From the Oakland Museum of California comes “Picture This: California’s Perspectives on American History,” 140 primary source images from the museum’s collection for students and educators. The images are organized into six time periods: Early California 1769-1800s, The Progressive Era 1890-1920, Depression Era 1930s, World War II/Post War Era 1940-1950s, Vietnam/Civil Rights Era 1960-1970s, and Post-Vietnam Era 1980-present. The museum also offers eight activities to further the visual literacy skills of our students.
Possible classroom applications? This online exhibit could serve as an example for students to create their own image museum showing their state’s perspective on American History also. The Minnesota Historical Society encourages Minnesota educators to remember “Minnesota history is American History” and that is true for anyone in any state. It is understandable that it may be easier for students to make local connections than national so an exercise such as this one could help bring the big picture home. These images could also serve as writing prompts. Students could write newspaper headlines for what they see or they could research the event behind the photo and write a newspaper article. (A lesson plan for this type of activity can be found at the Library of Congress, I love this assignment for sophomores and juniors!)