Best U.S. History Web Sites

Library of Congress

An outstanding and invaluable site for American history and general studies. Contains primary and secondary files, exhibits, map sets, prints and photos, sound recordings and motion pictures. The Library of Congress American Memory Historical Collections, a must-see, comprises the majority of digitalized materials, but the Exhibitions Gallery is enticing and informative as well. The Library of Congress also offers a Learning Page that provides tools, activities, 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 images, and text that is unread. Utilize the Teachers section to explore primary set collections and themed tools. Teachers can get updates on new tools, professional development opportunities, and Library programs, events and services.
The Library of Congress: Teachers
The new Library of Congress Teachers page provides tools and resources to using Library of Congress primary source records from the classroom and include exceptional lesson plans, document analysis tools, online and offline activities, timelines, presentations and professional development tools.
Center for History and New Media: History Matters
A Creation of this 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 an Excellent online resource for history teachers and pupils. Among the numerous digital resources are lesson plans, syllabi, links, and exhibits. The middle for History and New Media’s tools include a listing of”best” internet sites, links to syllabi and lesson plans, essays on history and new media, a link to their excellent History Topics web site for U.S. History, and much more. The CHNM History News Network is a weekly online magazine that features articles by several historians. Resources are designed to benefit specialist historians, higher school instructors, and students of the history.
Teaching American History
This is a fantastic collection of thoughtful and thorough lesson plans and other resources on teaching history. Each job Was Made by educators in Virginia in a Center for History and New Media workshop. All projects include many different lesson plans and resources, and some even offer instructional videos on supply evaluation. The lesson plans cover a variety of topics in American history and use interesting and engaging resources, activities, discussion questions, and assessments. Take your time browsing–there are many to choose from.
National Archives and Records Administration
The NARA delivers national archives, displays, classroom tools, census records, Hot Topics, and more. In addition to its newspaper holdings (which would show the Earth 57 times) it’s more than 3.5 billion digital records. Users can research people, locations, events and other popular topics of interest, in addition to ancestry and military records. Additionally, there are features displays drawing from a lot of the NARA’s favorite sources. One of the most requested holdings are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, WWII photos, and the Bill of Rights.
The National Archives: Teachers’ Resources
The National Archives Lesson Plans section contains incorporates U.S. primary files and its exceptional teaching activities correlate to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. Lessons 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 examines thousands of documents, photos, and parts of history that were incorporated in an electronic format. Upon entering the homepage, the consumer is given eight arbitrary archives to choose from. Clicking on one will give a description along with a brief record of the archive, as well as exhibits a large variety of similar archives. The consumer has the ability to shuffle, rearrange, gather, and explore archives, as well as search for certain points in history using a keyword search. Although too little initial organization or indicator might seem overwhelming, Digital Vaults is a superbly imaginative source for investigating history in a digitally compiled way.
Teach Documents With DocsTeach, educators can create interactive history activities that incorporate over 3,000 primary-source substances in a variety of media in the National Archives. Tools on the website are made to teach critical thinking skills and integrate interactive elements 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, that chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965. Attributes a teacher’s toolbox and competitions for students and teachers.
PBS Online
A fantastic resource for information on a myriad of historic events and characters. PBS’s assorted and varied web exhibits supplement their tv series and normally include a list of every episode, interviews (often with sound bites), a timeline, primary sources, a glossary, photos, maps, and links to relevant websites. PBS productions include American Experience, Frontline and People’s Century. Proceed to the PBS Teacher Source for lessons and activities — organized by topic.
PBS Teacher Source Go to the PBS Teacher Source for lessons and activities — arranged by topic and grade level — and then sign up for their newsletter. Categories include American History, World History, History on Television, and Biographies. Many lessons incorporate primary sources. Some courses require viewing PBS video, but many do not.
Smithsonian Education
The Smithsonian Education website is divided only into three chief classes: Educators, Families, and Students. The Educators section is keyword searchable and features lesson programs — lots of pertaining to background. The Students section comes with an interactive”Keys of the Smithsonian” that educates about the special collections at the Smithsonian.
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
This Smithsonian website skillfully integrates Flash video and text to examine armed conflicts involving the U.S. in the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq. Each battle contains a brief video clip, statistical information, and a set of artifacts. There is also a Civil War mystery, an exhibition self-guide, and a teacher’s guide. The New American Roles (1899-present) segment includes an introductory film and brief essay on the battle in addition to historic images and artifacts.
Edsitement — The Best of the Humanities on the Web EDSITEment is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Humanities, Verizon Foundation, and the National Trust for the Humanities. All sites 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 can search lesson plans by subcategory and grade level; middle school courses are the most numerous.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
There’s much quality material for art students, teachers, and fans at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art web site. Begin 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 incorporates representative art from the Museum’s collection, a chart of time intervals, a map of the area, a summary, and a listing of important events. The timelines — accompanied by world, regional, and sub-regional maps — supply a linear outline of art history, and permit people 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 children,”A Closer Look” assesses the”hows and whys” behind Met objects (such as George Washington Crossing the Delaware),”Artist” enables visitors to access biographical materials on a choice of artists in addition to general details regarding their job, and”Topics and Cultures” presents past and current cultures with special attributes on the Met’s collections and exhibitions.
C-SPAN in the Classroom
Access C-SPAN’s complete app archives containing all videos. C-SPAN in the Classroom is a free membership service that features advice and tools to aid teachers in their use of source, public affairs video out of C-SPAN television. You don’t need to be a member to utilize C-SPAN online resources in your classroom, but membership includes access to teaching ideas, tasks 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 resources on United States, Mexican American, and Native American background, and slavery; and succinct essays about the background of ethnicity and immigration, movie, personal life, and science and engineering. Visual histories of Lincoln’s America and America’s Reconstruction contain text from Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney. The Doing Background feature lets users rebuild 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 lets users 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 register. Features an impressive selection of sound, video, and text sources from Frontline and American Experience reveals, Eyes on the Prize, and other resources. Also offers an interactive Civil Rights movement deadline and four lesson plans: Campaigns for Financial Freedom/Re-Examining Brown/Taking a Stand/Understanding White Supremacy.
Science and Technology of World War II
One of the most impressive technology advancements of the modern age occurred during World War II along with the National World War II Memorial has 8000 objects directly linked to science and engineering. This impressive display contains an animated timeline, actions (such as sending encrypted messages), expert audio responses to science and technology questions, lesson plans, a quiz, essays, and more. An impressive presentation.
Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008
Voting America examines long-term patterns in presidential election politics in the United States from the 1840s to today in addition to several patterns in recent congressional election politics. The job offers a vast spectrum of animated and interactive visualizations of the way Americans voted in elections within the last 168 years. The visualizations may be used to research individual elections past the state level down to different counties, which allows for more sophisticated analysis. The interactive maps highlight just how significant third parties have played in Western political history. You could also find expert analysis and commentary videos that share some of the most intriguing and significant trends in American political history.
Do History: Martha Ballard
DoHistory invites you to explore the process of piecing together the lives of regular men and women in the past. It’s an experimental, interactive case study based on the research 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, letters, maps, court records, town records, and much more as well as a searchable copy of this twenty-seven year diary of Martha Ballard. DoHistory engages users interactively with historic artifacts and documents from the past and introduces people to the pivotal questions and issues raised when”doing” history. DoHistory was developed and preserved by the Film Study Center at Harvard University and is hosted and maintained by the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University.
The Valley of the Shadows The Valley of the Shadow depicts two communities, one Northern and one Southern, through the experience of the American Civil War. The project targets Augusta County, Virginia and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and it poses a hypermedia archive of thousands of resources that makes a social history of their coming, fighting, and aftermath of the Civil War. These 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 rebuild the life stories of women, African Americans, farmers, politicians, soldiers, and families. The project is meant for secondary schools, community schools, 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 website that concentrates on the 1704 raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, with the goal of commemorating and reinterpreting the event from the perspectives of all of the cultural groups who were current — Mohawk, Abenaki, Huron, French, and English. The website brings together many resources — historical scenes, stories of people’s lives, historical artifacts and papers, essays, voices and songs, historical maps, and a deadline — to light broad and competing 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 developed to match their own Lewis and Clark, The National Bicentinnal Exhibiton. Written for grades 4-12, the units concentrate on nine important themes of the exhibit and feature hundreds of primary sources in the exhibit. The program uses the Lewis and Clark expedition as case studies for bigger themes like Diplomacy, Mapping, Animals, Language, and Trade and Property. It presents both the Euro-American perspective and a particular Native American standpoint. The online exhibit has two segments. One is a thematic approach that highlights the material from the main galleries of the exhibit. The other is a map-based travel that follows the expedition and introduces primary sources along the way, such as interviews with present-day Native Americans.
The Sport of Life and Death
The Sport of Life and Death was voted Best Site for 2002 by the Internet and has won a ton of other web awards. The website is based on a traveling exhibition now showing at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey and bills itself as”an internet travel to the ancient spectacle of gods and athletes.” The Sport of Life and Death features amazing special effects courtesy of Macromedia Flash technology and its overall layout and organization are excellent. There are useful interactive maps, timelines, and samples of art in the Explore the Mesoamerican World section. The focus of the site, however, is that the Mesoamerican ballgame, the oldest organized sport in history. The game is clarified through a gorgeous and engaging combination of images, text, expert commentary, and video. Visitors can even compete in a competition!
The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory
A first-rate exhibition created by the Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University. There are two major components: the history of Chicago in the 19th century, and also how the Chicago Fire has been remembered over time. Included are essays, galleries, and even sources.
Tech 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 requires students to research the plight of homeless teenagers through the Great Depression and then create their own fictionalized account of a day in the life span 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
See”Telling Their Stories” and read, see, and listen to possibly the best student-created oral history project at the country. High School students in the Urban School of San Francisco have generated three impressive oral history interviews featured at this site: Holocaust Survivors and Refugees, World War II Camp Liberators, and Japanese-American Internees. Urban school students ran, filmed, and transcribed interviews, generated countless movie files associated with each transcript, and then posted the full-text, full-video interviews with this public website. 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 engineering integration. Teachers interested in running an oral history project can contact Urban School technology director Howard Levin and should think about attending his summer teacher workshop.
Student News Action Network
This student-produced current events diary features contributions from around the world 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 cleverly adopted the free Ning system and far-flung pupils work tirelessly to create an interactive, multimedia-rich, and student-driven online paper.
“Great Debate of 2008″
Tom Daccord created a wiki and a personal online social media for the”Great Debate of 2008” job, a student exploration and discussion of candidates and issues enclosing the 2008 presidential election. The job connected pupils around the country at a wiki and a private online social media to share ideas and information related to the 2008 presidential elections. Students post information on campaign issues to the wiki and partake in online discussions and survey with other pupils in the personal online social networking.
The Flat Classroom Project
The award-winning Flat Classroom job brings together high school and middle school students from all over the world to learn more about the notions presented in Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat. These collaborative endeavors harness the most effective Web 2.0 tools available including wikis, online social networks, digital storytelling, podcasts, social bookmarking, and much more.

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