Past Events & Activities

Primary Sources


Lesson Plans

Links and Resources


Online Resources for Teaching Primary Source Analysis

These sites offer a range of both materials and information useful for training students how to analyze and learn from primary sources

Classroom Activities - American Centuries

This is a database of activities created by teachers and librarians for other teachers and librarians. Here you can find brief activities that are based on the objects and documents featured in Memorial Hall Museum's Digital Collection. Included in this database are some wonderful activities focused on analyzing and interpreting primary sources. Specific titles to look for include: "Interpreting Various Maps of the Same Town"; "Analyzing Historical Artifacts"; "Analyzing Historical Fiction"; "Artifact Exploration"; "A Grave Lesson".

Document Analysis Worksheets - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Designed and developed by the staff at the National Archives and Records Administration, these worksheets provide guided questions to help students look at and make sense of a wide range of primary source material. Each of the following source types has a corresponding worksheet: Written Document, Photograph, Cartoon, Poster, Map, Artifact, Sound Recording and Motion Picture. While the worksheets can be used just as they are, they also offer teachers a valuable starting point for designing worksheets to use with a specific classroom activity.

History in the Raw - U. S. National Archives and Records Administration

This is a brief but thorough explanation-created by staff at the National Archives and Records Administration-of primary sources, an introduction to their place in historical thinking and research, and ideas about where to find them.

Introductory Activity: Introduction to Documents - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

A brief activity-designed by the staff at the National Archives and Records Administration-to introduce the idea of source (in this case, document) analysis to students.

The Learning Page - Library of Congress

This section of the Library of Congress' website is especially for teachers. Among the lessons it makes available are some designed specifically to teach students (K-8) about primary sources and how to analyze them. In addition, the site includes worksheets aimed at helping students analyze a few different types of primary sources. For these worksheets see the "Media Analysis Tools" link.

Making Sense of Evidence - History Matters: The History Survey Course on the Web

A superb resource for teachers and students, Making Sense of Evidence offers detailed, in depth, and interactive explorations into how historians analyze, interpret, and various types of sources including maps, letters, films, fiction, photography, and oral history. Each tutorial guides students-using readings, questions and examples- through the process of analyzing the source type under investigation. Also in this section are audio interviews with leading scholars who share their own process of source analysis and interpretation.

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