Engaging students with primary sources

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  • 1. EngagingStudentswithPrimarySourcesSmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring Center

2. Engaging Students with Primary Sources1. What Are Primary Sources & Why Use Them? Introduction. 3 What is a Primary Source?. 5 Why Use Primary Sources?. 5 Primary Sources, Learning Styles, and Multiple Intelligences. 62. Documents Introduction to Documents. 8 General Documents: Strengths and Limitations Chart. 9 Newspapers: Strengths and Limitations Chart. 10 Advertisements: Strengths and Limitations Chart. 11 Tips for Reading Documents. 12 Where to Find Documents. 15 Analyzing Documents Activity: The Sioux City Ghosts . 173. Photographs Introduction to Photographs. 24 Photographs: Strengths and Limitations Chart. 25 Tips for Reading Photographs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Where to Find Photographs. 29 Analyzing Photographs Activity: A Salmon Cannery. 304. Oral Histories Introduction to Oral Histories. 35 Oral Histories: Strengths and Limitations Chart. 36 Tips for Analyzing Recorded and Transcribed Oral History Interviews. 37 Where to Find Oral Histories. 39 Analyzing Oral Histories Activity:Spud Campbell, Liberty Ships, and The Second World War. 40 Creating an Oral History Source: Tips for Designing and Conducting an Interview. 44 Other Data to Collect During Oral History Interviews. 455. Objects Introduction to Objects. 46 Objects: Strengths and Limitations Chart. 47 Tips for Reading Objects. 48 Where to Find Objects. 52 Analyzing Objects Activity: An 18th-Century Fat Lamp. 546. Bibliography and Web Sites featuring Primary Sources. 59Table of Contents 3. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources3Primary sources are the pieces ofevidence that historians use to learnabout people, events, and everyday lifein the past. Just like detectives, historianslook at clues, sift through evidence, andreach conclusions. Students can useprimary sources, too. By focusing on theevidence itselfdocuments, objects,photographs, and oral historiesstudentscan get a glimpse into the past beyondwhat a textbook can provide. Introducingyour classes to primary sources andmaking them a regular part of classroomlessons help student develop criticalthinking and deductive reasoning skillsthat will be useful throughout their lives.This reference guide is designed tohighlight the benefits of using primarysource materials in any classroom and toprovide you, the teacher, with practicalsuggestions and examples of how to dothis. It also includes a bibliography andlinks to other sites on the Internet thatfeature primary source materials.Whether in a museum or in theclassroom, the study of primary sourcesis crucial to the study of history. Theyprovide tangible links to the past thathelp studentsbuild personalconnectionsto history. Yet,primary sourcesneed not belimited tohistory class. Amath class canexamine a slide rule and discuss theinvention and impact of calculators. Ascience class can study a page from afamous scientists logbook or journal andget insight into the thought process. Aliterature class reading John Steinbeckcan examine photos by Dorothea Lange.Primary Sources are an effective way tocommunicate the look, feel, and spiritof a different time.What ArePrimary Sources& Why Use Them?IntroductionWhether in amuseum or inthe classroom,the study ofprimary sourcesis crucial to thestudy of history. 4. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources4The National Museum of AmericanHistory is committed to helping teachersuse primary sources effectively in theclassroom. The Museum providesopportunities for teachers and theirstudents to make personal connectionsto Americas history through its Web site,which features various primary sourcematerials and teacher manuals, on-siteprogramming that focuses on collections,and teacher workshops.http://www.historyexplorer.si.eduSections 2 through 5 of thisguide provide classroom-readyactivities designed to providepractical lessons on usingprimary sources. Each activityfocuses on an object or objects from thecollections of the National Museum ofAmerican History.General Outline of Activities:1. Project or hand out copies ofthe introduction for each type ofresource and read it as a class.2. Use the charts as part of abrainstorming activity in whichstudents define, give examples of,and compile lists of, strengths andweaknesses for that type of resource.3. Use the tip sheet as a work sheet toanswer questions based on looking atimages of the provided objects.4. End the activity with a class discussionin which the students compare theiranswers to background informationprovided for the teacher.5. The introduction, charts, and tipsheets from each section can thenbe copied and given to the studentsto keep in their notebooks.What Are Primary Sources& Why Use Them? 5. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources5Develop Skills:Primary sources help students developand refine cognitive, investigative, deductivereasoning, and problem-solving skills. Studentsdraw conclusions from information they havefound through deciphering primary sourcematerials.Address Various Learning Styles:Through use of a variety of primary sources,teachers address the whole spectrum oflearning styles. For example, oral histories for theauditory learner, and photographs and objectsfor the visual learners. Students experienceprimary sources according to each studentsown learning style.Appeal to Students:Students of any age find primary sourcesappealing because they are tangible and real.Make Learning Active:Primary sources engage students in activelearning. By drawing their own conclusions fromprimary sources, students construct meaning anddirect their own learning.Provide Different Perspectives:Different kinds of primary sources providestudents with varying perspectives on a personor event and offer a sense of balance.What is a Primary Source?Why Use Primary Sources?Benefits for Students and TeachersPrimary Source:A first-hand, original account, record, or evidence about a person, place, object, or an event.Oral histories, objects, photographs, and documents such as newspapers, ledgers, censusrecords, diaries, journals, and inventories, are primary sources.Secondary Source:An account, record, or evidence derived from an original or primary source.Textbooks are secondary sources. 6. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources6Using primary sources in the classroom enables you to reach all typesof learners. Howard Gardner and others developed a highly accepted model of multipleintelligences. The application of primary sources in the classroom provides teachers with anavenue in which to address the eight forms of intelligence:Linguistic:Think in words, using language to express and understand complexmeanings; reading, writing, speaking skillsLogical/Mathematical:Think of cause-and-effect connections and understand relationshipsamong actions, objects, or ideas; problem solving, calculation skillsBodily-Kinesthetic:Think in movement; physical skills such as balance, dance, acting,and working with ones handsSpatial:Think in pictures and perceive visual world accurately; artistic designand construction skillsMusical:Think in sounds, melodies, rhythms, and rhymes; musical ability,vocal and instrument abilityInterpersonal:Think about and understand other people; group interaction skillsand sensitivity to peoples motives, intentions, and moodsIntrapersonal:Think about and understand oneself; skill in self-assessmentNaturalist:Think in terms of the natural world, understanding patterns of lifeand natural forces; skill in animal and plant carePrimary Sources, Learning Styles,and Multiple Intelligences 7. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources7Lessons using primary sources appealto multiple intelligences:According to the multiple intelligences theory,everyone possesses each intelligence to onedegree or another. A well-developed lessonaddresses more than one intelligence. By using avariety of primary sources, teachers can ensurethat they address all intelligences. Below aresome examples: Students in a literature class reading a novelset in the 1920s listen to the music of theera and learn the Fox Trot, Charleston, orother dances. (Linguistic, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic) Students in a geometry class studying circlesinvestigate photographs of different typesof high-wheel bicycles from the 1870s and1880s. Students use rings of different sizes todiscover why the bikes were designed withone big wheel in the front and a small wheelat the back. (Logical-Mathematical, Spatial) Students in a science class interview a localscientist about his/her work, learn how toprepare for oral history interviews, andvideotape the interview for the class archives.(Linguistic, Intrapersonal) Students in a geography class usephotographs of various types of architectureand blueprints of buildings to drawconclusions about how architects adaptbuildings to specific climates and geographicfeatures. (Spatial, Logical-Mathematical,Naturalist) Students studying the moon read booksabout the moon (Linguistic), calculateits distance from the earth (Logical-Mathematical), examine photos of thedifferent phases of the moon (Spatial); listento songs about the moon (Musical); reflecton their earliest childhood memories of themoon (Intrapersonal), build a model of themoon revolving around the earth (Bodily-Kinesthetic); conduct a moon-watch viatelescope (Interpersonal); and/or investigatethe geographic terrain of the moon(Naturalist).[from Thomas Armstrong,www.thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.htm]Primary Sources, Learning Styles,and Multiple Intelligences 8. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources8Every piece of paper that people leavebehind is full of clues. From diariesand letters to newspapers and censusreports, documents tell us about thecircumstances of everyday life and aboutsignificant events. Historians spend a lotof time in archives studying all kinds ofdocumentary evidence and glean richinformation from the written word.To be most useful, documents mustbe studied carefully and critically.While it might be clearly stated whothe writer is and who the audienceis, the intended message may not beobvious. Researchers, whether studentor professional, must look beyond theintended meaning to consider hiddenagendas, unintended meanings, and biasor point of view of the creator of thedocument. Other elements to analyzeinclude tone, grammar, word choice, andstyle. This information will enable theresearcher to interpret the documentwith a critical eye.Like all other primary sources, documentsmust be studied in conjunction with otherevidence. While documents often revealinformation, it is important to verify theinformation with photographs, objects,oral histories, or other available sources.This section can be used as referencematerial and as a practical lesson on usingprimary sources. The activity focuseson three archival resources from thecollections of the National Museum ofAmerican History related to a travelingAfrican American softball team namedthe Sioux City Ghosts.DocumentsIntroduction to DocumentsTo be most useful, documentsmust be studied carefully andcritically.Ledger from Scrapbook, 1936 compiled byGhosts player Reginald Williams 9. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources9General Documents:Strengths and Limitations Provides information on the who, what,where, when, why, and how of an event Provides written, printed, or graphicinformation Can clarify the purpose of thecommunication or transaction Can be a clue to the level of education ofthe author Sometimes offers evidence of emotion Can stimulate the personal involvement ofthe readerNot a thoroughly objective sourceGenerally a verbal, not a visual, recordOften more to the story than what ispresentedBias and agenda of the author to beconsideredIdentity of the author often unclear(especially true in the case of governmentdocuments)Author often no longer living and thereforeunavailable to consult or verifyPossibly difficult to read: handwriting difficultto decipher; words or phrases that areunfamiliar, their meaning changed over timeMust be evaluated in conjunction withother evidence to determine whether thedocument presents information that isexceptional or conforming with previouslyestablished patterns.Primary SourceDocuments: Printed or written material relied upon to communicate, record, orprove something.Examples include:Diaries, letters, certificates of birth, death, or marriage, deeds, contracts, constitutions, laws, courtrecords, tax records, census records, wills, inventories, treaties, report cards, medical records,passenger lists, passports, visas, naturalization papers, and military enlistment or discharge papers.StrengthsLimitations 10. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources10Newspapers:Strengths and Limitations Many different types of information in oneplace: news articles, editorials, ads, columns,sports scores Generally factual Quick way to get basic info: who, where,when, what, why Provides larger context of information Written for a mass audienceeasy tounderstand Often has visual content: photographs,editorial cartoons, comics, ads Addresses current events Especially good for local informationShows the bias of the publisher/owner, editor,writerSubject to political and economic pressuresFact checking not always thoroughwrittento meet deadlinesNewsprint is hard to preserveMost newspapers not indexed; need toknow dates to useVarying ideas of what is considerednewsworthy by locale and timePrimary SourceNewspapers: A publication, usually issued daily or weekly,containing current news, editorials, feature articles, and advertisingStrengthsLimitations 11. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources11Advertisements:Strengths and Limitations Visual element often primary Widespread availability, familiar to us today Record specific moments in time Address human desire and aspirations onmany levels often include some information onmanufacturer, manufacturing technology,product materials, content and use Reflect prevailing social standards and valuesof the timeOften undatedCreator of ad (writer, artist, ad agency)often unknownMain function to sell; the informationprovided with that end in mindText entirely controlled by sponsor of adOften conveys prejudices and biases of thetime (this can also be valuable to historians)Often present a rosy, ideological view inwhich all problems are solved by the productImages possibly alteredOlder ads containing contemporaryreferences that are not obvious to a modernviewerMany segments of society are found in adsPrimary SourceAdvertisements: Printed communication between seller/manufacturerand potential/ intended buyer/consumer; often with visual elementsStrengthsLimitations 12. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources12Use this guide to help you analyze primary source documents. Answer as many of the questions asyou can, using evidence from the document. Write your answers to as many questions as possible,based on what you see and what you may already know.First ImpressionsWhat are your first impressions?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What kind of document is it (letter, ad, newspaper, etc)? How do you know?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Looking More CloselyRead through the document carefully. Make a list of any unusual words or phrases.__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Is there a date on it? If so, what is it?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________If not, are there any other clues that might indicate when it was written?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Documents 1of 3 13. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources13Is there a location indicated? What is it?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Who wrote or created the document? How can you tell?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________For whom was the document written or created? How do you know?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What is the purpose of the document? What made you think this?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Thinking FurtherWhat do you think the writer thought was the most important information to convey? Why?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Documents 2 of 3 14. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources14Does the document convey a certain tone?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What does it imply without stating directly?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Can you tell the point of view of the writer? Is it objective?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What is the relationship between the writer and the audience? How can you tell?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Documents 3 of 3 15. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources15The documents you use in yourclassroom do not need to be fadedletters, congressional reports, orother official papers in order toprovide a rich learning experiencefor your students. Documents areany written or printed material used tocommunicate something. Use the documentsaround you: report cards, a page from a phonebook, letters to parents, student writings, schoolrules, recipes, and even print advertisements.Remember, yesterdays events are history. local historical society or history museumarchives local library city or county administrative offices newspaper archives (called the morgue) government agencies (state, local, andfederal) law offices courts churches schools, colleges, and universities many national documents available throughthe National Archives and RecordsAdministration, both on their Web site andin various publications (see bibliography atthe end of this kit)The National Museum of AmericanHistory includes documents in these onlineexhibitions:A More Perfect Union:Japanese Americans and the U. S Constitutionhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/experience/index.htmlAbraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Lifehttp://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/small_exhibition.cfm?key=1267&exkey=696Americas New Birth of Freedom:Documents from the Abraham LincolnPresidential Library and Museumhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/documentsgallery/exhibitions/americas_new_birth_of_freedom_1.htmlThe American Presidency:A Glorious Burdenhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/presidency/America on the Movehttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthemove/The Gettysburg Addresshttp://americanhistory.si.edu/documentsgallery/exhibitions/gettysburg_address_1.htmlJuly 1942: United We Standhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/1942/index.htmlProduce For Victory:Posters on the Home Front, 19411945http://americanhistory.si.edu/victory/index.htmWhere to Find Documents 16. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources16Separate Is Not Equal:Brown v. Board of Educationhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/The Star-Spangled Banner:The Flag that Inspired the National Anthemhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/The Price of Freedom:Americans at Warhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/Vote: The Machinery of Democracyhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/vote/West Point in the Making of Americahttp://americanhistory.si.edu/westpoint/index.htmlWhatever Happened to Polio?http://www.americanhistory.si.edu/polio/index.htmWithin These Wallshttp://americanhistory.si.edu/house/The National Museum of AmericanHistory Archives Centeralso has many documents available online atwww.americanhistory.si.edu/archives/ac-i.htmfor downloading.Where to Find Documents 17. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources17ObjectiveStudents naturally find diaries, journals, andother personal documents appealing becausethe writers emotions and intentions areoften clear. However, they may find otherdocuments less engaging. Legal documents, forexample, may have a style or stilted languagethat is unfamiliar to students. Or, documentsfrom a past century might have vocabularythat seems strange. Other documents suchas census reports or tax lists might seem dryor boring. Yet, when used in conjunction withother primary sources, all documents can bevital and unique sources of information. Whenusing documents, it is important for teachers tointroduce students to a variety of types, makingsure to include documents with visual appeal likeadvertisements, maps, or editorial cartoons.After completing this activity, students willbe able to identify and assess the strengthsand weaknesses of using different types ofdocuments as primary sources and analyzedocuments for factual information.Time50 minutesSkillsAnalyzing Documents as Primary SourcesGrades712Content AreaU.S. History, 20th-Century History, GreatDepression, Black History, Segregation,Sports HistoryMaterials Introduction to Documents General Documents:Strengths and Limitations Chart Newspapers:Strengths and Limitations Chart Advertisements:Strengths and Limitations Chart Tips for Reading Documents A blank piece of paper and a pencil or pen Copies of the three archival resources aboutthe Sioux City Ghosts that are included: anadvertisement, a newspaper article, and aledger pageAnalyzing Documents Activity:The Sioux City Ghosts 18. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources18National Center for History in theSchoolsNational History StandardsHistorical Thinking:Grades 512:2A Identify the author or sourceof the historical document ornarrative and assess its credibility.2F Appreciate historical perspectives.3D Draw comparisons across erasand regions in order to defineenduring issues.4B Obtain historical data from avariety of sources.4C Interrogate historical data.4F Support interpretations withhistorical evidence.Historical Content:Grades 512:Era 7 Standard 3How the United States changedfrom the end of World War I tothe eve of the Great DepressionEra 8 The Great Depression and WorldWar I (19291945)Directions1. Read and discuss the Introduction toDocuments page together as a class.2. Split the class into groups of three or fourstudents. Assign each group one of thefollowing types of primary sources: generaldocuments, newspapers or advertisements.If needed, more than one group can workon a document type.3. On a sheet of paper, ask each group towrite a definition and/or provide examplesof the primary source type that they havebeen assigned and then brainstorm itsstrengths and weaknesses.4. Have each group report their thoughts outto the class. Write the results for the entireclass to see.5. Hand out all three Strengths andLimitations Charts to each group:Documents, Newspapers andAdvertisements. As a class, compare themto the student-generated informationthat was shared and written after thebrainstorming session.6. Give each group a copy of the Tips forReading Documents and a copy of thedocument type that they were assigned:the advertisement, newspaper article, orthe ledger page. The ledger page is thegeneral document.7. Have each group answer the questionson the Tips Sheet while analyzing theirdocument. Be careful not to reveal theanswer to the question in step 9 to theAnalyzing Documents Activity:The Sioux City Ghosts 19. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources19students! Asking the students to recordtheir first impressions is important becausethis shows how previous knowledge,experiences, and personal bias can affectthe analysis of primary sources.8. Ask the students to share their assignedresources and answers with the class. Atthis point, you may want to give one copyof each of the three documents to everygroup or project an image of each resourcefor the entire class to see.9. Ask the students this question: Are all ofthese documents related to the sameevent?10. Discuss the answers as a class and comparethe students answers to the informationgiven in the Background Information forTeachers (p. 20).11. You may also want to give each student acopy of the Introduction to Documentspage, all three Strengths and LimitationsCharts, and the Tips for ReadingDocuments for their notebooks or files sothat they can use them later.If you have limited time: Skip the brainstorming section of the activity(steps 3 and 4).Extension ActivityHave the class brainstorm ideas about how todetermine whether the newspaper article andthe advertisement refer to the same game.Analyzing Documents Activity:The Sioux City Ghosts 20. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources20Background InformationThe Sioux City Ghosts were an AfricanAmerican fast-pitch softball team that touredthe country during the 1920s and 1930s. Oftencompared to the Harlem Globetrotters, theGhosts players were entertainers who wouldinterrupt games by playing pranks, singing songs,or playing Ghost Ball, a simulated game inwhich they pretended to play an inning withoutusing a ball. At a time when segregation didnot allow African American athletes to be wellrecognized, the Ghosts gained renown and drewlarge crowds while traveling and playing on theWest Coast, Mexico, and Canada. The teamdisbanded when World War I began, and manymembers served in the armed forces. After thewar, few original members rejoined, but the teamkept going until 1956.Although these documents all are related tosoftball games between the Sioux City Ghostsand the Sebastopol All-Stars, they are not aboutthe same event. You can see by looking at thedates on the advertisement and the ledger thatthey refer to games that took place on differentdates (July 8 and June 29). The advertisementand the article may refer to the same eventbecause they both mention a specific day ofthe week, Monday, but since neither documentincludes the year, we cannot be sure.For more information, visit this Web site:www.americanhistory.si.edu/archives/d9634.htmAnalyzing Documents Activity:The Sioux City GhostsDetail, Advertisement, July 1935 21. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources21Analyzing Documents Activity:The Sioux City GhostsAdvertisement, July 1935 22. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources22Analyzing Documents Activity:The Sioux City GhostsLedger from Scrapbook, 1936, compiled by Ghosts player Reginald Williams 23. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources23Analyzing Documents Activity:The Sioux City GhostsNewspaper article, from scrapbook compiled by Ghosts player Reginald Williams 24. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources24Photographs provide us with imagesof past events. Today, historians studythe content and the meaning of thesevisual images to locate informationabout a particular topic, time, or event.Photographs can convey countless detailsabout life. For historians and for us,A picture is worth a thousand words.Historians who studythe everyday lives ofanonymous peoplefind photographs arean invaluable source.Sometimes photographsare the only means ofreconstructing the materialworld and behavior ofpeople who did not leavemany written records.Yet, photographs, likeother primary sources, must be studiedcarefully and critically. While they appearto be the most objective and accurateof all primary sources, they MAY not be.Photographs are the product of manyvariables, including, the photographersintention, the users need, the viewersinterpretation and the equipmentstechnical abilities.Photographers have the abilityto manipulate, intentionally orunintentionally, the record of the event. Itis the photographerand the camerasframethat defines the pictures content.Thus, the photographer chooses whatwill be in the picture, what will be left out,and what the emphasis will be.The first steps in using photographsas a primary source are to identify thesubject and content of the photograph,and the contextual information thatmay not be in the photograph, such aslearning about the photographer. Whatwas the photographers intention? Wasthe photographer hired for a specificpurpose? Was the photographer a partialor seemingly impartial observer, an insideror an outsider?Like all other primary sources,photographs must be studied inconjunction with other evidence.One must look at many photographs,related documents, and oral histories todetermine if a photographs informationis unusual or part of a larger pattern.PhotographsIntroduction to PhotographsPhotographershave the abilityto manipulate,intentionally orunintentionally,the record of theevent. It is thephotographerand the camerasframethatdefines thepictures content. 25. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources25Photographs: Strengths and Limitations Visual records of a moment in time Convey many details about people, places,objects, and events Convey information about everyday lifeand behavior that is best communicatedin visual terms (hair and clothing styles,interior design) Sometimes provide evidence of attitude Important to the study of peoplewho did not leave many written records Can stimulate the personal involvementof the viewer Do not require fluency in a particularlanguage to understand Can be used to stimulate the memoryof peopleNot a complete or objective source: theimage that serves as the lasting record doesnot equate directly with the reality of theevent itselfRelationship of the photographer to thosebeing photographed often difficult todetermineReflect the bias or perspective of thephotographer including choices about: what is included in the frameof the camera the moment in time recordedin the photograph the subject matter that the personpresent at the event thought wasimportant to record whether or not to manipulate thepeople or objects in the picturePeople, place, date, and the name of thephotographer are often not identified.The emotions and thoughts of thoseinvolved often are not evident.Information from this kind of source isoften suggestive rather than definitive.Photographs must be studied in conjunctionwith other evidence. One must look at manyphotographs and/or other source materialssuch as documents and oral histories todetermine if the information is unusual orpart of a larger pattern.Primary SourcePhotographs: Visual records obtained through photographyStrengthsLimitations 26. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources26Use this guide to help you analyze photographs. Answer as many of the questions as you canusing evidence from the photograph. Write your answers to as many questions as possiblebased on what you see and what you may already know.First ImpressionsWhat are your first impressions?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Take a closer look . . . make sure to examine the whole photograph.Make a list of any people in the photograph.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What is happening in the photograph?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Make a list of any activities you see going on in the photograph.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Make a list of any objects in the photograph.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Make a list of any animals in the photograph.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Photographs 1of 3 27. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources27Looking More CloselyAre there any captions? A date? Location? Names of people?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What kind of clothing is being worn?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Is there any lettering on signs or buildings?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What time of year is pictured? Time of day? Cite your evidence.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Where was the photograph taken? Cite your evidence.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Thinking FurtherIf people are in the photograph, what do you think is their relationship to one another?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Can you speculate on a relationship of the people pictured and someone who is not in the picture?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Photographs 2 of 3 28. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources28What do you think happened just before the picture was taken?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What do you think happened just after the photograph was taken?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Who do you think took the photograph? Why?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What does this photograph suggest to you? Describe your reaction in a statement.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What questions do you have about the photograph? How could you try to answer them?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What is the one thing that you would remember most about this photograph? Why?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What questions do you have about the photograph that you cannot answerthrough analyzing it? Where could you go next to answer these questions?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Photographs 3 of 3 29. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources29As with documents and objects,photographs do not have to beold to be a valuable source in theclassroom. Some of the best photographs foreducational purposes are family photographs. Ifolder photographs suit the particular needs of alesson, here are some places to look: archives of local newspapers historical photograph books (newsmagazines such as Time Life andAmerican Heritage have compilations) books of photos by famous Americandocumentary photographers such asMathew Brady, Dorothea Lange,Walker Evans, Lewis Hine, or MargaretBourke White textbooks archives of national newspapers andnews magazines school newspapers and yearbooks photograph collections in your localhistorical society or museum photograph collections at local collegesand universities special collections at librariesMost of the online exhibitionsfrom the National Museum ofAmerican History contain a wealthof photographs:http://www.americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/category.cfm?category=onlineThe exhibitions below focus onphotography and photographs:Portraits of a City: The Scurlock PhotographicStudios Legacy to Washington, D.C.http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives/scurlock/index.htmlThe 1896 Washington Salon & ArtPhotographic Exhibitionhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/1896/index.htmFreeze Frame: Eadweard MuybridgesPhotography of Motionhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/muybridge/index.htmMagic Lanterns, Magic Mirrors:A Centennial Salute to Cinemahttp://americanhistory.si.edu/cinema/index.htmPhotographing History: Fred J. Maroonand the Nixon Years, 19701974http://americanhistory.si.edu/maroon/index.htmA Visual Journey: Photographs by Lisa Law,19641971http://americanhistory.si.edu/lisalaw/index.htmYou can also find photographs online at theLibrary of Congress American Memory Webpage http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.htmlWhere to Find Photographs 30. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources30ObjectivePhotographs are especially significant forstudents. They give a visual image of the pastthat is valuable for young people whose personalmemories may extend only into the last decade.Photographs can stimulate students visual sense,as well as their mental abilities, as they pursue anunderstanding of the American past.Much like using objects in the classroom, thestudy of photographs can be very beneficial forEnglish Language Learners, or those with learningdisabilities. Photographs speak a thousandwordsin any language.After completing this activity, students will beable to identify and assess the strengths andweaknesses of using photographs as primarysources, and analyze photographs for historicalinformation.Time50 minutesSkillsAnalyzing photographs as primary sourcesGrades312Content AreaSalmon fishing; maritime history; westwardexpansion; business history; immigration;geography; invention and innovation;industrial revolutionMaterials Pencil or Pen A piece of paper Photograph of Salmon Cannery Introduction to Photographs page Photographs: Strengths and LimitationsChart Tips for Reading PhotographsAnalyzing Photographs Activity:A Salmon Cannery 31. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources31National Center for History in theSchoolsNational History StandardsHistorical Thinking:Grades K4:Standard 4B: Obtain historical data from avariety of sourcesStandard 4C: Interrogate historical data.Standard 4D: Marshal needed knowledge ofthe time and place, and constructa story, explanation, or historicalnarrative.Standard 5A: Identify problems and dilemmas inthe past.Standard 5B: Analyze the interests and values ofthe various people involved.Grades 5-12:Standard 4B: Obtain historical data from avariety of sourcesStandard 4C: Interrogate historical data.Standard 4D: Identify the gaps in the availablerecords, marshal contextualknowledge and perspectives of thetime and place.Standard 5A: Identify issues and problems inthe past.Content:Grades K4:Topic 1 Standard 2:The history of students own localcommunity and how communitiesin North America varied long ago.Topic 2 Standard 3C:The student understands thevarious other groups from regionsthroughout the world who cameinto his or her own state or regionover the long-ago and recent past.Topic 3 Standard 5A:Demonstrate understanding ofthe movements of large groupsof people into his or her own andother states in the United Statesnow and long ago.Topic 4 Standard 8A:The student understands thedevelopment of technologicalinnovations, the major scientistsand inventors associated withthem and their social andeconomic effects.Grades 512:Era 6: The Development of the IndustrialUnited StatesAnalyzing Photographs Activity:A Salmon Cannery 32. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources32Directions1. Read and discuss the Introduction toPhotographs page from this guide togetheras a class.2. Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4students.3. On a sheet of paper, have each groupbrainstorm the strengths and weaknesses ofusing photographs as primary sources.4. Have each group report their thoughts outto the class. Write the results for the entireclass to see.5. Hand out the Photographs: Strengths andLimitations Chart. As a class, compare it tothe student-generated list of strengths andlimitations.6. Project the photograph of the salmoncannery for the entire class to see, or giveeach group a photocopy of the image.7. Give each group a copy of the Tips forReading Photographs and have them answerthe questions on the tip sheet while analyzingthe photograph. Asking the students torecord their first impressions is importantbecause this shows how previous knowledge,experiences, and personal bias can affect theanalysis of primary sources.8. Discuss the answers as a class and comparethe students answers to the informationgiven in the Background Information forTeachers (p. 33).9. You may also want to give each student acopy of the Introduction to Photographs,the Photographs: Strengths andLimitations Chart, and the Tips for ReadingPhotographs for their notebooks or files sothey can use them as references later.Modified Activities If you have limited time, it is possible to skipthe brainstorming section of the activity(steps 3 and 4). For younger students, a simplified activitycan include looking at the photograph asa class and asking modified versions of thequestions on the tip sheet that are moreappropriate for the age group.Extension ActivityThis photograph raises questions about theimpact of salmon fishing when canning becamepossible. Have the students research canningand the history of salmon fishing. Here are somequestions regarding the photograph to help yourstudents get started: Why was canning fish desired? Who caughtthe fish? Who worked in the cannery? Thereare two Asian men on the left. What is theirrelationship with the cannery? Where didthe canned fish go? Is this the way fish arecanned today?Analyzing Photographs Activity:A Salmon Cannery 33. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources33Background Information for Teachers928. Unloading Salmon at a CanneryBy S. J. Thompson, New Westminster,B.C.Albumen print, about 1889This photograph by Stephen Joseph Thompsonhas a purplish hue because of the photographicprocess. Albumen prints have a base coat thatuses egg whites, giving the paper a smoothshiny surface. The paper is then coated with asilver nitrate solution to make it light sensitive.After exposing and fixing the print, it will appearreddish. But if it is toned (helping to preservethe image), often with gold, it will have a range ofbrown and purplish tones.The photograph shows fish at a cannery,presumably in the Northwestern UnitedStates or Canadas British Columbia. It wasprobably photographed as documentation forthe Canadian Deputy Minister of Marine andFisheries. It shows some of the tools and thepeople who worked in the first stages of thecanning process.There are many salmon lying about, and themen are careful not step on the fish; see theboards to the left. One man on the left and twomen in the center hold up fish, which gives usa better sense of just how big these fish are.The photographer had a camera that held an8x10-inch glass plate that was held stable bya tripod. He would have had a lot of heavywooden boxes that carried glass plates andother equipment.For more information,go to these Web sites:Three sections of the online exhibitionOn the Water: Stories from Maritime Americafocus on salmon fishing:The Salmon Coasthttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/3_2.htmlCommercial Fishers: Columbia River Salmonhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/3_6.htmlModern Maritime Americahttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/7_1.html19th-Century American Fisherieshttp://www.photolib.noaa.gov/nmfs/index.htmlColumbia River Salmonhttp://oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth481/sal/crintro1.htmChinese Immigration to the United Stateshttp://lcweb2.loc.gov/learn/features/timeline/riseind/chinimms/chinimms.htmlChinese Immigration and theChinese in the United Stateshttp://www.archives.gov/locations/finding-aids/chinese-immigration.htmlThe Story of Pacific Salmonhttp://whatscookingamerica.net/salmon.htmWild Salmon Spotlighthttp://www.goldseal.ca/wildsalmon/history.aspAnalyzing Photographs Activity:A Salmon Cannery 34. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources34Analyzing Photographs Activity:A Salmon Cannery928. Unloading Salmon at a CanneryBy S. J. Thompson, New Westminster, B.C.Albumen print, about 1889 35. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources35Oral histories are the collections ofpeoples reminiscences, accounts, andinterpretations of the past in theirown words. They are a record of anindividuals direct feelings and opinionsabout the events in which he or she wasinvolved. Often, oral histories provideinformation about significant events thatmay otherwise lack documentation inwritten or archival records. Oral historiesare obtained through interviews and arepreserved on audio and video recordings,in films, and in written transcripts.Historians study oral histories as primarysources and recognize the advantagesthey have as source materials. Many times,oral histories record the experiences ofindividuals who were not able, or wholacked the time, to leave written accounts.The interviewers questions often createspontaneity and candor that might not bepresent in a personally written account.Moreover, in a recorded interview, theinformants voice may reveal uniquespeech characteristics and tone that couldnot be captured in other sources.Oral history presents challenges inits analysis. Memory is fallible. Thereliability of the informants informationmay be in question. One must ask, is itconsistent with the informants previousrecollections? Or the informant may,intentionally or unintentionally, distortthe event or their role in it, therebycompromising the records validity.One must ask, does this concur withother sources? Further, informantsmay be reluctant to discuss certaintopics, resulting in an inaccurate or anincomplete record. As with all sources,oral histories must be evaluated alongwith other documentation to determinewhether they present information thatis exceptional or conforms to previouslyestablished patterns.Oral HistoriesIntroduction to Oral HistoriesOral history presents challengesin its analysis. Memory is fallible.The reliability of the informantsinformation may be in question. 36. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources36Oral Histories:Strengths and Limitations Personalize history by recording an individualsremembrances (or opinions) about his/her lifeor an event in which he/she was involved Provide information about a topic ortime period that may otherwise lackdocumentation in written or archival records Often convey emotion clearly Contain a story element appealing to students Contain spontaneity and candor not alwayspresent in a personally written account May contain unusual dialect or speech patterns If the informant is living, they may beconsulted for clarification or additionalinformation.The fallible memory of the informantMay include intentional or unintentionaldistortion of an event or ones role in anevent, thereby compromising the validityMay contain inaccurate or incomplete recordbecause of the informants reluctance todiscuss certain topicsThe informants testimony may beinconsistent from one interview to the next.May be influenced by the bias, goals, and/orthe relationship of the interviewer to thosebeing interviewedInterviewers questions may exert intentionalor unintentional influence on the informantsresponse.May contain unfamiliar words or phrasesfrom another time that are not clarified bythe informantThe bias of the historian/interviewer maybecome evident in the edited version of theinterview(s), compromising the permanentrecord.Oral histories are the mutual creation of thehistorian and the person being interviewedthe historian defines the topic or problemto be studied and the subject provides theinformation.Always important to evaluate oral historiesalong with other evidence to determinewhether they present information thatis exceptional or conforms to previouslyestablished patternsPrimary SourceOral Histories The record of an individuals reminiscences, accounts, and interpretationsof the past in his/her own spoken words obtained through planned interview(s) andpreserved through the use of audio and video recordings, film, and/or written transcription.The Oral History Informant is the individual being interviewed.StrengthsLimitations 37. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources37Before You BeginFind out and write down as much as you can about the informant: name, date of the interview,location, personal circumstances, and the topic of the interview. If possible, also note the interviewersname and affiliation.First ImpressionsWho is speaking?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What people, places, and dates does the informant mention?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What topics is the informant discussing?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Does the informant reveal any emotions about these topics such as excitement, sadness, orhappiness?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Analyzing Taped and 1of 2Transcribed Oral History Interviews 38. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources38Listening More CloselyWhat kinds of words or phrases does the informant use? Are any of these unusual? If so, write themdown and find definitions for them using a dictionary. Do they tell you anything about the informantscharacter or history?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What was the informants role in the events he or she describes?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Thinking FurtherHow was the informant affected by the events he or she describes?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________How does the informant and his or her unique story fit into the broader history you are studying?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________How could information obtained from other primary sources reinforce the informants story?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Does the informant mention any previously unknown aspects of the event that deserve furtherexploration?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Analyzing Taped andTranscribed Oral History Interviews 2 of 2 39. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources39These online exhibitions from theNational Museum of AmericanHistory include oral histories:A More Perfect Union:Japanese-Americans and the U. S. Constitutionhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/experience/index.htmlAmerica on the Movehttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthemove/Whatever Happened to Polio?http://www.americanhistory.si.edu/polio/Bon Apptit! Julia Childs Kitchenat the Smithsonianhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/juliachild/Invention at Play: Inventors Storieshttp://inventionatplay.org/inventors_main.htmlPhotographing History: Fred J. Maroonand the Nixon Years, 19701974http://americanhistory.si.edu/maroon/index.htmOn the Water: Stories from Maritime Americahttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/You can also find oral historiesonline at: Archives of American Art,Oral History CollectionsSmithsonian Institution,Archives of American Arthttp://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/oralhistories/ The Library of CongressAmerican Memoryhttp://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html History Matters: Oral Histories Onlinehttp://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/oral/online.html Tips for recording oral historiesand great questions online at:Storycorps: The conversation of a lifetimehttp://www.storycorps.org/record-your-story/ Modern Inventors Documentation Programhttp://invention.smithsonian.org/resources/MIND_about.aspxWhere to Find Oral Histories 40. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources40ObjectiveAnalyzing oral history material can be arewarding experience for students. It enablesthem to see the events of history from anindividuals perspectiveone that they can hearin the individuals own words and intonation,as though they were talking directly with theinformant. Even more rewarding is for studentsto conduct their own oral history interviews.A project such as this will teach studentsthat they can learn history from people theyknow and that they can personally collect andpreserve information that may be useful tohistorians in the future.Unlike using objects and photographs in theclassroom, oral histories can be challenging forEnglish Language Learners, students who aredeaf or hard of hearing, or those with certainlearning disabilities. It is important to alwaysprovide transcripts of any oral histories that areused in the classroom or any other setting.After completing this activity, students will beable to identify and assess the strengths andweaknesses of using oral histories as primarysources and analyze oral histories for factualinformation.Time50 minutesSkillsAnalyzing oral histories as primary sourcesGrades312Content AreaUnited States History, World War II,Maritime History, Veterans DayMaterials Introduction to Oral Histories Oral Histories: Strengths and LimitationsChart Tips for Analyzing Taped and TranscribedOral History Interviews Paper and pencils or pens Six parts of the Spud Campbell oral historyhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/6_3.html#PerilsOfWar Computers with Internet access, ability toplay MP3 files, and speakers or headphonesAnalyzing Oral Histories Activity:Spud Campbell, Liberty Ships, andthe Second World War 41. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources41National Center for History in theSchoolsNational History StandardsHistorical Thinking:Grades K4:1B: Identify the temporal structure ofa historical narrative or story.2A: Identify the author or sourceof the historical document ornarrative.2B: Reconstruct the literal meaning ofa historical passage.2C: Identify the central question(s) thehistorical narrative addresses.3A: Formulate questions to focus theirinquiry or analysis.3H: Explain causes in analyzinghistorical actions4A: Formulate historical questions.4B: Obtain historical data.4C: Interrogate historical data.5A: Identify problems and dilemmas inthe past.5B: Analyze the interests and values ofthe various people involved.Grades 512:1B: Identify the temporal structure ofa historical narrative or story.2A: Identify the author or sourceof the historical document ornarrative and assess its credibility.2B: Reconstruct the literal meaning ofa historical passage.2C: Identify the central question(s) thehistorical narrative addresses.2D: Differentiate between historicalfacts and historical interpretations.2F: Appreciate historical perspectives.4A: Formulate historical questions.4B: Obtain historical data from avariety of sources.4C: Interrogate historical data.5A: Identify issues and problems in thepast.Historical Content:Grades K4:Standard 4B: Demonstrate understandingof ordinary people who haveexemplified values and principlesof American democracy.Standard 4D: The student understands eventsthat celebrate and exemplifyfundamental values and principlesof American democracy (VeteransDay).Grades 512:Era 8 Standard 3B:The student understands WorldWar II and how the Alliesprevailed.Standard 3C: The student understands theeffects of World War I at home.Analyzing Oral Histories Activity:Spud Campbell, Liberty Ships, andthe Second World War 42. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources42Directions1. Read and discuss the Introduction to OralHistories page from this guide together asa class.2. Divide the class into groups of three or fourstudents.3. On a sheet of paper, have each groupbrainstorm the strengths and weaknesses ofusing oral histories as primary sources.4. Have each group report out their thoughts.Write the results for the entire class to see.5. Hand out the Oral Histories: Strengthsand Limitations Chart. As a class, compareit to the student-generated list of strengthsand limitations.6. Give each group a copy of the Tips forAnalyzing Taped and Transcribed OralHistory Interviews and read through thequestions as a class.7. If possible, assign each group to a computerso that they can listen to the six parts ofSpud Campbells oral history. If only onecomputer is available, play the oral historyfor the entire class to hear.8. Have the students fill out the tip sheetas they listen to the Spud Campbell oralhistory. (After following the link,http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/6_3.html#PerilsOfWar, scrolldown until you find the Spud Campell oralhistory. It is divided into six parts.)Asking the students to record their firstimpressions is important because this showshow previous knowledge, experiences,and personal bias can affect the analysisof primary sources. After each section,students should record any information thatthey can on the tip sheet. Continue thisprocess until they have listened to all sixparts of the oral history.9. Discuss the answers as a class and comparethe students answers to the informationgiven in the Background Information forTeachers (p. 43).10. You may want to give each student a copy ofthe Introduction to Oral Histories page, theOral Histories: Strengths and LimitationsChart and the Tips for Analyzing Tapedand Transcribed Oral History Interviewsfor their notebooks or files so they can usethem as references later.If you have limited time: Skip the brainstorming section of the activity(steps 3 and 4).Extension ActivityHave the students conduct research on LibertyShips and report their findings to the class.Analyzing Oral Histories Activity:Spud Campbell, Liberty Ships, andthe Second World War 43. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources43Background Information forTeachersDuring World War II, the United States faced thechallenge of having to support soldiers fightingthousands of miles away in North Africa, theMediterranean, and Europe, and on islands in thePacific Ocean. Nearly everything that U.S. andAllied troops needed for the war effort arrivedvia shiptroops, tanks, planes, ammunition, fuel,food, even toilet paper. Thousands of ships, manyof them of a type known as Liberty Ships,were mass-produced in Americas shipyards.These ships were crucial to the Allied war effort.Civilians in the United States Merchant Marineserved as crew members on these transportships, traversing dangerous waters in the NorthAtlantic and the Pacific. Some 290,000 menserved in the Merchant Marine during the war,and many thousands died.One of those who served as a merchantmariner was Spud Campbell. Born ArnoldSpurgen Campbell in Walker County, Alabama,in 1921, he was recruited and trained as a radiooperator by the United States Coast Guard.Beginning in the spring of 1942, he workedon Liberty ships, crossing the Atlantic severaltimes while supporting the invasions of NorthAfrica, Sicily, and southern France. In the oralhistory included in this activity, he talks about hisexperience working on his fourth ship, the SSHenry Bacon.For more information,go to these Web sites:http://www.usmm.org/libertyships.htmlhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/6_1.htmlAnalyzing Oral Histories Activity:Spud Campbell, Liberty Ships, andthe Second World War(left) Spud Campbell, First Radio Officer,SS Henry Bacon, Oct. 1944 to Feb. 1945(right) Liberty Ship, SS Samuel F.B. Morseand convoy 44. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources44Many steps are involved in creating apermanent record of an interview.A well-planned project will result in a clear, moreuseful product. The following tips may help inplanning and conducting an interview.I. Organizing Your Project Determine the interview topic and writeat least five basic questions relevant to thetopic. Avoid simple YES and NO questions;ask open-ended questions to allow morediscussion. Locate an informant through family, friends,community, and online resources. Theinformant should have experience with thetopic you wish to discuss. Set a definite time and place for theinterview. Also be sure to consider the timeof day and the expected length of interview. Practice by interviewing someone else(students may practice interviewing eachother as an in-class exercise). It is important to create an index that willallow you to find valuable passages fromthe interview later. See the Other Data toCollect During Oral History Interviewsincluded on the next page.II. The Interview If possible, collect items that mighthelp stimulate the informants memory.Newspaper articles, family photos, andpersonal items are examples. (Or ask theinformant to bring these materials). If using a video recorder, flash recorder,computer with microphone, or cell phone,check all equipment to be sure it is working.If taking notes, be sure that paper and writingutensils are in order. Begin the interview by stating the time,place, date, your name, and the name ofyour project. Ask the informant for his or hername, birth date, and early life history. Ask your questions. Allow the informantplenty of time to answer. If your informantsays something that you do not understand,ask him or her to explain or clarify his or hercomments. Always respect your informant and theirwishes (if appropriate) during the interview.Creating an Oral History Source:Tips for Designing andConducting an Interview 1 of 2 45. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources45III. After the Interview Thank the informant. Listen to the recording to be sure it isaudible or read your notes for corrections.Note any points that need clarification. Transcribe the information as soon aspossible (if you need a transcription). For storing your recording, burn a DVDor CD copy and attach a brief descriptionof the project. Note why you chose yourinformant.Other Data to Collect DuringOral History Interviews CD or DVD Number Informants Occupation Informants Address Date of Interview Length of Session Place of Interview Title or Subject Interviewer Interviewers Address Others Present InterviewList in order of subjects discussed, localities,dates, names of persons mentioned. Leave ablank column in your notebook so you cannote each important statements location onyour recording.Creating an Oral History Source:Tips for Designing andConducting an Interview 2 of 2 46. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources46Historians study objects, the materialculture that people from the pastleft behind, in order tounderstand history.Because objects are theproducts of humanworkmanshipofhuman thought andeffortobjects tellsomething about thepeople who designed,made, and used them.Sometimes objects are the only evidenceremaining from past peoples who, forvarious reasons, did not leave a writtenrecord of their lives. Some cultures didnot have a written language. Others,like many enslaved African Americansin the early 19th century, were legallyforbidden to learn to read and write. Stillother cultures placed less emphasis onthe written word and instead followedan oral tradition. In many cases, writtenevidence was not preserved. Forexample, what would we know about an18th-century harness maker if we didnthave the stitching horse and tools thathe left behind? We could only know ofhis existence through impersonal recordslike tax rolls or city directories, or throughthe possibly distorting view of a literatecontemporary who might have writtenabout him in a letter or news account.Objects alone will not tell us the wholestory, but they help us to understandparts of the story that other sourcescannot. Like other primary sources,objects must be studied carefully andcritically.ObjectsIntroduction to ObjectsSometimes objects are theonly evidence remaining frompast peoples who, for variousreasons, did not leave awritten record of their lives.Baseball Catchers MaskPirates catcher SteveNicosia used this catchers mask when he caughtduring Game Seven of the 1979 World Series. 47. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources47Objects: Strengths and Limitations Can offer clues when no written documentsexist Can give insight into a people whose languagethe researcher cannot read or speak Can give clues as to the materials that wereavailable during the time period Create a visual record through three-dimensionalfacts: size, weight, texture Provide clues about function Convey info of everyday life Tell of ideas and information which eitherare not or cannot be expressed effectivelyin writing or speech (forms, colors, effectsof visual arts; personal fantasies, idiomsof taste, unspoken significance, customs,and prejudices)Do not usually give clues to the who, what,where, why, when, how of an eventDo not always provide clues as to theirdesigner and/or ownerCannot tell us about the frequencyof their useSometimes hard to tell the intended useCannot know from a single type of object: how typical the object is of its timeor of its type whether there are parts missing whether decoration is sparse or elaboratePrimary SourceObject (artifact) An object in the historical sense is called an artifact and is somethingthat has been produced or shaped by human workmanship.StrengthsLimitations 48. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources48*If examining a picture of an object, you will not be able to answerall of these questions. Write your answers to as many questions as possible basedon what you see and what you may already know.First ImpressionsWhat are your first impressions of this object?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Do you have any idea what the object might have been used for?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Looking More CloselyPhysical Features:What is it made of?______________________________________________________________________________Why was this material chosen?______________________________________________________________________________What is the texture and color?______________________________________________________________________________What does it smell like?______________________________________________________________________________Can it be held? Is it heavy or light?______________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Objects 1of 4 49. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources49Is it intact, or does it look like parts are missing?______________________________________________________________________________Is it clean or dirty?______________________________________________________________________________Does it make a noise?______________________________________________________________________________Does it look old or new?______________________________________________________________________________Construction:Is it handmade or made by machine?______________________________________________________________________________Where was it made?______________________________________________________________________________Who made it?______________________________________________________________________________Function:How is this object used?______________________________________________________________________________Does it have a practical use or is (was) it used for pleasure?______________________________________________________________________________Has it been used? Is it still in use? Has the use changed?______________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Objects 2 of 4 50. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources50Where can it be found? Where could it have been found?______________________________________________________________________________What value does it hold to you and to others?______________________________________________________________________________Design:Is it designed well?______________________________________________________________________________Is it decorated? How is it decorated?______________________________________________________________________________Is it aesthetically pleasing?______________________________________________________________________________Would it make a good gift?______________________________________________________________________________Does it remind you of anything else?______________________________________________________________________________Who May be Connected with the Object?What type of person might have used this object?______________________________________________________________________________What type of person might have made this object?______________________________________________________________________________What does this object tell us about the maker and user?______________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Objects 3 of 4 51. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources51Thinking FurtherIs this type of object still being made today? Is it still in use?If not, why do you think it isnt used today?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Should this object be in a museum collection? Why or why not?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What questions do you have about the object that you cant answer from just looking at it?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tips for Reading Objects 4 of 4 52. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources52The most important thing to remember whenlooking for objects to use in the classroom isthat they do not have to be old to be a learningtool. You may find a contemporary object usefulin discussion of a historical topic. For example,you can use a candle to talk about eighteenth-centurylighting or tradesmen.Remember, the examination of objects is notlimited to history classes. A science class couldexamine an 18th-century lantern while learningabout the properties of light.Some great places to find objects: Yard Sales Auctions Going Out of Business Sales Antique Stores Thrift Stores Attics, Closets, and Garages Local and Regional Museums Flea Markets Storage Rooms in Schools and in Offices Historic Reproduction CompaniesAll of the online exhibitions fromthe National Museum of AmericanHistory contain a wealth of objects fromthe museums vast collections:http://www.americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/category.cfm?category=onlineThe exhibitions listed below alsocontain interactive collectionssearches:A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans andthe U. S. Constitutionhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/collection/index.htmlBon Apptit! Julia Childs Kitchen at theSmithsonianhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/juliachild/The Price of Freedom: Americans at Warhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/collection/America on the Movehttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthemove/collection/July 1942: United We Standhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/1942/search/index.aspArtificial Anatomy: Papier-Mch AnatomicalModelshttp://americanhistory.si.edu/anatomy/collection/nma03_collection_human.htmlWhere to Find Objects 53. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources53Legendary Coins and Currencyhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/coins/search.cfmSeptember 11: Bearing Witness to Historyhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/september11/collection/index.aspA Vision of Puerto Rico: The Teodoro VidalCollectionhttp://americanhistory.si.edu/vidal/collection/?en=trueOn the Water: Stories from Maritime Americahttp://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/The Museum also has a searchableonline collections database availableat:http://www.americanhistory.si.edu/collections/index.cfmThe Museums education Web siteSmithsonians History Explorer alsoincludes a collection of museum artifacts andfeatures a new object every week:http://www.historyexplorer.si.eduUnited States, JeffersonIndian Peace Medal, 1801Where to Find Objects 54. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources54ObjectiveStudents are fascinated by objects. Historicobjects are real pieces of the past that exist inthe present. We can look at them and touchthem. Even the use of historically accuratereproductions in your classroom will stimulatestudents to look at everyday objects in anew way.Everybody can read objects. Object-basedlearning is not age-specificstudents of anyreading level and at most stages of cognitivedevelopment can look at objects and drawconclusions. It is an easy skill to learn, but onethat can take a lifetime to master. The studyof objects can be especially beneficial forEnglish Language Learners, or those withlearning disabilities.After completing this activity, students will beable to identify and assess the strengths andweaknesses of using objects as primarysources and analyze an historical photographfor factual information.Time50 minutesSkillsAnalyzing objects as primary sourcesGradesK12Content AreaUnited States History, Colonial America,Eighteenth-Century, Domestic, and Home Life,Social HistoryMaterials Pencil or pen A piece of paper Image of the 18th-century fat lamp Introduction to Objects Objects: Strengths and Limitations Chart Tips for Reading ObjectsAnalyzing Objects Activity:An 18th-Century Fat Lamp 55. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources55National Center for History in theSchools StandardsHistorical Thinking:Grades K4:Standard 4B: Obtain historical data from avariety of sourcesStandard 4C: Interrogate historical data.Grades 5-12:Standard 4B: Obtain historical data from avariety of sourcesStandard 4C: Interrogate historical data.Historical Content:Grades K4:Topic One: Standard 1A:The student understands family lifenow and in the recent past; familylife in various places long ago.Grades 512:Era 2: Colonization and Settlement15851763Era 3: Revolution and the New Nation17541820sDirections1. Read and discuss the Introduction toObjects page from this guide togetheras a class.2. Divide the class into groups of three orfour students.3. On a sheet of paper, have each groupbrainstorm the strengths and weaknesses ofusing objects as primary sources.4. Have each group report their thoughts outto the class. Write the results for the entireclass to see.5. Hand out the Objects: Strengths andLimitations Chart. As a class, compare itto the student-generated list of strengthsand limitations.6. Project the image of the fat lamp for theentire class to see, or give each group aphotocopy of the image to look at. It isimportant that the students do not knowfind out what the object is until the end ofthe activity.7. Give each group a copy of the Tips forReading Objects and have them answer allof the questions except for the ThinkingFurther section of the Tips sheet whileanalyzing the image of the fat lamp.Asking the students to record their firstimpressions is important because this showshow previous knowledge, experiencesand personal bias can affect the analysis ofprimary sources.Analyzing Objects Activity:An 18th-Century Fat Lamp 56. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources568. After the groups are finished with theiranalysis, discuss their answers as a class.9. Finally, ask the class what they think theobject is.10. Discuss the answers as a class and comparethe students answers to the informationgiven in the Background Information forTeachers (p. 57).11. Either individually or as a class, have thestudents answer the Thinking Furthersection of the Tips Sheet.12. You may also want to give each student acopy of the Introduction to Objects page,the Objects: Strengths and LimitationsChart and the Tips for Reading Objectsfor their notebooks or files so they can usethem as references later.Modified Activities If you have limited time, it is possible to skipthe brainstorming section of the activity(steps 3 and 4). For younger students, a simplified activity caninclude looking at the image of the lamp asa class and asking modified versions of thequestions on the tip sheet that are moreappropriate for the age group.Extension ActivityWhat is it? One of the best places to findobjects is at home. You can extend this lesson byasking your students to scavenge their homes tofind an object they dont think their classmateswill recognize. Have the class examine theobjects using the Tips for Reading Objects, andtry to figure out what they are.Analyzing Objects Activity:An 18th-Century Fat Lamp 57. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources57Background Information forTeachersIn the 18th century, before the widespread useof whale oil lamps, fat lamps were commonlyused as task lighting in homes and workshopsin colonial America. Although these lamps weredim by modern standards, they were convenientfor many families, and remained in servicethroughout much of the 19th century, especiallyin rural areas. They could burn materials thatwere readily available, such as tallow, lard, animalfat, fish or whale oil, or even kitchen grease.Usually made of iron or tinplate, fat lamps tookmany forms, including those with pear-shapedbowls that were called crusies.Fuel was placed in the lamp and a wick, madeof twisted cloth, moss, or any material capableof capillary action, lay in the oil with only thetip exposed at the point of the lamp. Excess oilfrom the wick made a mess by running overthe point and dripping off the bottom of thelamp. The small wire wick-holder present onthe Choate house lamp reduced this messyproblem by keeping the wick away from theedge of the lamp, so that excess oil woulddrip back into the bowl to be reused. A hookattached to the handle on the back of the lampcould be used to hang the lamp from a wall orthe back of a chair. This hook could also serve asa wickpick to expose just enough wick abovethe surface of the oil to give maximum light witha minimum amount of smoking.For more information, go to theseWeb sites:http://americanhistory.si.edu/house/families/choates.asphttp://www.ramshornstudio.com/early_lighting_2.htmhttp://www.wilsonmuseum.org/bulletins/summer2003_2.htmlAnalyzing Objects Activity:An 18th-Century Fat Lamp 58. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources58Analyzing Objects Activity:An 18th-Century Fat LampFat Lamp, 17501800 59. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources59General Sources on Primary Sourcesand Historical MethodologyCommager, H. S., and Muesig, R. H. The Study and Teaching of History. Columbus: Charles E. Merrill,1980.Garner, Peter. The Role of Education in Live ExhibitsWhat do Schools Want? Journal of BiologicalCuration: 3/4, 199192: 514.Hooper-Greenhill, Eilean, ed. Learning from Learning Theory in Museums. GEM News, 55,Autumn, 1994: 711.Johnson, Anna. The Museum Educators Manual: Educators Share Successful Techniques. Walnut Creek:Alta Mira Press, 2008.Katz, Theodore H. Museums and Schools: Partners in Teaching: The Philadelphia Museum. Philadelphia:U. of Penn Publications, 1984.Levstik, L. S. Teaching History: A Definitional and Developmental Dilemma. in Elementary SocialStudies: Research as a Guide to Practice. Bulletin 79, p 6884. Washington, D.C.: National Council forthe Social Studies, 1986.Marshall, Jody. Collecting Their Thoughts: Museum Resources for Student Writing. Washington, D.C.:Office of Education, Smithsonian Institution, 1994.Vest, Kathleen. Using Primary Sources in the Classroom. Upper Saddle River: Shell Education, 2007.Bibliography andWeb Sites FeaturingPrimary Sources 60. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources60DocumentsKobrin, David. Beyond the Textbook: Teaching History Using Documents and Primary Sources.Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1996.National Archives And Records Administration. Teaching With Documents: Using Primary Sources fromthe National Archives. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration Trust FundBoard, 1989.Nichols, Susan K., ed. Working Papers: Historians, Artifacts, Learners. Washington, D.C.: SmithsonianPublications, 1982.Parsons, William, and Monica Fairbairn. A Joint Venture in Teaching African American History. Journal of Museum Education. Washington, D.C., 17(1). Winter 1992, 68.Ravitch, Dianne, ed. The American Reader: Words that Moved a Nation. New York: Harper Perennial,1991.Stevens, Michael E., and Steven Burg. Editing Historical Documents: A Handbook of Practice. Nashville:American Association for State and Local History, 1997.Strickland, Eric, and David W. Van Cleaf. Classroom Curators. Social Studies, 76 no 2. March-April1985: 801.PhotographsBull, Glenn L. Teaching with Digital Images: Acquire, Analyze, Create, Communicate. ISTE, 2005.Collier, John, Jr. Visual Anthropology: Photography as a Research Method. New York: Holt, Reinhart andWinston, 1967.Fleischauer, Carl, and Beverly W. Brannan, eds. Documenting America 19351943. Berkeley: Universityof California Press in Association with the Library of Congress, 1988.Trachtenberg, Alan. Reading American Photographs: Images as History, Matthew Brady to Walker Evans.New York: Hill and Wang, 1989.Bibliography and Web SitesFeaturing Primary Sources 61. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources61Oral HistoriesBaum, Willa K. Oral History for the Local Historical Society. Nashville: American Association for Stateand Local History, 1977.. Transcribing and Editing Oral History. Nashville: American Association for State and LocalHistory, 1981.Dunaway, David, and Willa K. Baum, eds. Oral History: An Interdisciplinary Anthology. Nashville:American Association for State and Local History in cooperation with the Oral History Association,1984.Fletcher, W. Recording Your Family History: A Guide to Preserving Oral History with Videotape, Audiotape,Suggested Topics and Questions, Interviews Techniques. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1986.Key, Betty Mckeever. Alternatives to Teaching Oral History Interviews. History News. August 1990.Lanman, Barry A and Laura M. Wendling, eds. Preparing the Next Generation of Oral Historians:An Anthology of Oral History Education. Walnut Creek: Alta Mira Press, 2006.Mchaffy, George L. , Thad Sitton, and O. L. Davis, Jr. Oral History in the Classroom, How to Do itSeries (Series 2, No. 8). National Council for the Social Studies, 1979.Schopes, Linda. Using Oral History For a Family History Project. Technical Leaflet 123. Nashville:American Association for State and Local History, 1978.Whitman, Glenn. Dialogue with the Past: Engaging Students and Meeting Standards through Oral History.Walnut Creek: Alta Mira Press, 2004.Yow, Valerie Raleigh. Recording Oral History: A Practical Guide for Social Scientists. Nashville AmericanAssociation for State and Local History, 1994.Zimmerman, Bill. How to Tape Instant Oral Biographies. New York: Bantam Books, 1992.Bibliography and Web SitesFeaturing Primary Sources 62. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources62ObjectsAlvarado, Amy Edmunds, and Partricia R. Herr. Inquiry-Based Learning Using Everyday Objects: Hands-On Instructional Strategies That Promote Active Learning in Grades 3-8. New York: Corwin Press, 2003.Durbin, Gail, and Susan Morris et al. A Teachers Guide to Learning from Objects. English Heritage,1990.Marconi, R. Using Objects: Visual Learning in the Museum and Classroom. New York: Von NorstrandReinhold, 1974.Schlereth, Thomas J. Artifacts and the American Past. Nashville: American Association for State andLocal History, 1980.. Material Cultural Studies in America. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History,1982.Web Sites Featuring Primary SourcesNational Museum of American Historyhttp://www.americanhistory.si.edu/http://www.historyexplorer.si.eduLibrary of Congresshttp://www.memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.htmlThis site that contains everything from photographs to documents to dance manuals.National Archives and Records Administrationhttp://www.archives.gov/The premiere repository for national documents includes an extensive collectionvariety of sources from Americas history.Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovationhttp://invention.smithsonian.org/resources/MIND_about.aspxBibliography and Web SitesFeaturing Primary Sources 63. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources63National Museum of American Arthttp://americanart.si.edu/The Web site includes various paintings, including American Indians by George Catlin,and photographs. It features advertisements for cars and phones.Learning Page of the Library of Congress: Lesson Ideashttp://learning.loc.gov/learn/lesson.htmlValley of the Shadowhttp://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/vshadow2/Features an extensive collection of primary sources relating to the years precedingand during the Civil War.Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritagehttp://www.folklife.si.edu/The Web site includes guidelines from Smithsonian folklorists on collecting folkloreand oral history.The Avalon Project at the Yale Law Schoolhttp://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.aspThis resource for teachers and students is for those who are interested in locating,reading, and researching important primary source documents that have had animpact on American history and political thought.Bibliography and Web SitesFeaturing Primary Sources 64. SmithsonianNational Museum of American HistoryKenneth E. Behring CenterEngaging Students with Primary Sources64National Museum of American HistoryRichard DotyRayna GreenTim GrovePaula J. JohnsonCatherine KeenKennith R. KimeryCarrie KotchoNancy McCoyPaul MolholmHoward MorrisonHeather Paisley-JonesShannon Thomas PerichJenny WeiWilliam H. YeingstPublications DesignEvins DesignEngaging Students with Primary SourcesCredits

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