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Found 119 Collections

 

The Tlingit People and Their Culture

By Rosita Worl (Tlingit), 2009

(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)

Sea, Land, Rivers

Lingít haa sateeyí, "we who are Tlingit," have owned and occupied southeast Alaska since time immemorial. When we say haa aaní, “our land,” we are speaking from the heart. Those words mean ownership, which we have had to defend through history. They mean identity, because this is our homeland. They mean the nourishment of body and spirit provided by bountiful rain forests, coasts and rivers. This land and its gifts have sustained us for hundreds of generations.

We believe that animals are our ancestors. Each matrilineal clan has its ancient progenitors. I am an Eagle from the Thunderbird clan, of the House Lowered from the Sun in Klukwan. I am proud to be a child of the Lukaax.ádi, or Sockeye, my father’s clan. The history of our lineages is portrayed by images of ancestral animals and by origin stories, ceremonial regalia, dances, songs and names. These things represent at.óow, or “crest” beings, to which each clan has exclusive rights. Mountains, glaciers and other places on the land are also at.óow, because they are linked to incidents in the birth of our people. For a Tlingit person at.óow embody history, ancestry, geography, social being and sacred connection. They symbolize who we are.

The Tlingit homeland extends from Icy Bay in the north to Prince of Wales Island in the south, some four hundred miles along Alaska’s panhandle. The population is about ten thousand, distributed among a dozen villages, cities and towns. The ocean spreads out before us, with a maze of wooded islands, fjords and channels that Tlingit seafarers historically traveled in cedar-trunk canoes. Behind us are high glaciated mountain ranges that extend inland from the coast.

Fish, especially salmon, is the most important and bountiful resource in the Tlingit region. Harvested in summer and fall and preserved by smoking and drying, it allowed the historical population to grow large, to live in permanent winter villages and to produce surpluses for trade. It is still the year-round staple of our diet. The winter is long, and we look forward to spring and to herring eggs. We pick spring greens as they come up. Through the summer people gather berries and put them away. Summer is the season for hunting seals, which are important both for meat and for their fat. Nutritionists note the exceptional quality of our traditional diet, which includes omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, cancer-preventing antioxidants in blueberries, and the rich vitamins and proteins of wild meats and fish. We’ve always enjoyed the health benefits and superb tastes of those foods.

Community and Family

Tlingit are divided into opposing and complementary halves, Eagle and Raven, which are called moieties. Each moiety is composed of large extended families that we identify as clans. The clans, in turn, are divided into tribal houses. In the present day, many Tlingit people introduce themselves to others first by personal name and moiety—Eagle or Raven—and then by clan name and house. We inherit clan membership from our mothers but call ourselves the “children” of our father’s clan. In the past, children lived in the house of their father. But when a boy reached the age of ten, he went to live with his mother’s brother, who assumed responsibility for the schooling of his young nephew. A girl remained in her father’s clan house until she married.

Although locally organized by village and clan, our region was never politically unified until coming into conflict with the West. When the Treaty of Cession was signed in 1867 our great-grandparents were astonished to learn that Russia had purported to sell Alaska, including our aboriginal lands, to the United States. Tribal leaders sent a lawyer to Washington to tell the government, “If you want to buy Alaska, then buy it from us, its rightful owners.” The struggle for our land continued for more than a century. The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes, established during World War II, litigated for thirty years to reach a financial settlement over tribal property taken by the U.S. federal government to create the Tongass National Forest. In 1968, the Tlingit and other groups unified under the Alaska Federation of Natives to pursue both state and federal claims.

The Tlingit people, like all Alaska Natives, endured a long, hard fight for their civil rights. We were denied U.S. citizenship until 1922 and experienced decades of overt discrimination and segregation. Alaska’s own “Jim Crow” laws excluded us from stores, jobs, schools and public buildings. In 1945, the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood, based in southeast Alaska, finally won the repeal of discriminatory laws by the state legislature. To earn his Certificate of Citizenship, my grandfather had to pass an English-language and civics test administered by white schoolteachers and then have his application approved by a judge. To practice his rights as a citizen, including the right to vote, he was forced to show that he had given up his Native language and culture to lead a “civilized” life.

When he was dying my grandfather called me to his bedside. I was fourteen years old. He said, “I want you to build a fire in the clan house.” What he was saying is that my generation had to rekindle the fire of our culture and language. That became our responsibility. We have worked hard to help restore cultural knowledge, practice, pride and fluency among our people. We have had substantial success, as witnessed by the huge public expression of our cultures that takes place every other year during the regional Celebration gathering. Progress has been made with the Tlingit language as well, although I don’t know that we’ll ever speak it the way our ancestors did. I will tell you, though, that the voices of our ancestors will always be heard in our land. And our core cultural values will be maintained.

Ceremony and Celebration

One of our strongest values is the maintenance of social and spiritual balance between Eagle and Raven clans to ensure the well-being of society. In addition, we have spiritual obligations to ancestors and future generations, a concept of cultural perpetuation called haa shagoon. These traditional beliefs form the basis of ceremonies called ku.éex’ or potlatch in English. The most significant ku.éex’ ceremonies are memorials to those who have passed away. When someone of an Eagle clan dies, members of Raven clans come to assist the grieving relatives. They bring food, contribute to the funeral expenses and sit with the body through the night.

A year after the death the Eagle clan hosts a ku.éex’ for the Ravens, who come as guests. The hosts display their clan treasures, or at.óow. In this context, the word at.óow refers to works of traditional art that bear the images of crest beings. They include Chilkat blankets woven from dyed mountain sheep wool, button blankets, headdresses, carved and painted boxes, masks and drums. Clan ownership of these crest objects is revalidated by their presentation in the memorial ceremony, accompanied by a recounting of their histories and the origin stories of the crests themselves. Balance is maintained through the response of the Raven clans by presenting their own at.óow. The Eagle clan repays the Ravens, who came to the Eagles’ assistance, by distributing gifts and acknowledging them in oratory and song.

At a memorial ku.éex’ we name and honor the deceased person, our ancestors and others in the clan who have recently died. We feed these ancestors and departed relatives with their favorite foods, perhaps smoked cockles, gumboots (chitons) or deer meat. We transfer the food to the spirit world by fire or by giving it to the opposite side to eat.

If the person who died was a clan leader, his successor is named and assumes office at the time of the memorial ceremony. Therefore, a ku.éex’ has multiple functions: repaying the opposite moiety and reuniting with them, fulfilling spiritual obligations, and conducting legal and political affairs. This institution, which remains so vital and important in our contemporary lives, is far more complex than a stereotypical understanding of the word potlatch might imply.

Tags: Tlingit, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska


Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

100 Years Ago: The World in 1919

What was the world like 100 years ago?

How have things changed or stayed the same, and how does this deepen our understanding about history and of ourselves and our society? This Learning Lab explores this centuries-old question by asking you to analyze objects from the NMAAHC and other Smithsonian collections that were created in (or are likely dated to) the year 1919, particularly from the African American perspective.

This Learning Lab emphasizes the historical thinking skills of comparison and change over time. Historical comparison asks you to analyze the differences and similarities between two historical individuals, groups, events, objects, or ideas, or between someone or something historical with someone or something in the present. Change over time asks you to analyze how a historical artifact, individual, group, event or idea has changed over time, what factors contributed to the change, and what can this tell us about the past and inform us about the modern day.

The analysis questions are taken from the National Archives and Record Administration's Document Analysis Worksheets.

Keywords: NMAAHC, African American, 1919, world, century, comparison, change, time, World War I, segregation, Jim Crow, nineteenth, #NMAAHCteach

National Museum of African American History and Culture
19
 

History, Media, and Culture: African American Soldiers in the Civil War

Representation in media is important.

In this Learning Lab, we will explore how the African American soldiers fighting in the Civil War are portrayed in two films: Glory (1989) and Lincoln (2012).

History X Media X Culture (HMC) is a series designed by the National Museum of African American History and Culture to teach students historical thinking skills of analysis and interpretation, and also media literacy by exploring historic and modern films about or created by African Americans.

What can we learn, and what do we learn about history from popular media? How does popular media influence our understanding of history? How does the history portrayed in popular media change from the historical account based on primary sources?

Furthermore, how are historical individuals and groups represented in popular media? How do these representations affect how we understand these historical persons and their modern-day descendants? How people are depicted on the screen influences our modern world. We must question and analyze what is said and shown in the media, and why it shown to us.

Your objectives are as follows:

1. Explore how the soldiers are represented in each film, and then compare the film’s portrayals.

2. Compare these representations to historical accounts and primary evidence.

3. Question why the changes were made in the film, and how do these changes affect our understanding of history and ourselves?

The movies contain images of the violence of war, carnage, and brief offensive languages.

The analysis questions are taken from the National Archives and Records Administration Document Analysis Worksheets, unless stated otherwise.

National Museum of African American History and Culture
34
 

The Tsimshian People and Their Culture

The Tsimshian People and Their Culture

By David Boxley (Tsimshian), 2009

(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)

Land, Sea, Rivers

Most Tsimshian live along the coast of northern British Columbia between the Nass River and Queen Charlotte Sound. The shores and islands are covered by northern rain forests of hemlock, spruce, fir, red cedar and yellow cedar, woods that were the basic raw materials of our culture. Tsimshian territory extends into the mountainous interior as well, following the valley of the Skeena River.

At one time at least eight thousand Tsimshian lived there, located in twenty winter villages and many seasonal camps. Today about thirty-five hundred live in seven Canadian towns. In 1862, a Tsimshian group led by an Anglican missionary, William Duncan, broke away from Fort Simpson to found a religious colony at Old Metlakatla. Twenty-five years later they moved again, building New Metlakatla on Annette Island, in southeast Alaska. Generations have lived there since, and that is the community in which I was born and grew up. I was very fortunate to be raised by my grandfather and grandmother, Albert and Dora Bolton, who gave me a strong foundation in our culture. When I was young they took me with them to their fish camps and on trips all over our island for subsistence activities.

Most people still rely a great deal on fish, seals, berries and other traditional foods, supplemented by commercial fishing and other sources of cash income. In historical times, the year’s food gathering began in spring when the ice broke up on the Nass River and the eulachon began running there. People traveled from their winter villages to harvest the fish in nets, drying some and fermenting and boiling the rest to extract the oil. Trade in eulachon grease, which no other people could produce in such quantity, was one of the sources of Tsimshian wealth and prosperity. In spring they also gathered seaweed and herring eggs, fished for halibut, and collected bird eggs and abalone. During summer and fall they relocated to fishing sites on the rivers to catch salmon with weirs and traps, drying and smoking them for winter. At the winter villages they gathered clams, cockles and mussels, and if you visit those old settlements today you can still see the mounds of discarded shells. At different times of the year they hunted seals, sea lions, deer, elk, mountain goats and mountain sheep.

Archaeological sites in Prince Rupert Harbour demonstrate that this way of life goes back at least five thousand years. Crest objects such as chiefs’ headdresses and masks are connected to origin stories and to the succession of clan leaders who have owned and passed them down to their descendants, along with name titles and titles to land. This is important in British Columbia where the Tsimshian Nation is attempting to reclaim territories that were taken by the Canadian government in the 1870s. Crest objects and the histories attached to them validate those aboriginal claims and link the people to specific places on the land where they lived and harvested food in the old days.

Family and Community

My people are divided into four equal groups. Each is a pteex (clan) with its own principal crest: Eagle (Laxsgiik), Raven (Ganhada), Wolf (Laxgibuu), and Killer Whale (Gisbutwada). Crests are symbols of matrilineal connection, so whatever pteex your mother comes from, you will be the same. Because clans marry out, your father will be from a different one of the four. Within each pteex are multiple lineages, like branches on a family tree. Eagle, Raven, Wolf, and Killer Whale each have as many as twenty-five subcrests, a few available that are to everyone in the clan and the rest limited to certain branches. As a Laxsgiik, I may use the Eagle, Beaver, and Halibut crests; I inherited other, more restricted crests from my close maternal ancestors.

Crests represent social identity and its corresponding rights and privileges. Crest images appear on robes, button blankets, headdresses and other regalia that people wear at potlatches to show their ancestry. They are shown on ceremonial drums, staffs and rattles; on dishes and ladles used for serving food at potlatch feasts; and on the totem poles, house fronts, posts and screens of traditional lineage houses.

If you could go back in time to visit a coastal Tsimshian village of two centuries ago, you would see our social system at work. The community is built along the shore, with palisades around back to guard against possible attack from land. You arrive by canoe and announce your person and business while still afloat, waiting for permission to land. Jumping ashore without proper protocol would have been life threatening in those days. Coming up from the beach in the company of your hosts, you see the big red-cedar longhouses, lined up in a row with their doorways facing the water. Each is home to thirty or forty people, most of them matrilineal relatives but including wives and children of other clans.

The village chief’s house is the largest and is located in a central position. Its painted front panels show his crests. The other dwellings are positioned in relation to the chief’s house according to the social ranking of their household heads. In front of prestigious homes are totem poles, carved with crest emblems and figures. Poles are sculptural narratives, telling who lives in a house, the ancient origin and recent history of their lineage, and the achievements of their deceased chiefs and nobles.

Entering one of the longhouses requires that you stoop down to pass through a low door, a vulnerable position for any would-be attacker. Depending on the status of the house, the interior is lined with one or more levels of wood-planked sleeping platforms, like wide bleachers that step down to the central fire pit. The platforms are divided into family living areas, cordoned off with mats or boards. The house chief and his family have a private apartment at the far end of the house, behind a carved and painted wooden screen. Inside the house you see lots of preserved food—dried salmon and halibut, bentwood boxes filled with fish oil, seal grease, and berries; containers of dried meat. All of this came from hunting and fishing territories owned by the house members.

The original Tsimshian way of life began to change when British, Spanish and American fur traders arrived in the late 1700s. The Hudson’s Bay Company built Fort Simpson at the mouth of the Nass River in 1831, and missionaries of several Christian denominations came to work among the Tsimshian, Haida and Tlingit people who had gathered near the fort for trade. The missionaries were successful at converting a large part of the population, which was in rapid decline as a result of smallpox and other new diseases. The people gave up their traditional beliefs, ended their ceremonies and even cut down many of the totem poles.

The converts who followed William Duncan from Fort Simpson to Old Metlakatla and then to Alaska were making a new start, trying to survive in a world that was rapidly changing. Now, more than one hundred years later, Metlakatla is a pretty distinctive place. Little about its everyday appearance would remind a visitor of the lifeways of the past, but we are still proudly Tsimshian, with a strong sense of our unique identity. Our language, Sm’Algyax, has changed from the way it is spoken in Canada, and unfortunately Metlakatla has only a few fluent speakers left, all elders. That frightens me, and I’ve been trying very hard to hold on to what I know and to learn more. We are who we are, but we are what our language makes us, too.

Ceremony and Celebration

Halaayt is spirit power, which comes from above. It gave chiefs and high-ranking people the knowledge and strength they needed to be leaders and to make good decisions. Halaayt enabled them to be the link between their people and the next world, where our ancestors dwell, and to communicate with the spirits of animals. The frontlet of a chief’s ceremonial headdress was a symbol of his halaayt. The face in the center was a crest, surrounded by abalone, sea lion whiskers, feathers and ermine fur. The chief’s headdress, woven robe and Raven rattle all represented his leadership and spiritual power.

Historically, potlatch feasts celebrated events and transitions in the community – death, marriage, the completion of a new house, the raising of a totem pole, or the settlement of a dispute between clans. The largest and most important of these feasts were memorial potlatches, when new chiefs were installed and took the names of their predecessors. Potlatches have always been based on a whole system of reciprocity. During the feast, hosts of one clan recognize and repay debts that they have incurred through services given to them by people of other clans, who come as guests.

Three things are essential to a potlatch. First, it has to be done publicly. The guests are there to serve as witnesses to what is taking place, and that is what makes it legal. Second, the hosts have to gift every guest in payment for his or her witness. Finally, everyone must be fed and fed very well. More than they need. The food they take home with them is another gift.

In 1982, I set out to organize Metlakatla’s first potlatch. For our community it would be the revival of a tradition that we had left behind over a century before in the historical move to Alaska. Many potlatches have been held in Metlakatla since then, and one of the largest was in 1994. It was originally planned as a celebration of my grandfather’s hundredth birthday, but it became his memorial after he passed away at age ninety-eight. I realized that in order for the potlatch to happen on the scale that I had hoped, it would have to include all four clans. Their involvement not only ensured the amazing success of the event but also paved the way for the future, because so many participated and learned so much. We fed a thousand people every evening, three totem poles were raised, and over fifty-five button robes were dedicated on the first night alone. I feel lucky to have come along when I did, at a time when it was right for these changes to take place. The way I grew up, and the gifts of language and culture that my grandparents gave me, prepared me for the journey.

 

Tags: Tsimshian Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

The St. Lawrence Island Yupik People and Their Culture

By Paapi Merlin Koonooka (St. Lawrence Island Yupik ), 2009

(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)


Sea, Land, Rivers

Sivuqaq, the Yupik name for St. Lawrence Island, rises out of the Bering Sea in the heart of a vast and bountiful marine ecosystem. All around us, depending on the time of year, we have walrus, whales and seals. Standing on the point at Gambell, you can watch ducks and seabirds flying by in endless motion over the sea. Our island lies just below the Arctic Circle, so the winters are long and often extreme. The wind gusts at fifty miles per hour, and the wind chill can get to minus fifty degrees Fahrenheit or lower. When spring and summer bring longer daylight and new life, people travel out from the villages of Gambell and Savoonga to their hunting and fishing camps around the island. Many of those places are ancient settlements where our ancestors lived up to two thousand years ago.

I was born and raised in Gambell and have been a subsistence hunter there for my entire life, going back to when we traveled with dog teams instead of on snow machines and all-terrain vehicles. Marine mammals, fish, birds, eggs, reindeer and wild plants are important in the island diet throughout the year, far more so than store-bought foods. On the tundra and mountainsides people gather ququngaq (willow leaf), nunivak (roseroot), angukaq (dwarf fireweed) and various edible roots. In late summer the aqavzik (cloudberry) and pagunghaq (crowberry) ripen.

Walrus have always been essential to our way of life. We hunt them in open water and later on the frozen ocean, making use of nearly everything as either food or material. The meat and fat are bundled into large tuugtuq (meatballs) to store in underground food cellars, and in the past that meat sustained our dog teams as well. Good-quality hides of female walrus are stretched, split, cured and stitched to cover the angyapik (hunting boat). Walrus stomachs become heads for drums, and their intestines, ivory and whiskers are transformed into adornment and art. Our predecessors used the skins to make tough rope and covers for the nenglu (traditional house) and interior aargha (sleeping room). They spun walrus sinew into thread and carved the tusks into tools and sled runners.

I am a whaling captain like my grandfather, granduncles and father before me, and I serve on the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. Traditionally, the captain prepared for whaling in a religious way, using charms, special songs and rituals that showed the great respect we feel for this animal. While these rituals are no longer practiced, strict hunting protocols and the responsibility of the captain remain unchanged. A bowhead whale is so immense and powerful that hunters, even though armed with modern weapons, are really at its mercy. We use skin-covered boats and sails rather than motors during the approach, keeping absolute silence, because whales have a very sharp sense of hearing. But they know we are there even if there is no sound. That is why we say that a whale decides to let itself be taken, not the other way around. One whale provides an abundance of food that is shared with families on the island and across Alaska.

Our hunting lifestyle has never been harmful to the animal species. Nature has her own way of opening up the ice and sea for us or withholding access. During storms we have to stay at home and wait for a change. When the weather is nice, the conditions may still not be right for going out, even if walrus are floating by on top of the ice floes. Sometimes we will be punished this way if we’ve failed in our respect. But as long as the creatures make themselves available to us, we will gather them for food and traditional needs.


Community and Family

The people of the island have close ties to the Yupik communities of Ungaziq and Sireniki on the Siberian coast, and we speak dialects of the same language. Before the cold war began in the late 1940s, our families traveled back and forth to visit, trade and seek marriage partners. The forty-mile trip took a full day in a skin boat using sail and paddles. Visits resumed in the 1980s after glasnost took hold in Russia, and now with a fast powerboat and calm seas, the crossing takes only two or three hours.

Some of my best memories from childhood are of traveling with my dad. He had a wonderful dog team, and in the wintertime we would go on the sled to trap white fox. Even in the summer we’d take it across the gravel and tundra. When I started raising a family I did the same thing. We would hitch up a team of twelve dogs to pull our heavy sled, which was nine feet long with steel runners. As a child you really look forward to going out with your parents and elders for food gathering and hunting, because you want to learn.

I sometimes think of early days when everyone was living in nenglut (traditional houses). They would go seal hunting on the ice, pulling whale baleen toboggans behind them to bring back the meat. You had a backpack and a rifle slung over your shoulders and an ice tester to see where it was safe to walk. You had to observe the ice and the direction it was moving, making sure not to get caught on an outgoing current. Boys were doing all that by the age of ten or twelve, and by fifteen you had to know everything. Your parents and elders made sure you were ready, or you weren’t allowed to go alone.

Our culture is changing rapidly in some ways, more slowly in others. Fluency in the Yupik language is declining in the younger generations, although among the older people our daily conversation continues to be in Yupik. There is less respect among some young people now for their parents and elders, too much television and video gaming, problems with drugs and alcohol. We need to find a balance between traditional and modern ways, and I believe the best way to do that is through education. If you can be successful in your formal education, you will be in a strong position to help preserve your Yupik heritage. I’m glad to see so many young people still going out with their families to the places where we have always hunted and fished, even if now they travel on machines instead of on foot or by dog sled. They are still eating the same foods that we have always gathered and staying connected to our land and way of life.

 

Ceremony and Celebration

The remoteness of the island has helped to sustain some of the ways of our forebears. The practices of atuq and aghula (Yupik drumming, singing and dancing) were never interrupted, despite the introduction of Christianity, and people continue to compose new songs and motions. Both communities on the island hold dance celebrations where we welcome visitors and performers from mainland Alaska, Russia and beyond. Other ceremonies are more family-oriented, marking life events such as marriage and the birth and naming of a child. When a young person catches his first seal, a special small celebration is held to share the catch with relatives, making sure that everyone gets a taste. The same thing happens with your first bird.

Many of the former ceremonial practices pertained to hunting, especially whaling. To prepare for the season, a captain would use certain songs that were specific to each clan. The purpose was to please the whale spirits. When the hunters captured a whale, the boats would come back in a line with the successful captain and crew in front. Everyone was deeply thankful, and they celebrated by feasting, singing and dancing. That feeling of appreciation and gratitude for the food that has been provided is just as strong today, even though our beliefs and customs have been modified.

The Yupik culture has a very long, rich history, and at the Smithsonian you will see artifacts that our ancestors created hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Today many of the island’s residents are world-renowned Native artists whose work is shown in national and international museums and art galleries. Some of the ivory they use comes from archaeological sites, and this material, crucial to sustaining life generations ago, is equally important today because of the income generated by art sales. But much more than that, their work is a celebration of our culture, heritage and continuing way of life.

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

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

African Americans and the Fourth of July

In celebration of the Fourth of July, this Learning Lab considers the day’s meaning in the history of the African American community and their nation. 

Take some time to explore the objects, images, documents and media that explore the Fourth of July in relation to the African Americans from the Revolutionary War to the modern day. Questions to deepen exploration are embedded into each of the squares. 

Keywords: nmaahc, African, American, Fourth, July, 4th, slavery, enslavement, freedom, Revolutionary, War, British, Independence, celebration, Douglass, Washington, Founding, Fathers, declaration


National Museum of African American History and Culture
19
 

Voting Rights in American History

This collection includes objects and resources related to founding of the American system of democracy and those who have and have not been eligible to  vote. When it was established, the United States of America boasted more eligible voters than ever before. But it was still just a fraction of the new country’s population. The nation’s founders never envisioned the numbers, classes, sexes, and races of Americans that cast ballots each Election Day. Throughout American history, voting rights have expanded, contracted, and expanded again as Americans dealt with shifting issues of politics, race, class, and wealth. 

Additional resources on this topic can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu.

NMAH Education
61
 

American Abolitionists

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.

Justine Thain
58
 

Conflict and Compromise: Japanese Incarceration during World War II (NHD @ the National Museum of American History)

This collection includes objects and resources related to Japanese Internment during World War II. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 through which tens of thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry were moved into relocation centers. Additional resources can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

Each National History Day collection from the National Museum of American History includes selected resources to support NHD projects under the 2018 theme - Conflict and Compromise. #NHD2018. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but should be used as a place of inspiration for new projects or source of additional information for ones already in the works.

#APA2018 #NHD

National Museum of American History
36
 

Conflict and Compromise: Religion in America (NHD @ the National Museum of American History)

This collection includes objects and resources related to Religionin Early America. The many peoples who called early America home represented a great variety of spiritual traditions. Additional resources can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.eduand History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

Each National History Day collection from the National Museum of American History includes selected resources to support NHD projects under the 2018 theme - Conflict and Compromise. #NHD2018. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but should be used as a place of inspiration for new projects or source of additional information for ones already in the works. 

#NHD

National Museum of American History
32
 

Triumph and Tragedy: Westward Expansion (NHD @ the National Museum of American History)

This collection includes objects and resources related to Westward Expansion in the 19th century. During this time the nation expanded its borders into territory held by American Indians, France, and Mexico, claiming millions of acres and thousands of people as part of the United States. Additional resources on this topic can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

Each National History Day collection from the National Museum of American History includes selected resources to support NHD projects under the 2019 theme - Triumph and Tragedy. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but should be used as a place of inspiration for new projects or source of additional information for ones already in the works.

#NHD2019 #NHD

National Museum of American History
50
 

Triumph and Tragedy: Voting Rights (NHD @ the National Museum of American History)

This collection includes objects and resources related to founding of the American system of democracy and those who have and have not been eligible to  vote. When it was established, the United States of America boasted more eligible voters than ever before. But it was still just a fraction of the new country’s population. The nation’s founders never envisioned the numbers, classes, sexes, and races of Americans that cast ballots each Election Day. Throughout American history, voting rights have expanded, contracted, and expanded again as Americans dealt with shifting issues of politics, race, class, and wealth. 

Additional resources on this topic can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

Each National History Day collection from the National Museum of American History includes selected resources to support NHD projects under the 2019 theme - Triumph and Tragedy. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but should be used as a place of inspiration for new projects or source of additional information for ones already in the works.

#NHD2019 #NHD

National Museum of American History
61
 

Breaking Barriers: A Microscopic World

This collection includes objects and resources related to medicine in the 19th century. During this time, an incredibly huge scientific barrier was broken when scientists discovered bacteria and viruses, which could not be seen with the naked eye, could cause disease. This board will examine the scientific barrier that was broken into the microscopic world and how medicine and modern science changed due to such discoveries.  Additional resources on this topic can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

Each National History Day collection from the National Museum of American History includes selected resources to support NHD projects under the 2020 theme - Breaking Barriers. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but should be used as a place of inspiration for new projects or source of additional information for ones already in the works. For grades 6-8.

#NHD2020 #NHD


National Museum of American History
18
 

Breaking Barriers: Navajo Code Talkers (NHD @ National Museum of American History)

This collection includes objects and resources related to the Navajo Code Talkers who served in World War Two. Navajo Code Talkers challenged racist stereotypes and used their unique cultural heritage to fortify the American war effort. Additional resources can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

Each National History Day collection from the National Museum of American History includes selected resources to support NHD projects under the 2020 theme - Breaking Barriers. #NHD2020. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but should be used as a place of inspiration for new projects or source of additional information for ones already in the works. 

#NHD2020

National Museum of American History
18
 

Breaking Barriers: The Locomotive

This collection includes objects and resources related to transportation in the 19th century. The locomotive train broke barriers on transportation in the early 1800s. Travel was suddenly much faster than it used to be - the trip from New York to Boston, which by carriage would have been a day and a half, with the train was now less than a day. This allowed for easier travel not only of people, but of supplies such as food and raw goods, which helped in turn spur industry in the 19th century. Additional resources on this topic can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

Each National History Day collection from the National Museum of American History includes selected resources to support NHD projects under the 2020 theme - Breaking Barriers. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but should be used as a place of inspiration for new projects or source of additional information for ones already in the works. For grades 9-12.

#NHD2020 #NHD


National Museum of American History
26
 

NHD at NMAAHC Collection: Breaking Barriers in History

Welcome to the National Museum of African American History and Culture's Collection Connection Grid for National History Day 2020! Below is an assortment of selected documents, images, objects and videos that highlight the African American experience in relation to the 2020 NHD theme: Breaking Barriers in History. Use these items as inspiration for a project topic, or use the items to help expand your research on a topic you have already selected.  This collection is designed to be self-guided by students and educators participating in National History Day.

 #NHD2020

Keywords: African American, NMAAHC, National History Day, NHD, Collection, Connection, Grid, breaking, barriers, history, project, topic, ideas, 2020

National Museum of African American History and Culture
66
 

NHD at NMAAHC Collection Connection Grid 2019: Triumph and Tragedy in History

Welcome to the National Museum of African American History and Culture's Collection Connection Grid for National History Day 2019!

Below is an assortment of selected documents, images, objects and videos that highlight the African American experience in relation to the 2019 NHD theme: Triumph and Tragedy in History. Use these items as inspiration for a project topic, or use the items to help expand your research on a topic you have already selected.  This collection is designed to be self-guided by students and educators participating in National History Day.

 #NHD2019

Keywords: African American, NMAAHC, National History Day, NHD, Collection, Connection, Grid, triumph, tragedy, history, project, topic, ideas, 2019

National Museum of African American History and Culture
96
 

Breaking Barriers: Race, Gender, and the U.S. Military

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2020, "Breaking Barriers in History."

These resources—including photographs, objects, portraits, lesson plans, and articles—explore how individuals overcame barriers during and following their service in the U.S. military. Resources address how issues of race and gender operated as barriers to equal treatment for all those who serve in the U.S. military, as well as circumstances endured by veterans following the end of major wars. The experiences of members of the armed forces during the American Revolution, U.S. Civil War, WWI, and WWII are highlighted; however, other wars and perspectives should be considered when exploring these resources. The second resource of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of a chosen topic alongside photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection was created in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: @EDSITEment and @SmithsonianLab, #NHD2020. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2020 in the description!

Tags: military, soldiers, women, African American, Tuskegee, Airmen, Airwomen, war, World War One, World War I, World War Two, World War II, Red Jacket, Tayadaneega, Joseph Brant, Native Americans, American Indians, Horace Pippin, Theodore Milton Sullivan, J.W. Lucus, Buffalo Soldier, Charles Young, Carter Woodson, Willa Beatrice Brown, Bessie Coleman, Airforce, pilots, Jacqueline Cochran, Janet Harmon Bragg, Cornelia Fort, Nancy Love, WASPs, twentieth century, 20th #NHD

Cristi Marchetti
94
 

People, Place, and Time: How Art Reflects Culture - Collection 1 - Night of the Dead by Alan Crane

In this collection, designed for a Spanish-speaking classroom, students will explore how art reflects culture when analyzing “Night of the Dead,” a lithograph by Alan Crane in the National Museum of American History. The collection includes a teacher's guide in English and suggested authentic resources both in Spanish and English to be adapted by teachers of multiple disciplines. 

Students will investigate how the Day of the Dead is celebrated by Latin Americans and compare it to their own celebrations. Next, students  will create an interactive presentation using Flipgrid and write a monologue to reflect their learning from the point of view of one of the persons in the artwork. 

This collection is one of three that explore “People, Place, and Time: How Art Reflects Culture.” Products, practices and perspectives displayed in Latinx art, show how our place and history (past) influence who we are (present) and who we want to be (future) in geographical, social, economic, and/or historical contexts. In the three collections, Latin American works of art illustrate how culture shapes the way we see the world, others, and ourselves, and they also raise awareness about Latinx diversity.

The three collections were created by Marcela Velikovsky (Bullis School) and Vicky Masson (Christ Episcopal School) as part of the  2018 Smithsonian Virtual Teacher Curricula Creation Opportunity with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA), and thanks to the Smithsonian Latino Center's Latino Initiative Pool funds. The three collections highlight Latino history, art, and culture, and use Harvard Project Zero Thinking Routines and Global Thinking Routines strategies.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab collections provide an opportunity to invigorate the World Language (Foreign Language) curriculum as it allows to effectively integrate online museum resources (authentic resources) towards a 21st century curriculum. They facilitate student-centered activities within a variety of themes such as, family and communities, personal and public identities, social values and customs, holidays and celebrations, immigration, ethnic groups, Hispanic Heritage,  image and stereotypes, inequality and discrimination, global issues, religious practices, etc. They also provide the opportunity to analyze art, read portraiture, and investigate art media.

These collections also consider ACTFL standards (Communication, Connections, Comparisons, Communities and Culture), Asia Society Global Competence skills, the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals), Teaching Tolerance Social Justice standards, the Framework for Developing Global and Cultural Competencies to Advance Equity, Excellence and Economic competitiveness, and Participate Global Competencies.

#National Portrait Gallery #Spanish #Global awareness #Empathy #Global connections #Global-mindedness #Curiosity #Cross-cultural skills #Day of the Dead #Worldview #LatinoHAC


Marcela Velikovsky
48
 

National History Day: Abolitionists (created by Tess Porter)

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day.  While originally created for the 2017 theme, "Taking a Stand in History," resources found in this collection are useful for researching other National History Day themes.

These 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. When navigating this collection, please see the standalone text tiles for summaries of section resources.

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection was created in collaboration with EDSITEment, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tags: civil war; slavery; underground railroad; african-american; national endowment for the humanities; #nhd; #NHD2017

Sher Anderson Petty
74
 

Photography and News

Guiding Questions:

  • How much of a story can a photo tell? What are the limits?
  • Why do journalists take photos?
  • How is news photography different than other types of photography? What is photojournalism?

Time- 1-2 class periods with optional extension activities

This collection provides an opportunity for students to consider a first impression of news photos through careful image analysis. The initial viewing of the image is followed by reading historical newspaper articles or other primary sources about the event in question to compare their thinking with some context to their initial impressions. Images can be powerful and can greatly influence our impression of events, but without context, we can form inaccurate impressions based on our own biases. Students need to be careful and critical viewers of media as well as media creators. Images include events covered in history/social studies courses such as the Civil Rights Movement, Little Rock Nine, World War II, Japanese internment,  9/11, the Detroit Riots, the Scopes trial, women’s suffrage, Dolores Huerta and United Farm Workers, and the Vietnam War.

Day 1:

Warm Up/ Engagement:

Have students journal or a mind-map about the following questions:

  • How much of a story can a photo tell? What are the limits?
  • Why do journalists take photos?
  • What is photojournalism?
  • How is news photography different than other types of photography?

Have them do a Think-Pair-Share

Debrief as a whole group

As a whole group, discuss the photo of the female students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock. Do not show the caption to students. The global competency thinking routine, “Unveiling Stories,” is good to use for news or other current event photos because it allows students the opportunity to explore multiple layers of meaning.

Once students have discussed the image, show them the caption. Then give additional background on the Little Rock Nine. To review/background on the Little Rock Nine, consider exploring resources from Facing History and Ourselves. There is a New York Times article listed below as well.

Next, go back and look at photo with the caption and see how the initial understanding has shifted with the Connect-Extend-Challenge routine. This is a thinking routine that is great for connecting new ideas to prior knowledge.

Day 2

Have students read the article from the Click! Exhibit, “Photography Changes How We Read the World.”

After reading, lead students through the What Makes You Say That? Routine which encourages interpretation with justification and evidence.

Small Group Jigsaw activity

In pairs or small groups, assign one image in the collection to each group. Make sure they know they will present their findings to the whole class. Have them go through the “Unveiling Stories” routine with their new image. Give students 10 mins to record their thoughts and ideas on chart paper or sticky notes. Next, give each group the related primary source news article (listed below through ProQuest) or your choice of a primary source. Have students read the article together. Then, have them go back to the image and do the Connect-Extend-Challenge routine while visualizing their thinking on the same chart paper or with additional sticky notes.

Have each group share out and summarize their findings from their initial reaction to how their thinking changed after reading an additional primary source.

As a final debrief, make sure that students reflect on their learning from their image analysis.

A great reflection routine is “I used to think… Now I think…”. Have students complete this routine with the topic of photojournalism/news photography.

Extensions

Readings:

Audio:

Exhibit:

Project:

  • Report on an event with images and in writing  

Companion Article Sources on ProQuest Historical Newspapers:

For 9/11 Photos-

A CREEPING HORROR

KLEINFIELD N R

New York Times (1923-Current file); Sep 12, 2001;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. A1

For D-Day Photo:

Allies Seize Beachheads on French Coast, Invasion Forces Drive Toward Interior

By the War Editor of The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file); Jun 6, 1944; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Christian Science Monitor (1908 - 2001) pg. 1

For Detroit Riot Photo:

Detroit Is Swept by Rioting and Fires; Romney Calls In Guard; 700 Arrested

New York Times (1923-Current file); Jul 24, 1967;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. 1

For Vietnam Withdrawal Photo:

A Farewell to Vietnam: 2 Flown Out Tell Story

New York Times (1923-Current file); Apr 28, 1975;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. 1

For Dolores Huerta Photo:

Farm Labor Law Chances Improve

By Susan Jacoby Washington Post Staff Writer

The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973); May 2, 1969; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1998) pg. A24

For Little Rock Photo:

STUDENTS ACCEPT NEGROES CALMLY

By BENJAMIN FINE Special to The New York Times.

New York Times (1923-Current file); Sep 26, 1957;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011)

For WWII/D-Day Photos:

PARADE OF PLANES CARRIES INVADERS

New York Times (1923-Current file); Jun 6, 1944;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. 1

For Scopes Trial Photo:

DEFENSE CASE IS OUTLINED

Special to The New York Times.

New York Times (1923-Current file); Jul 16, 1925;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. 1

For Women’s Suffrage March Photo: WOMEN PARADE FOR SUFFRAGE AT CAPITAL

The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file); Mar 3, 1913; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Christian Science Monitor (1908 - 2001) pg. 1

#visiblethinking


Allie Wilding
20
 

Influential Americans

This collection is designed to support teachers and students exploring the 2020 National History Day theme: Breaking Barriers in History. Included in this collection is an overview of influential Americans aligned with the NHD theme.

These resources - including  photographs, primary source documents, portraits, and articles - explore the efforts of people from Pocahontas to Walt Disney in breaking social, artistic, gender, and economic barriers throughout American history. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; rather, it is intended to act as a starting point and provide inspiration for further research. 

#NHD2020

Abigail Burnett
98
 

Transcribe: Chinese Banknotes from the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection

In this collection, the Smithsonian Transcription Center and the National Museum of American History's National Numismatic Collection invite you to help transcribe the languages recorded on historic Chinese Banknotes. This work will help ensure that researchers around the world can more easily find and use these collections. 

Collection includes: instructions on required and optional steps for transcription, translation, and transliteration; links to the Chinese Banknote transcription projects on the Smithsonian Transcription Center website; and more.

Keywords: currency, money, Chinese language, NNC, NMAH, American history, East Asian history, foreign language

Background

The Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection (NNC) is America's collection of monetary and transactional objects. This diverse and expansive global collection contains objects that represent every inhabited continent and span more than three thousand years of human history.

Established in the mid-19th century, several of the earliest additions to the NNC were artifacts from Japan, Korea, and China, including coins and medals gifted to President Ulysses S. Grant from Japanese Emperor Meiji (received in 1881) and the 2,025 East Asian coins, amulets, and notes from George Bunker Glover’s private collection (received in 1897). These donations were the foundation of the NNC’s East Asian holdings, which continues to grow with new acquisitions, such as the Howard F. Bowker collection in 2017.

During 2017-2018, the NNC digitized more than 8,000 of its East Asian Coins, making them publicly accessible and available for research worldwide. The NNC is now working to digitize 6,000 Chinese notes and paper transactional objects that range from the Ming Dynasty to the present day.

One of the main challenges to the digitization process is the transcription of several Asian alphabets, which would increase accessibility and searchability for the many items in this collection. Sometimes this can be done quickly, but often the process is too lengthy for NNC team members to complete while moving the project forward efficiently. In order to continue to share these objects rapidly, we need your help! 

The digitization of the East Asian coins and Chinese banknotes would not have been possible without the generous support of the the Howard F. Bowker family and Michael Chou. 

For full instructions, please see this page on the Smithsonian Transcription Center website.

Smithsonian Transcription Center
12
 

People, Place, and Time: How Art Reflects Culture - Night of the Dead by Alan Crane

In this collection, designed for a Spanish-speaking classroom, students will explore how art reflects culture when analyzing “Night of the Dead” by Alan Crane. The collection includes a teacher's guide in English and suggested authentic resources both in Spanish and English to be adapted by teachers of multiple disciplines. 

Students will investigate how the Day of the Dead is celebrated by Latin Americans and compare it to their own celebrations. Next, students  will create an interactive presentation using Flipgrid and write a monologue to reflect their learning from the point of view of one of the persons in the artwork. 

This collection is one of three that explore “People, Place, and Time: How Art Reflects Culture.” Products, practices and perspectives displayed in Latinx art, show how our place and history (past) influence who we are (present) and who we want to be (future) in geographical, social, economic, and/or historical contexts. In the three collections, Latin American works of art illustrate how culture shapes the way we see the world, others, and ourselves, and they also raise awareness about Latinx diversity.

The three collections were created by Marcela Velikovsky (Bullis School) and Vicky Masson (Christ Episcopal School) as part of the  2018 Smithsonian Virtual Teacher Curricula Creation Opportunity with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA), and thanks to the Smithsonian Latino Center's Latino Initiative Pool funds. The three collections highlight Latino history, art, and culture, and use Harvard Project Zero Thinking Routines and Global Thinking Routines strategies.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab collections provide an opportunity to invigorate the World Language (Foreign Language) curriculum as it allows to effectively integrate online museum resources (authentic resources) towards a 21st century curriculum. They facilitate student-centered activities within a variety of themes such as, family and communities, personal and public identities, social values and customs, holidays and celebrations, immigration, ethnic groups, Hispanic Heritage,  image and stereotypes, inequality and discrimination, global issues, religious practices, etc. They also provide the opportunity to analyze art, read portraiture, and investigate art media.

These collections also consider ACTFL standards (Communication, Connections, Comparisons, Communities and Culture), Asia Society Global Competence skills, the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals), Teaching Tolerance Social Justice standards, the Framework for Developing Global and Cultural Competencies to Advance Equity, Excellence and Economic competitiveness, and Participate Global Competencies.

#National Portrait Gallery #Spanish #Global awareness #Empathy #Global connections #Global-mindedness #Curiosity #Cross-cultural skills #Day of the Dead #Worldview #LatinoHAC


Vicky Masson
47
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