Best U.S. History Web Sites

Sep 22, 2019

Library of Congress

An outstanding and valuable site for American history and general research. Contains primary and secondary files, displays, map collections, prints and photographs, audio recordings and motion pictures. The Library of Congress American Memory Historical Collections, a must-see, comprises the majority of digitalized substances, but the Exhibitions Gallery is enticing and informative as well. The Library of Congress also offers a Learning Page that provides activities, tools, ideas, and attributes for teachers and students.
The Library of Congress American Memory in particular is a superb resource for American history and general research. Included are multimedia collections of photos, recorded sound, moving pictures, and digitized text. Utilize the Teachers section to research main set collections and themed resources. Teachers can get updates on new programs, professional development opportunities, and Library programs, events and services.
The Library of Congress: Teachers
The new Library of Congress Teachers page provides resources and tools for using Library of Congress primary source documents from the classroom and contain exceptional lesson plans, record analysis tools, offline and online tasks, timelines, presentations and professional development tools.
Center for History and New Media: History Matters
A Creation of the American Social History Project/Center of Media and Learning, City of University New York, and the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, History Matters is a wonderful online resource for history teachers and pupils. Among the numerous digital tools are lesson plans, syllabi, links, and displays. The middle for History and New Media’s resources include a listing of”best” web sites, links to syllabi and lesson plans, essays on history and new websites, a link for their excellent History Topics web site for U.S. History, and more. The CHNM History News Network is a weekly web-based magazine which features articles by various historians. Resources are designed to benefit professional historians, high school instructors, and students of history.
Teaching American History
This is a fantastic assortment of thoughtful and comprehensive lesson plans and other resources on teaching history. Each project was created by teachers in Virginia at a Center for History and New Media workshop. All projects include a variety of lesson plans and resources, and some even provide instructional videos on supply evaluation. The lesson plans cover a range of subjects in American history and use interesting and engaging resources, activities, discussion questions, and assessments. Take your time surfing –you will find many to select from.
National Archives and Records Administration
The NARA offers federal archives, exhibits, classroom resources, census records, Hot Topics, and much more. In addition to its newspaper holdings (which would show the Earth 57 days ) it has more than 3.5 billion digital records. Users can research individuals, places, events as well as other popular themes of interest, as well as ancestry and military records. There are also features exhibits drawing from many of the NARA’s popular sources. One of the most asked holdings are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, WWII photographs, along with the Bill of Rights.
The National Archives: Teachers’ Resources
The National Archives Lesson Plans section contains incorporates U.S. main files and its exceptional teaching tasks correlate to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. Courses are organized by chronological age, from 1754 to the present.
Digital Vaults
The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults is an interactive exploration of background that assesses thousands of documents, photographs, and parts of history that were incorporated in an electronic format. Upon going into the homepage, the consumer is given eight random archives to choose from. Clicking on one provides a description and a brief record of the archive, in addition to exhibits a large assortment of archives that are similar. The consumer has the ability to shuffle, rearrange, gather, and explore archives, in addition to search for certain points in history using a key word search. Although a lack of initial organization or index might seem overpowering, Digital Vaults is a wonderfully imaginative source for investigating history in a digitally compiled manner.
Teach Documents With DocsTeach, teachers can create interactive history activities that incorporate over 3,000 primary-source materials in a variety of media from the National Archives. Tools on the website are made to teach critical thinking skills and incorporate interactive components such as puzzles, maps, and graphs.
Our Documents Offers 100 milestone documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, and drawn primarily from its nationwide holdings, which chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965. Features a teacher’s toolbox and competitions for teachers and students.
PBS Online
A fantastic source for advice on a myriad of historic events and personalities. PBS’s assorted and diverse web displays supplement their tv show and normally include a list of every incident, interviews (often with sound bites), a timeline, primary sources, a glossary, photos, maps, and links to pertinent websites. PBS productions include American Experience, Frontline and People’s Century. Proceed to the PBS Teacher Source for lessons and activities — arranged by subject.
PBS Teacher Resource Proceed to the PBS Teacher Source for lessons and activities — organized by subject and grade level — and then sign up for their newsletter. Categories include American History, World History, History on Television, and Biographies. Many lessons include primary sources. Some courses require watching PBS video, but many do not.
Smithsonian Education
The Smithsonian Education website is divided only into three chief categories: Educators, Families, and Students. The Educators section is keyword searchable and includes lesson plans — many pertaining to background. The Students section features an interactive”Keys of the Smithsonian” that teaches about the special collections at the Smithsonian.
The Cost of Freedom: Americans at War
This Smithsonian website skillfully integrates Flash video and text to analyze armed conflicts between the U.S. in the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq. Each battle includes a brief video clip, statistical information, and a set of artifacts. There is also a Civil War puzzle, an exhibition self-guide, and a teacher’s guide. The New American Roles (1899-present) segment includes an introductory movie and brief essay on the battle in addition to historic images and artifacts.
Edsitement — The Best of the Humanities on the Internet EDSITEment is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Humanities, Verizon Foundation, and the National Trust for the Humanities. All websites linked to EDSITEment have been reviewed for content, design, and educational impact in the classroom. This impressive site features reviewed links to top sites, professionally developed lesson plans, classroom activities, materials to help with daily classroom planning, and search engines. You are able to search lesson plans by subcategory and grade level; center school courses are the most numerous.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
There’s a lot of excellent material for art students, educators, and fans at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art web site. Start with the Metropolitan Museum of Art Timeline of Art History, a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from across the world. Each timeline page includes representative art from the Museum’s collection, a chart of time intervals, a map of the region, an overview, and a listing of key events. The timelines — accompanied by regional, world, and sub-regional maps — provide a linear outline of art history, and allow visitors to compare and contrast art from across the globe at any time ever. There is plenty more here besides the Timeline:”Just for Fun” has interactive activities for kids,”A Closer Look” assesses the”hows and whys” behind Met objects (such as George Washington Crossing the Delaware),”Artist” enables visitors to get biographical stuff on a choice of artists as well as general information regarding their work, and”Themes and Cultures” presents past and present cultures with special attributes on the Met’s collections and displays.
C-SPAN from the Classroom
Access C-SPAN’s complete program archives containing all videos. C-SPAN in the Classroom is a free membership service that offers advice and tools to aid educators in their use of source, public events movie out of C-SPAN television. You don’t need to be a member to utilize C-SPAN online tools in your classroom, but also membership includes entry to teaching ideas, activities and classroom applications.
Digital History
This impressive site from Steven Mintz at the University of Houston comes with an up-to-date U.S. history textbook; annotated primary sources on United States, Mexican American, and Native American history, and slavery; and succinct essays on the history of ethnicity and immigration, film, private life, and science and technology. Visual histories of Lincoln’s America and America’s Reconstruction include text by Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney. The Doing History feature lets users reconstruct the past through the voices of kids, gravestones, advertisements, and other primary sources. Reference resources include classroom handouts, chronologies, encyclopedia articles, glossaries, and an audio-visual archive including speeches, book discussions and e-lectures by historians, and historical maps, music, newspaper articles, and images. The site’s Ask the HyperHistorian feature allows users to pose questions to professional historians.
Civil Rights Special Collection
The Teachers’ Domain Civil Rights Collection is Made by WGBH Boston, in partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Washington University at St. Louis. Materials are free but you must sign up. Features an impressive selection of audio, video, and text sources out of Frontline and American Experience shows, Eyes on the Prize, along with other sources. Also offers an interactive Civil Rights movement deadline and four lesson plans: Campaigns for Economic Freedom/Re-Examining Brown/Taking a Stand/Understanding White Supremacy.
Science and Technology of World War II
Some of the most remarkable technology improvements of the modern age happened during World War II along with the National World War II Memorial has 8000 objects directly related to science and engineering. This impressive display contains an animated timeline, actions (such as sending encoded messages), expert audio responses to science and engineering questions, lesson plans, a quiz, essays, and much more. An impressive presentation.
Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008
Voting America examines long-term patterns in presidential election politics in the USA in the 1840s to now in addition to some patterns lately congressional election politics. The project delivers a vast spectrum of interactive and animated visualizations of the way Americans voted in elections within the last 168 decades. The visualizations can be used to explore individual elections past the state level down to individual counties, allowing for more complex analysis. The interactive maps emphasize exactly how important third parties have played in Western political history. You could also find expert analysis and comment videos that discuss a few of the most interesting and important trends in American political history.
Do History: Martha Ballard
DoHistory invites you to explore the process of piecing together the lives of ordinary people previously. It’s an experimental, interactive case study based on the study that went into the book and PBS film A Midwife’s Tale, which were both based upon the remarkable 200 year old diary of midwife/healer Martha Ballard. There are thousands of downloadable pages from original documents: diaries, maps, letters, court records, town records, and more and a searchable copy of the twenty-seven year diary of Martha Ballard. DoHistory engages users interactively with historic artifacts and documents from the past and introduces people to the critical questions and problems raised when”doing” history. DoHistory was designed and preserved by the Film Study Center at Harvard University and is hosted and maintained by the Middle for History and New Media, George Mason University.
The Valley of the Shadows The Valley of the Shadow depicts two communities, 1 Northern and one Southern, through the experience of the American Civil War. The project focuses on Augusta County, Virginia and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and it presents a hypermedia archive of thousands of resources that creates a social history of their forthcoming, fighting, and aftermath of the Civil War. Those sources include newspapers, letters, diaries, photographs, maps, church records, population census, agricultural census, and military records. Students may explore the conflict and write their own histories or reconstruct the life stories of girls, African Americans, farmers, politicians, soldiers, and families. The project is meant for secondary schools, community colleges, libraries, and universities.
Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704
The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association/Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, Massachusetts has established a rich and impressive site that focuses on the 1704 raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, with the goal of commemorating and reinterpreting the event from the viewpoints of all the cultural groups who were current — Mohawk, Abenaki, Huron, French, and English. The website brings together many resources — historic scenes, tales of people’s lives, historic artifacts and papers, essays, voices and songs, historical maps, along with a deadline — to illuminate broad and rival perspectives with this spectacular event.
Lewis and Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition
The Missouri Historical Society has developed an extensive award-winning website and on-line program designed to complement their own Lewis and Clark, The National Bicentinnal Exhibiton. Written for grades 4-12, the units concentrate on nine important topics of the exhibit and feature tens of thousands of primary sources in the display. The program uses the Lewis and Clark expedition as the case studies for bigger themes like Diplomacy, Mapping, Animals, Language, and Trade and Property. It presents both the Euro-American perspective and a distinct Native American perspective. The internet display has two segments. One is a thematic approach that highlights the content in the main galleries of this display. The other is a map-based journey which follows the expedition and introduces main sources along the way, such as interviews with present-day Native Americans.
The Sport of Life and Death
The Sport of Life and Death has been voted Best Site for 2002 by Museums and the Web and has won a ton of other internet awards. The site is based on a traveling exhibition currently showing at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey and bills itself as”an online travel into the ancient spectacle of gods and athletes.” The Sport of Life and Death features amazing special effects owing to Macromedia Flash technologies and its general design and organization are excellent. There are useful interactive maps, timelines, and samples of art in the Explore the Mesoamerican World section. The attention of the website, however, is that the Mesoamerican ballgame, the oldest organized sport ever. The sport is explained through a gorgeous and engaging combination of text, images, expert commentary, and movie. Visitors can even compete in a competition!
The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory
A top notch exhibition created by the Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University. There are two major components: the background of Chicago in the 19th century, and also how the Chicago Fire was remembered over time. Included are essays, galleries, and sources.
Technology at the U.S. History in the Classroom
Here are some creative, engaging and technology-infused lessons & web sites on U.S. History:
“Day in Life of Hobo” podcast
This interdisciplinary creative writing/historical simulation action incorporates blogging and podcasting and calls on students to research the plight of displaced teenagers during the Great Depression and then create their own fictionalized account of a day in the life of a Hobo. This project is going to probably be included in the spring edition of Social Education, published by the National Council of Social Studies.
“Telling Their Stories” — Oral History Archive Project of the Urban School
Visit”Telling Their Stories” and read, see, and listen to perhaps the best student-created oral history project at the nation. High School students in the Urban School of San Francisco have generated three notable oral history interviews featured at this website: Holocaust Survivors and Refugees, World War II Camp Liberators, and Japanese-American Internees. Urban school students conducted, filmed, and transcribed interviews, created hundreds of movie files associated with each transcript, and then posted the full-text, full-video interviews on the public site. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has acknowledged Urban School’s Telling Their Stories project with a Top Edge Recognition award for excellence in technology integration. Teachers interested in conducting an oral history project can contact Urban School technology manager Howard Levin and should think about attending his summer teacher workshop.
Student News Action Network
This student-produced current events diary includes contributions from around the globe and is led by five student-bureaus: The American School of Doha, Bishops Diocesan College, International School Bangkok, International School of Luxembourg, along with Washington International School. The pupils have adopted the free Ning platform and far-flung pupils work collaboratively to create an interactive, multimedia-rich, and student-driven online newspaper.
“Great Debate of 2008″
Tom Daccord created a wiki and a private online social network for the”Great Debate of 2008” project, a student exploration and discussion of candidates and issues enclosing the 2008 presidential elections. The job connected pupils across the country at a wiki and a personal online social network to share ideas and information related to the 2008 presidential elections. Students post advice on campaign issues into the wiki and partake in online discussions and survey with different students in the personal online social networking.
The Flat Classroom Project
The award-winning Flat Classroom job brings together large school and middle school students from around the globe to explore the notions presented in Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat. These collaborative endeavors harness the most powerful Web 2.0 tools available including wikis, online social networks, digital storytelling, podcasts, social bookmarking, and more.

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