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Found 4,529 Collections


​Storied Objects from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival​

These are some examples of how the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage used objects in its collection to reflect on its 50-year anniversary in 2017. While these entries are related to music, the collection's full site is also included. Investigating how and why cultural objects are made and used can help stimulate students to connect to their heritage and be used by teachers to develop research, storytelling, songwriting, and general writing skills with their students.

Marie-Louise Orsini

​Native Americans and Manifest Destiny

A collection of images focusing on the Native Americans and their vanishing cultures due to Manifest Destiny.

Lesson Concept

Travis Meserve

Bowling Green High School, Bowling Green, KY

Grade levels: 9-12

11th grade American Literature Focus for English Second Language Learners

Lesson Time: 50 minutes


1.  Show the students a copy of the painting “Westward the Course of Empire Makes Its Way” by Emanuel Leutze (1861). Ask the students to spend a few moments observing the work in silence, noticing any details that draw their eyes.  Ask the students to let their eyes touch every part of the canvas/picture.

2. Using the teaching strategy “See Think Wonder” ask the students to volunteer details in the work that they see.  Ask them to describe only what they observe in the work (e.g. “I see a man in a fur hat holding a gun”). After the student makes a factual observation, ask the student “What do you see that makes you say that?” if the student says something that is not immediately obvious (e.g. the student sees a wooden sailing ship trapped in sea ice but describes it as a cabin).  Do not correct the student.  Let other students make observations and possibly correct each other through observation and discussion.  After the student is satisfied with an observation, follow up with the question “What do you think about that?” Allow the student to offer any interpretations of what the detail means for the content of the work, the tone, the theme etc.  Avoiding any value judgements, summarize back to the student his or her interpretation and evidential observations supplying any vocabulary the student might lack, asking for the student’s approval of the final summary. Continue this procedure until the students exhaust their observations or the class time restraints are reached.  Finally, follow up with the question “What does this work (or specific observation) make you wonder about?”

3. At this point, ask the students to note anything that they do not see but would expect to be represented in the scene.  Second Language Learners who have been in the USA for 2-3 years would probably have some general ideas about the history of the USA and may be able to offer such absences.  If not, the teacher may need to point out that no Native Americans appear in the main scene.  If the students do not notice the border of the work, point out that there are small scenes in the border that add content/connections to the main scene. Point out that two Native Americans appear there, small and crawling.

4. Ask the students to make a journal entry writing their thoughts about the work, specifically noting the Americans who are represented as moving across the land and the Americans who are not represented.


  1. If the students have enough command of the language, the teacher can discuss representing fact versus propaganda.  Discuss the painting as advertisement for the movement west despite its factual inaccuracies (e.g. the painting depicts California as visible from the Rocky Mountains although it is actually 1,200 miles away).  Contrast this with a handbill distributed in the Dust Bowl areas advertising workers needed in California to pick crops (in reality the number of workers was greater than the jobs available). A possible literary connection could be to The Grapes of Wrath.

  2. Use the painting periodically through the course of American Literature.  Students’ reactions to the work may evolve as they expand their ideas of American history, manifest destiny, and the immigrant experience.  Allow students to write new journal entries each time they revisit the work with new knowledge.  Discuss the dialogue that gets created between the artist, the work, and the viewer based on what the viewer brings to the experience.


Objective: The student will be able to make a factual observation about the painting and offer interpretation (where possible) citing evidence from the work.

Follow-up lessons: On subsequent viewing of the work, the student will be able to identify themes in the painting that connect to texts from American Literature (e.g. attitude toward nature, the west, immigration, manifest destiny, etc.)

Rationale for using this artwork: The painting by Leutze encapsulates many themes that permeate American Literature and lends itself to an introduction to the course as well as an anchor for the course that will bear repeated viewing.

Rationale for the the methodology: The English as a Second Language student often does not bring a lot of background knowledge about American history or art.  The See-Think-Wonder technique allows the student to engage with the work as an expert would: one who makes observations and interpretations that allow claims backed by evidence.


Differentiating Observation (fact) from Interpretation (opinion).

Making claims based on evidence.

Practice speaking in front of peers using the target language of English.


Travis Meserve

​Nasal Cavity

Nasal cavity have a number of structures. The superior middle and inferior nasal conchae is this coronal section through the nasal cavity where that line down the middle is showing the nasal septum and then that's right down the middle and it separates our two parts of the nasal cavity.

Each nasal cavity has the following components a superior nasal conchae, middle nasal conchae and inferior nasal conchae called turbinate bones and they come out from the lateral nasal wall and underneath each of them they have these spaces called the superior meatus middle meatus and inferior meatus and these bring air into the nasal cavity. This air swirled and touches the mucosal lining the air is warmed up the air is filtered the airs add some humidity to it so doesn't dry out the nasal mucosa.

There's the medial wall of the nasal septum and there's the lateral wall of the nasal cavity and on the lateral wall is a superior nasal Concha a middle nasal Concha and an inferior nasal Concha. Just as we can see the coronal section now coming into the nasal cavity is cranial nerve and the olfactory nerve is for smell. And so there we've got these different branches coming to the nasal septum in the lateral nasal wall and in the sagittal section there we've got the olfactory bulb and tract and then they send there through the cribriform frame and of the ethmoid bone there we've got those olfactory nerves coming in.

The maxillary nerve does general sensation to the nasal cavity pain, temperature, touch, vibration and so forth and so there we've got cranial nerve each and it sends off branches that will go to the nasal septum branches that go to the lateral nasal wall and then even branches that go down to the hard palate to do general sensation which do the hard palate and part of the gums the buck so the lingual surface of the gums for general sensation alright now in this sagittal section here we see super middle and inferior nasal Concha. And then here we've got the opening for the sphenoid sinus and then here we have the opening for the maxillary sinus and you just need to know that a died rain those paranasal sinuses and then finally the nasolacrimal duct empties into the nasal cavity in the inferior meatus.

First here we've got the nasal cavity in the opening nasolacrimal duct so there's our lacrimal gland that under innervation of facial nerve. The greater petrosal branch causes you to cry number seven makes you cry close your eye innervates every gland in the head except when it goes through. Here's seven innervating the lacrimal gland tears then go down in the eye and they wash through the eye and and help keep the eye moist and then excess tears go into these canaliculi that drain into the lacrimal sac and drain down this nasolacrimal duct and end tear into the nasal cavity.

Hollow chamber within the frontal bone and then the ethmoid sinus also called ethmoid air cells because there's anterior middle and posterior to your chambers of these honeycomb looking sinusesin the ethmoid bone and then the maxillary sinus that flanks the nasal cavities below the orbit above the maxillary teeth and then the sphenoid sinus.

There is a key that shows a nasal cavity maxillary ethmoid frontal and sphenoid sinuses. All right now the nasal cavity Musil pharynx has the opening of the auditory tube also known as your eustachian tube. In this sagittal section there's the opening of the fringotympanic tube or your auditory tube and it's called the fringotympanic tube. The nasal pharynx in this coronal section which then goes into this tube that goes into the middle ear hence it's also called the auditory tube because it goes from the nasal pharynx into the middle ear where auditory area occurs and the new station and then eustachian tube for the scientists who discovered.

Michelle Allan

ქვის ხანიდან რკინის ხანამდე

მე-6 კლასის შემაჯამებელი სამუშაო
შესაბამისობა ეროვნულ სასწავლო გეგმასთან..
ჩემს მოსწავლეებს შეუძლიათ გამოიყენონ და შექმნან ინფორმაციის გადმოცემის სხვადასხვა საშუალება, ამ შემაჯამებელზე ვიყენებთ , ჩანახატის შექმნას
დავალება : მოსწავლე იხსენებს პირველყოფილი საზოგადოების პერიოდს, ადამიანის მიერ სამუშაო იარაღების შექმნის პროცესს, შემდეგ ის "გაივლის გზას " ქვის ხანიდან რკინის ხანამდე , აქცენტი აქვს სამუშაო იარაღზე, კერძოდ- მსჯელობს სამი კითხვის საშუალებით

1. რა გამოიგონა?
2. რატომ გამოიგონა?
3 როგორ გამოიყენა?

მოსწავლეს შეუძლია ის დახატოს რაც უნდა, ასევე სასურველია ჩაანხატს "მიაბას "ინფორმაცია , სადაც გამოჩნდება, რომ მხოლოდ რკინა არ არის აუცილებელი იარაღისთვის, ის ფიქრობს, რას აკეთებს რკინისგან- ხვდება უკეთეს იარაღს, რატომ აკეთებს -გატყდა ბრინჯაოსი და მოუხერხებელია ქვის, რატომ არის აუცილებელი -იმიტომ რომ კარგად იკვებოს, ან ოჯახი დაიცვას

ვარიანტები უამრავია , ჩანახატიც, გთავაზობთ რამოდენიმეს

Nino Abuladze

მანანა ჯაყელი - ნაპოლეონი

ნაპოლეონის ეპოქა კარიკატურებში

Manana Jakeli

Αρχαία παιχνίδια

My first collection of ancient games.
Ourania Doula


A collection of alphabet books to inspire students to create their own. Alphabet books can be created using any subject and completed with any grade. They can be completed individually (one student makes a page for each letter of the alphabet) or as a group or class (each student takes one letter). Here are some ideas for topics or use with your students:
Kindergarden-1st--Pick a letter, write a sentence using that letter and illustrate.
2nd-4th--The class takes a topic such as insects and each student takes a page, researches and illustrates it.
5th-12th--Students take a topic (biography, historical topic, memoir about themselves, book that they've read) and creates an alphabet book with each page telling the story or giving information about the subject.
Met Kous

¡Descubra! Meet the Science Expert

What is ¡Descubra! Meet the Science Expert? These STEM interactive science activities highlight informal conversations with ¡Descubra! Latino featured speakers, ¡Descubra! collaborating organizations, and !Descubra! Create-It hands-on activities.

The Smithsonian Latino Center created the ¡Descubra! series as a fun way to build science in youth.

Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC)

Zozobra in Santa Fe: A Contemporary Reckoning of a Local Tradition

This teaching collection encourages students to think about all sides of an issue - in this case a cultural event - and then make connections to related issues of identity and nationalism locally, nationally, and internationally. The collection uses an article by Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, and Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, as a jumping off point to explore changes to Santa Fe's annual Fiesta de Santa Fe, described by organizers as “the oldest, most colorful community celebration in the nation,” as part of an ongoing conversation across the country about how we choose to honor our "history, multicultural legacies and unique blend of traditions."

The exercise is scaffolded with global competence strategies to help students explore the Fiesta in successive detail, consider the various perspectives of the communities involved, and make connections to similar conversations happening across the US today. Students can share ideas in groups or through writing assignments, adding in outside research  if desired. 

Keywords: American Indian, Native American, Pueblo Indians, Hispanic, Latino, Entrada


Philippa Rappoport

Zora Neale Hurston: Author, Anthropologist and Folklore Researcher

This teaching collection includes introductory resources to begin a study of Zora Neale Hurston, as an author, anthropologist and folklore researcher during the Harlem Renaissance.
Ashley Naranjo

Zoot Suit Riots- Jay Quinio

50 sailors from the reserve stormed through Mexican-American towns stripping Mexican-Americans of their suits

"Zoot Suit Riots Exemplify Ethnic Tensions in L.A., June 3-8, 1943." Historic U.S. Events, Gale, 2014. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Jay Quinio

Zoot Suit Riots, Emma Mendoza

Here is an image related to the Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles in 1943.

Emma Mendoza

Zoot Suit Riots

Here are some images related to the Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles in 1943.

Mark Carlin

Zoology Introduction: Observing Pandas

This lesson plan teaches innate and learned animal behavior by having students watch videos of Bao Bao, the Smithsonian National Zoo's panda, and answer questions about her behavior in the videos. The videos range from Bao Bao as a newborn to her first birthday and have quiz questions connected to them to help students better understand how to observe animal behavior. There is a hand out for students to read while watching the videos to better help them answer questions. There is also a chart attached that can be used by the teacher to write down the behavior of Bao Bao in each video in fifteen second increments. This teacher lesson plan can also be adapted to be used as a class assignment, if needed. 

Christina Shepard

Zoo Animal Identification: Seen One Zebra?

   If you’ve seen one zebra, you’ve seen them all, right? That, it seems, is what nature
   wants us to think. Zebras live in herds. What a predator sees in the herd is one mass
   of stripes, like a conference of referees on a football field. It may be hard for that
   predator—a lion, leopard, cheetah, or hyena—to focus on one individual.

   To continue, click here.

Stephen Binns

Zoo Animal Identification: How to Tell a Tiger

At the time of this writing, early 2018, the Smithsonian’s
National Zoo is home to two adult Sumatran tigers. Click.

Stephen Binns

Zachary Skalak 1920s and 1930s aritfacts

The purpose of this project is to make connections between our knowledge of these time periods with actual artifacts from the period. The idea is for us to explain how these items shape the eras in question, and therefore establish their place in the history of this country.

Zachary Skalak

Zach Reed, Sidne Shipman, Lexie Hellinger, Kevin Brown

Period 3

Cultural Revolution

Sidne Shipman

Yup'ik Parka: Object Analysis

This introductory student activity explores the Yup'ik gut parka, a type of garment created from the intestines of sea mammals to protect sea hunters from wind, rain, and stormy seas. The Yup'ik, native to Alaska and coastal Canada, used these not only for hunting but also spiritual occasions, such as religious ceremonies. Collection includes: two parkas, one for hunting and one for ceremonies; a map of the geographic boundaries of the Yup'ik before the arrival of Euro-American settlers; and a video of modern Yup'ik discussing the traditional process of creating these garments and the importance of conserving and continuing this tradition today.

Collection can be used as an introductory activity to an investigation of: Yup'ik culture, Yup'ik relationships to their environment, Arctic cultures, Native American innovations, or the importance of continuing traditions.

Keywords: eskimo, native american, american indian, sea mammals, gutskin, conservation, yupik

Tess Porter

Youth Aliyah

The Youth Aliyah program was founded by Recha Freier and provided an opportunity to save non-Aryan children from the Nazi regime and transport them to Palestine, Britain, and in some cases the United States. Although the program costed a pretty penny, the Youth Aliyah program helped families fill out all the paper work and secured all the travel papers, passports, and certificates. Youth Aliyah provided the ability for survivors to tell their stories and give insight to events during the time period of WWII to the international community today. The program still continues to save refugees today by providing passports and transporting people to safer places in the country.

Camryn Root

Your Own Collection

Contains all of the following items:
Dorothy's slippers
Something from 1st, 16th, and 35th presidents of US
Angela Rohlfs

You Might Remember This: Movie Quiz Question #37

These still pictures remind me of a motion picture. Which one? Click the question mark and take the quiz to see. Click each picture to enlarge.

Smithsonian Movie Quiz

You Might Remember This: Movie Quiz Question #36

These still pictures remind me of a motion picture. Which one? Click the question mark and take the quiz to see. Click each picture to enlarge.

Smithsonian Movie Quiz

You Might Remember This: A Smithsonian Movie Quiz

This Smithsonian quiz brings the actual world to bear on the worlds created by filmmakers in the last century or so. The rules are simple. The player looks at a set of museum objects from anywhere around the Smithsonian and tries to answer a question: These Smithsonian things remind me of a movie. Can you guess which one?

Each question is set up much like what is below. A multiple choice is in the box with the question mark. The answer is in the last box. The movie used for the example here is Casablanca. You know, the one about the fundamental things and their many applications. To take the quiz, click here.

Stephen Binns
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