Only a few days after the passing of James Cotton, one of the country's greatest blues harmonica players, we lost one of our greatest...
Phyllis Diller is widely considered the first female stand-up comic to perform as a solo act. While she is mainly known for her career in...
We asked Eric Jentsch, deputy chair and curator in our Division of Culture and the Arts, for his NCAA bracket picks. Then he disappeared...

Blog Posts in "Teaching & Learning"

Love debating about historical topics? This post by three of the museum's educators is for you. We're always looking for ways to...
An actor stands in front of seated people and a presentation screen
Jason Fox, an AP U.S. history and psychology teacher, explains why he came to class dressed as Andrew Jackson and let his students put him...
Ever talk to a kid in your life about women's history? Educator Jenny Wei shares a few hand-picked resources for getting the...
The author as a child missing her two front teeth
Spread the word: the Tooth Fairy is using the Museum as a secret drop spot for the teeth she collects. We even have it all on video....
Behind the scenes of our “The 39 Clues” virtual field trip with History Explorer educator Sarah CoffeeThere’s an aura of mystery to the...
Babe Mit box
A recent tour group saw all kinds of interesting artifacts behind the scenes, from the first implanted heart to a baggy of chads...
Grown-ups: please share this post with detectives under the age of 12. We're stumped! Sincerely, grown-up historian Katherine Ott....
Slave shackles
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the museum is hosting a National Youth Summit on Abolition, a...
Historical fiction transports us to the past—but also raises questions about the present. Museum educator Jenny Wei explored this topic...
On certain days this winter, you could hear fiddle music coming from the Civil War section of our Price of Freedom exhibition. It...
Editor's note: As the Museum prepares for the National Youth Summit on Abolition, we're exploring how teachers discuss...
Woman in purple sweater standing beside "Now Playing" poster for "Lincoln" movie, smiling.
Editor's note: Yuri Yoshida became a docent (volunteer that leads museum tours) after moving from Japan to Washington, D.C. Andrea Lowther...
George Scurlock (son of George Scurlock, the photographer) with his siblings in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. ...
Editor's note: This is a guest post from former summer teacher associate Carla Pacitti, and is a follow-up to the post Dust Bowl...
In line in the cafeteria recently, I stood behind a young woman in her early teens here on a field trip. She had with her a paper scavenger...
Stepping off the plane in Kolkata, India, where the nighttime temperature seared at 104 degrees Fahrenheit and the monsoon was late, I...
I’ll admit it, I love American Girl. Seriously, I’m a 20-something that still pulls my doll out whenever I’m home (which is admittedly only...
It’s time again to go back to school and at the National Museum of American History that means we get ready to create exciting experiences...
Dust Bowl photo with wooden house and people running for cover
Editor's note: This post was written by Carla Pacitti, a high school English teacher in Hagerstown, Maryland and the museum's Summer...
Last month I had the opportunity to walk through the Freer and Sackler Galleries with my three-year-old daughter. Passing by on...
Object portraits created by participants trying out the "Describe yourself in five objects" activity. A cross. A doll. A...
To Do This Summer:  The new program got great reviews from teachers, such as, "I want to use literally every single idea I have...
Besides our deep love of non-prime-time sports (like equestrian eventing and canoe slalom), we love the Olympics for the human interest...
As the summer workshops wind down and summer vacations begin in the education department, we have found ourselves each year sharing our...
It’s almost summer time! Time for the beach! Time for ice cream! Time for—summer learning loss? Research indicates that students lose some...
If you’ve checked out Smithsonian’s History Explorer —the museum’s online portal for all of our interactives, lesson plans,...
Teachers watch video in classroom
Editor's note: Today's post is written by guest blogger Mark Moore from the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). In February 2012...
A group of casually dressed people stand around a table, holding hands
For the past four years, the museum’s History Alive! Theater Program has used theater in the museum as a tool to promote dialogue on...
It’s a little tough to find a Civil War sock . . . that a few hundred people can touch each year. The museum does a lot of hands-on...
Editor’s note: This post was written by the museum’s Summer Teacher Associate. Each year, we bring one teacher to work with our ...
Editor’s note: This post is by Joan Brodsky Schur, an education consultant and participant in the August 3 opening panel discussion...
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series exploring the 10th anniversary of September 11. Learn about the museum’s commemoration....
Although I’m a member of the online outreach team at the museum, over the last few months I’ve given a number of in-person workshops for...
Today’s guest post was written by Dr. James Beeghley, who writes the blog Teaching the Civil War with Technology and presents workshops on...
Most history museums face the challenge of bringing objects to life. Most of our artifacts weren’t made just to be on exhibit. People of...
Recently in the online community run by our partner, Verizon Thinkfinity, an educator asked how members of our history teachers...
As museum professionals, we’re often asked about our favorite artifacts in the museum. In the Thinkfinity online community, this question...
When I was a little girl, we alternated between taking family vacations to Disneyworld and Colonial Williamsburg. And I have to say I had...
Sure, toddlers love dinosaurs and things that they can climb on. But did you know they also love history? When parents want to take their...
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Smithsonian Magazine’s Around the Mall blog. Do you have a great idea for...
Doughboy uniform in khaki and green with helmet and gas mask
As Veterans Day approaches, I have found myself reflecting on the common practice of having grade school students interview veterans for...
So much of what I do as a museum educator is about telling stories. For example, I write parent guides to help families read stories...
My first job after college was teaching elementary students at a bilingual school in Mexico City. While the majority of our students were...
Loyal readers of our blog are surely familiar with the museum's theater programs, especially Join the Student Sit-Ins. This...
Editor’s Note: We encourage teachers to integrate the museum’s online resources into their classroom teaching. Today’s post is written by...
With today’s classrooms full of digital natives, teachers are considering how to incorporate technology into their classrooms....
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is written by Harrow Strickland, a middle school teacher and summer teaching associate at the National Museum...
I recently attended my first conference of the American Library Association (ALA). The conference was held in Washington, D.C., and we’re...

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