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Blog Round-Up: Photographs

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This is a guest post from Johnathan Abreu of the Library of Congress.

Do you use photographs in the classroom? Here are some great resources for you from the Library of Congress.

As a medium, the photograph is relatively young. Nonetheless, photographs have captured key moments and events in history. The Library of Congress has more than a million digitized photographs available through the Prints and Photographs catalog. Since it’s easy to get lost in such a vast collection, we’ve put together a few helpful resources on using photographs in the classroom and analyzing them with students. More than just capturing an event, a photograph has much to say about the artist’s point of view and the time in which it was captured.

In Taking a Closer Look at Prints and Photographs, Danna Bell-Russel begins a discussion on information literacy as it applies to photographs. This post provides useful ideas on how to analyze photographs with students and discern details such as false captions which can be misleading if unnoticed.

Day laborers picking cotton near Clarksdale, Miss. Nov. 1939
Day laborers picking cotton near Clarksdale, Miss. Nov. 1939

Farm Security Administration Photographs: Harvest Time, from Anne Savage, takes a look at the Library’s Farm Security Administration’s photograph collection, specifically focusing on images of the harvest. This is a great starting point to discuss the nation’s food supply and how food gets from the farm to the table. It also serves as a connection to more resources on the Great Depression and agriculture. This post offers plenty of teaching ideas, including suggestions for using specific photographs with students.

Drawing upon her museum education background, Educational Resources Specialist Stacie Moats explores Teaching with Architectural Drawings and Photographs. The post discusses ideas such as using the collections to educate students about function and aesthetics in architecture and the role these concepts play in the creation of historic structures.

Using photographs in the classroom can provide great starting points to engage students on a wide variety of topics. Don’t forget to take a look at the Teacher’s Guide Analyzing Photographs and Prints for questions and activities to guide and deepen student thinking and analysis.


  1. I attended a seminar taught by Smithsonian once. Activity for four small groups was impressive. . . each got a set of photos. We were asked to make connections with the sets and could compare one groups’ to another. Images included scenes of persoanl interactions, inventions, art, labor forces. The groupings tourned out to be by decades, but with such divers eimagery all participants were surprised.

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