The Library of Congress has over 147 millions items including copies of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, one of the few remaining copies of the Gutenberg Bible and a photograph of the first powered flight. But did you know that we also have the Bible that was used for the inaugurations of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama? Or the contents of Lincoln’s pockets from the night when he was assassinated? Or a copy of the first telegraph message? Or a newspaper printed on wall paper? Experts at the Library of Congress know the facts and stories behind these items and more.
Now you can bring Library of Congress artifacts and experts into your classroom! Short (less than three minutes) videos about some of the Library’s “hidden treasures,” created in partnership with HISTORY, feature Library curators briefly describing each item and its importance in history. Students can learn more about how the Library of Congress preserved the scrapbooks of Harry Houdini, why Christopher Columbus made sure that copies of his agreements with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were preserved, how the maps that Jedediah Hotchkiss created while on horseback helped Stonewall Jackson become legendary for his military triumphs during the Civil War, and how Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created one of the most beloved super heroes.
Here are some ideas for using these “Hidden Treasures” videos with your students:
Have students choose one video and consider why the featured object has been designated as a treasure of the Library.
Ask students what items they or their families consider to be treasures and why?
Have students review a video and discuss how the world might have been different if this particular treasure had not been created or preserved.
Ask students to connect the particular treasure from the video to the time period when it was created or used. Why was this item created and what role did it play in history?
How does having students experience an expert-commentary on the hidden treasure and its role in history compare to other ways of learning history?
Which of these “Hidden Treasures” videos do you think might capture students’ attention and why?