Exterior View of the Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle, 1885, by the United States National Museum Photographic Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 11-007, Image no. MNH-2889.

Distance Learning Activities and Tips from the Archives

Whether you have a little downtime or you wish you remembered what downtime was like, the Archives is here for you with a few distance learning activities and preservation tips. 

Whether you have a little downtime or you wish you remembered what downtime was like before you were home with the kids, the Archives is here for you with a few distance learning activities and preservation tips.

Need a few extra activities to keep the kiddos learning and busy? Teach them about primary sources using our collections.

Exerpt from the diary about Abraham Lincoln being shot. The Henry family awoke to the news the next

    • Dive into the fun with Smithsonian’s Transcription Center, where you might join a group of volunpeers to make our collections more discoverable to researchers. Every week, we add more projects that include diaries, curators’ reports, meeting minutes, field books, and more.

    • You might also find creative inspiration in the collections you can now download, transform, and reuse with the newly-launched Smithsonian Open Access portal.

Pause, take a deep breath, and relax with some coloring activities. These could be for children and/or their grownups.

    • Learn your way around the Smithsonian Institution Building, also known as "The Castle," in the nineteenth century by coloring each room. The library and reading room are obviously our favorites!

    • Even though we’re embracing the spring weather, let it snow with a fun coloring activity featuring a couple of Wilson A. Bentley’s snowflake photographs in our collections.

      Page from a coloring activitity of rooms in the Smithsonian Castle. This one is of the library.

And if you have a little downtime and are looking to get organized, we have a few ideas.

    • Make time to preserve some of your family treasures. Our preservation coordinator shared tips about what to keep, where to keep it, and how to arrange it.

    • Sometimes, those family treasures might look like digital photos on old cameras or your phone. Get pointers from a digital archivist about how to organize, name, and preserve those memories.

    • And other times, they are physical photographs trapped in scrapbooks that need a little TLC. Conservator Nora Lockshin shared a brief guide about how you might organize and document your family photos.

    • One more way to save those family memories is by recording the voices of the sources themselves. Smithsonian’s historian shared advice about conducting oral history interviews.

 Acid-free boxes in various shapes and sizes on a table.

    • If you’re striving to reach inbox zero, check out these tips about taking control of your email account.

    • And get prepared for when we’re back in action in the reading room with these tips from a reference archivist about the best ways to reach out to us so that you can help us help you.

We miss you, and we wish you and your families health and safety. If you have any questions for us at the Archives, please leave a comment below

*The Archives will continue to add any new activities to this post.*

Produced by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. For copyright questions, please see the Terms of Use.