elements of a belief system (creed, codes of behavior, rituals, community.) (AERO CC+ G5 p22 4.5.f)
  • Identify the major religions of the world in terms of their beliefs, rituals and sacred texts. (referenced: AERO CC+ G6 p30 4.8.f)
  • Reflect upon how beliefs affect the individual and society (PYP Scope and Sequence Pg. 29)

Important to know: The teachers at WIS took the students on two days of field trips to visit various areas of "worship" in the DC/MD/VA area: Buddhist Temple, Mosque, Jewish Temple, Catholic Church, and African American Christian Church. Students had worksheets to complete for each location that included observations of icons, the use of shapes in the visual devotional symbols, and to draw the various religious icons. After, they engaged in discussion about their experiences. If your school does not have the ability to do an elaborate field trip like this, we recommend having devotional leaders and/or parents visit as subject matter experts to demonstrate their systems of faith, icons, devotions, and symbols. 


STEAM Project: 

  • I used this collection to train the teachers about the new thinking routines (Beginning slides)
  • There are samples from students learning about Sun, Egyptian use of sun in their beliefs (art and architecture) 
  • Students looked at Egyptian sun use and modern NASA sun data to inspire them for their STEAM Challenge
  • Their STEAM Challenge was to create a pyramid (cardboard) with a devotion (clay), and decorate with sun symbols (crayons/markers). 
  •  Our students just completed a cardboard challenge (Cain's Arcade - check out on Youtube) so they were cardboard construction "experts". Therefore, they only had 40 minutes for their challenge. You will need to either have a lesson on cardboard construction before, or give them more samples and/or time. Hypothetically, this could be a 1/2 day project for students. 
  • The goal is then for students to look at other cultures and other NASA data (Incas (or other Native American tribes)  African Tribes, and/or Australian Aborigines, etc. and have them do the same STEAM challenge (format) by creating a model structure decorated by symbols inspired by both indigenous symbols and modern NASA data (sun, stars, planets, or Earth's Moon). Therefore, they will have a "Maker Collection" that demonstrates various engineering styles as well as belief systems. 


International Baccalaureate Transdisciplinary Unit of Inquiry:  Who we are.  Beliefs - An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships, including families, friends, communities and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human. 

Central Idea: Humans have common beliefs that attempt to answer life’s big questions. 

            - The main line of Inquiry this collection will align with is: Global religious beliefs and practices

The following subject teachers plan to do the following:

           - Art = Beliefs and metaphors with clay

           - Digital Technology = Building sacred structures 

           - STEAM = Engineering and Science of sacred structures globally and historically

Global thinking routines: Step In, Step Out, Step Back; Beauty and Truth; Unveiling Stories

STEAM Challenge:  Students can further their inquiry from ancient beliefs with their experiences with modern organized religion into modern spirituality by analyzing the exhibition for Burning Man Festival. Students will complete a STEAM Challenge to build their own sacred structure that honors their own belief systems. 

#GoGlobal 

Sandra Vilevac
82
 

Manifesto

This interdisciplinary collection explores the idea of a manifesto through the framework of High School Visual Art, Language Arts and History. Inspired by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's "Manifesto: Art x Agency" exhibition, this collection examines the ideas of historical manifestos while also  examining whose voices are historically absent, and how they can be amplified in the future. Just as each generation of artists created manifestos to challenge the status quo, this generation of students can be empowered to do the same.  #GoGlobal

Using this Collection: 

  • Use the “Unit Outline” to see how each lesson/activity is organized. The “Introduction to Manifestos” lesson and corresponding artwork provide focused activities for use in the classroom, while the rest of the collection serves as suggestions and ideas for deepening thinking and questioning, culminating in a student-produced manifesto.
  • Detailed suggestions on how to implement the learning activities are found in the "information" section of each of the Activity Tiles as well as the Project Zero Thinking Routine Tiles.
  • Notes regarding the use of each Project Zero Thinking Routine are documented as annotations within each individual Thinking Routine tile and provide specific instructions on how align these routines with this collection.  

Global Competence Connection:

  • Students “recognize perspectives” by analyzing how manifestos and movements have championed certain voices over others, and contextualizing their own experiences within a broader historical and global context.
  • Students “communicate their ideas” through the creation of a manifesto that demonstrates their unique perspective.

Additional Manifestos:

Using the manifestos and artworks in this collection as a foundation, you can use other content specific texts for your subject area and unique classroom demographics. Some ideas include:

“The Origin of the Species” by Charles Darwin 

“The Communist Manifesto” by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx 

“United States Declaration of Independence” by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman

“Universal Declaration of Human Rights” by The United Nations

Other Resources:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/oct/08/10-best-political-manifestos-and-tracts

https://www.buzzfeed.com/monicatan/11-manifestos-that-could-change-your-art-lif


Ashley Beck
37
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