Welcome! Here we’ll regularly share new document-based teaching tools, lesson plans, learning activities, student field trip ideas, professional development opportunities, newly available primary sources, and multi-media and web content.
The National Archives holds all kinds of permanently valuable documents–written documents, images, maps, audio, video, charts, and more–from all three branches of our government. Just a very few of our all-time favorite primary sources for engaging students are:
A Map of the Louisiana Purchase Territory
This map of the United States highlights in red the territory included in the Louisiana Purchase. Bought from France in 1803, the 820,000 square miles would be split eventually among the 16 states whose borders are outlined in black. (From the Records of the Bureau of Land Management)
The $7.2 Million Check for the Purchase of Alaska
With this check, the United States purchased almost 600,000 square miles of land that would become our 49th state. This Treasury Warrant, issued on August 1, 1868, transferred $7,200,000.00 to the Russian Minister to the United States, Edouard de Stoeckl. The purchase price was two cents an acre. (From the Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury)
A News Broadcast Describing the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor
Listen to the News Flash
This sound recording captures a KGU newsman’s report from a rooftop in Honolulu to the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in New York, in which he described the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, damage suffered, and the fighting still in progress.
(From the National Broadcasting Company, Inc., Collection)
A Letter from Mrs. E. Jackson in Favor of Voting Rights
Mrs. Jackson wrote to the House Judiciary Committee the day after Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. She was reacting to scenes of police brutality during a voting rights march that many Americans witnessed on television news programs. The interlined handwriting in pencil is likely that of House Judiciary Chairman Emanuel Celler, who was Mrs. Jackson’s representative in Congress and an active supporter of voting rights legislation in the House.
(From the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives)
As educators at the National Archives in Washington, DC, around the country, and in Presidential Libraries, we will share how we use these and some of the other billions of documents in the holdings of the National Archives as teaching tools.
We want to hear how you use primary sources as teaching and learning tools too!