The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Teachers’ Night 2012
Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website.
Last Friday, over two thousand teachers visited the Smithsonian's Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture for the Smithsonian's annual Teachers' Night. This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the event and primary, secondary, and homeschool teachers attended from across the nation. Representatives around the Institution joined in the festivities to provide teachers with materials, lesson plans, and other fun giveaways, to help promote educational resources at the Smithsonian. Also, this year, Smithsonian Affiliates including NASA and George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, and Gardens, participated. The Smithsonian Instution Archives (SIA) paired up with the Field Book Project and gave away postcards with information about our education resource package on primary source documents. SIA's education materials include resources on the Civil War, "Snowflake" Bentley, the Wright Brothers, and the architecture of the Castle, to name just a few. The Field Book project has a great lesson on scientific observation, providing yet another great lesson plan for teachers to utilize.
The most exciting element of the evening was getting the chance to talk to educators and learning how they could use our material. Some teachers were excited to look at the lesson plans we have online; while others were pleased to see that we had a host of our primary sources available for them to integrate into their own lesson plans. Other teachers had a more unique vision of how our materials might come in handy. One teacher took a host of postcards for her class to send to their penpals in China. Several art teachers took the postcards to use in the classrooms. However the teachers decide to use our materials is just fine by us. We just want it out there and hope that it can bring some interesting activities and lessons to their classrooms.
- Smithsonian Education - The gateway to Smithsonian educational resources, Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
- Teachers’ Night, Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
- Education Materials for K-12 Teachers, Smithsonian Institution Archives