National Museum of American History Launches New Educational Web Site “Smithsonian’s History Explorer” on Verizon’s

September 14, 2008

Today the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, in partnership with Verizon’s, launched “Smithsonian’s History Explorer.” The museum’s new education Web site offers free, standards-based, innovative resources for teaching and learning American history.

Resources available to teachers, parents, students and others include lessons, activities and interactive games that can be searched by grade level, keyword and historical era. Learning activities feature objects selected from the more than 3 million artifacts in the museum’s collections and draw on the expertise of the museum’s renowned curatorial staff making “Smithsonian’s History Explorer” a unique educational experience.

Students can sharpen their critical thinking skills by exploring objects such as a Native American buffalo hide painting, take electronic behind-the-scenes field trips with museum curators to learn how exhibitions are produced or play online matching games where they can discover the seven roles of the President or how to build a sod house.

Teachers will find a wealth of standards-based classroom activities, interactives, media clips and museum objects that can be easily be integrated into any K-12 curriculum as well as professional development opportunities that will help them bring history to life for their students.

“‘Smithsonian’s History Explorer’ is an exciting new way for our museum to connect students, teachers and parents across the globe to American history using real objects and real stories,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “The National Museum of American History has been connecting with the wider public via the Internet for over a decade and now receives 16 million visits each year.”

“Smithsonian’s History Explorer” was developed under the guidance of a teacher advisory group and made possible by a grant from the Verizon Foundation. The site is accessible at and via is the Verizon Foundation’s comprehensive program and online portal to more than 55,000 standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources provided in partnership with many of the nation’s leading educational and literacy organizations, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

“The new ‘Smithsonian’s History Explorer’ Web site brings America’s heritage and history to life and is a wonderful addition to Verizon’s,” said Kathryn Brown, who is on the board of the National Museum of American History and Verizon senior vice president, public policy development and corporate responsibility. “Through the ‘Smithsonian’s History Explorer’ and, teachers, students and parents have easy access to an ever-expanding collection of free educational resources, highlighting the power of broadband and Internet technologies to change the way we learn.”

In addition to providing standards-based resources from the nation’s leading educational and literacy organizations, also offers a comprehensive professional development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online or face-to-face training to learn how to make the most of tools.

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.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program,, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon’s inception in 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit

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. After a two-year renovation and a dramatic transformation, the museum will shed new light on American history, both in Washington and online. A grand reopening festival is scheduled for Nov. 21, 2008. To learn more about the museum and its renovation, check where visitors can sign up for an electronic newsletter. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).