App of the Week: National Museum of African American History and Culture

Powerful stories and media centralize African American history

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

NMAAHC provides teachers with a trusted location to access materials — including tons of primary materials and media — to support their teaching of African-American history and culture. Of course, it would be great to be able to visit the actual museum in D.C., but if that isn’t possible, the online museum is full of rich content that can easily be integrated into the curriculum. Teachers can search the museum’s collection of close to 37,000 historical artifacts to find materials that fit into their area of study. The artifacts would easily fit into teacher-led presentations or a student-centered primary document analysis activity. In addition to the large collection, students and teachers can explore the exhibitions (presentations of objects from the museum’s collections) and stories (curator-led and contextualized tours of topics) to dig into the NMAAHC’s materials in more guided ways. Teachers may also want to take advantage of the professional learning events that cover strategies for using African-American primary sources in the classroom and methods for discussing issues around race.

Price: Free

Grades: K-12

Rating: 4/5

Pros: An impressive collection of well-organized, engaging media.

Cons: Specific curriculum materials aren’t provided.

Bottom line: While there aren’t ready-to-go curricular materials, this modern, well-curated, and well-contextualized digital collection is sure to inspire compelling lessons.

Laura Ascione

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