National Museum of American History Joins Thinkfinity Learning Project

April 17, 2007

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has announced that it has joined 10 of the nation’s leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy as a content partner for Thinkfinity.org, the Verizon Foundation’s online portal, connecting lesson plans and educational resources.

As a partner, the museum plans to take a guiding role in creating family and after-school offerings on Thinkfinity while continuing to focus on its core strength - informal education and object-based learning for families and teachers. The partnership with Thinkfinity will provide the museum’s education staff the opportunity to improve outreach programs and share its resources with an even broader national audience.

“Our goal as a Thinkfinity content partner is to develop Web-based learning opportunities that present challenging ideas about our country’s past and encourage a broader understanding of our nation and its many peoples and cultures,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the National Museum of American History.

The National Museum of American History’s electronic outreach program creates experiences that incorporate qualities of a museum visit with the flexibility and interactivity of online tools. For more than a decade, the museum has used the Internet to connect with “visitors” all around the world. In 2006, 14 million people visited http://americanhistory.si.edu.

A financial contribution from the Verizon Foundation will support the museum in carrying out Thinkfinity’s initiatives. The foundation will provide its support over a three-year period for the National Museum of American History.

Content for Thinkfinity also is provided through the following leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the International Reading Association; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; National Center for Family Literacy; National Council on Economic Education; National Endowment for the Humanities; National Geographic Society; ProLiteracy Worldwide; The National Council of Teachers of English; and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Thinkfinity is the Verizon Foundation’s signature educational and literacy program and includes the program formerly known as, Verizon MarcoPolo, and the Verizon Literacy Network.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery. In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation’s Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation’s largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees also have contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon’s inception in 2000.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The museum is closed for major renovations and will re-open in summer 2008. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site at http://americanhistory.si.edu or call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).