Found 1,676 Learning Lab Collections
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
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
The Native Americans who lived in this area prior to the establishment of Fort Tejon are generally referred to as the Emigdiano. They were an inland group of the Chumash people. Unlike their coastal relatives, however, the Emigdiano avoided contact with European explorers and settlers, and were never brought into one of the missions or even incorporated into the Sebastian Indian Reservation. Once Fort Tejon was established, the Emigdiano often worked as independent contractors for the army, providing guides for bear hunts and delivering fresh fruits from their fields for sale in officers row.
In 1852, President Millard Fillmore appointed Edward F. Beale to the position of Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California and Nevada, and sent him to California to head off further confrontation between the Indians and the many gold seekers and other settlers who were pouring into California. After studying the situation, Beale decided that the best approach was to set up a large Indian reservation at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and to invite displaced Indian groups to settle there.
In order to implement his plan, Beale requested a federal appropriation of $500,000 and military support for the 75,000 acre reservation he had selected at the foot of Tejon Pass. Colonel Ethan Allen Hitchcock, commander of the Pacific Division of the U.S. Army, supported Beale's plan and agreed to set up a military post on or near the Indian reservation. The army was eager, in any case, to abandon Fort Miller (near Fresno, California) in favor of a more strategically advantageous site in California's southern San Joaquin Valley.
In August 1854, Major J.L. Donaldson, a quartermaster officer, chose the present site in Canada de las Uvas. The site was handsome and promised adequate wood and water. It was just 17 miles southwest of the Sebastian Indian Reservation, and it was right on what Major Donaldson was convinced would become the main route between the Central Valley and Southern California.
For almost ten years, Fort Tejon was the center of activity in the region between Stockton and Los Angeles. The soldiers, known as Dragoons, garrisoned at Fort Tejon patrolled most of central and southern California and sometimes as far as Utah. Dragoons from Fort Tejon provided protection and policed the settlers, travelers and Indians in the region. People from all over the area looked to Fort Tejon for employment, safety, social activities and the latest news from back east.
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
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
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
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
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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dawn Biddison (email@example.com).
Tags: Alaska Native, Indigenous, heritage, art, collaboration, museum, objects, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
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
Teaching with the Smithsonian Learning Lab: A Workshop for George Washington University Faculty and Graduate Students
For the workshop, Teaching with the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab – Millions of Resources at Your Fingertips! (January 8, 2020), this is a collection of digital museum resources and instructional strategies. It includes a warm-up activity, a close-looking exercise, and supporting materials for participants to create their own teaching collections.
This collection was co-created with Tess Porter.
This Women's History collection contains photographs, documents, and other materials from Indiana Historical Society archival collections that pertain to the history of women's rights and interests in Indiana. Some of the materials represented in this digital collection include Indianapolis Woman's Club Records, League of Women Voters of Indiana Records, Propylaeum Records, as well as other organizational records and personal papers such as those of May Wright Sewall. Materials date from the late 1800s through the present day.
This is a collection of my favorite items fromIndiana Historical Society collections.
A collection of resources about Ancient China and artifact examples.
The guiding questions of this Learning Lab are
- What is visual art’s connection to historical events? Why is it important that we recognize these connections?
- What does studying art add to our understanding of historical events and time periods?
The goals of this Learning Lab are
- Bridge the gap in understanding between art analysis and historical analysis
- Explore the inherent ties between art pieces and their surrounding historical context
- Introduce the foundations of formal art analysis and develop close looking skills for visual art pieces
If you are new to Learning Lab, visit https://learninglab.si.edu/help/getting-started to learn how to get started!
Special thanks to National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the National Museum of American History (NMAH), Smithsonian Folkways, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) for inspiring this learning lab and for their resources.
Keywords: Portraiture, African American, American, Selma, Alabama, visual art, Civil Rights Movement, United States, visual literacy
Alaska is home to over 100,000 Indigenous residents who represent twenty distinctive cultures and languages. The map shows cities, towns and villages where most people live today, but depicts Alaska Native territories as they existed in about 1890, before the main influx of Euro-American settlers.
Map information is courtesy of Michael Krauss, Igor Krupnik, Ives Goddard and the Alaska Native Language Center (University of Alaska Fairbanks). Map courtesy of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center.
Did American women [or the women of your state] deserve the right to vote in the early 20th century?
Who had the right to vote in the US [or your state] by the early 20th century?; What roles did women play in society at this time?; Who supported and opposed women's suffrage and why?
Though the answer to this compelling question might feel obvious to 21st century Americans, the issue was far from settled at the time. This dichotomy adds to its intellectual heft and engages students' inherent interest in fairness, discrimination, and rights. (It also connects to ongoing debates about the franchise and who is entitled to it.) The supporting questions invite students to learn more about voting in the time period, the changing roles played by women, and the people who might have supported or opposed women's political equality, all of which help scaffold students' investigations into the ideas and issues behind this compelling question.
This collection provides an introduction to the art of weaving practiced in Guatemala.
This collection was created by Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center faculty member. #SEECStories
This collection provides a brief introduction to the Vejigante tradition practiced during the month of February in Puerto Rico, in observance/celebration of Carnival.
This collection was created by Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center faculty member. #SEECStories
Use this collection of textiles as part of a geometry unit. After reviewing shapes, lines, and angles, students can focus on how the patterns repeat, flip, slide, and turn. Once students have had the chance to investigate some textiles, they can use Tinkercad to create their own design that will be come a stamp when 3D printed. The final step is for students to reflect on their design and printing by doing the following:
- One stamped design on the page
- Draw lines of symmetry on it
- Label the shapes used in the design
- Tell what kind of pattern used on felt rectangle - Dot, Stripe, Block
- Tell is there is rotation (turn), reflection (flip), translation (slide)
Thank you to Learning Lab contributor, Christopher Sweeney, for inspiring me while designing this unit!
This collection is adapted from a collection created by Tess Porter - National History Day: Abolitionists.
In support of research related to American abolitionists, resources - including portraits, articles, primary source documents, videos, and websites - highlight four abolitionists profiled in American Experience film The Abolitionists and the National Youth Summit on Abolition: William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown. Additional resources related to abolitionism and other important abolitionists are located at the end. Refer to each collection tile for summaries of individual resources.
By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.