“Inaugurations: Stepping into History” – A Teacher Resource from the Library of Congress

The Inauguration of President McKinley, 1896

Presidential inaugurations date back to the beginnings of the republic, and yet every inauguration has been unique.

Inaugural ceremonies have taken place indoors and outdoors, in private and in public, in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The president-elect has arrived at the inauguration site on foot, in a horse-drawn carriage, or an armored limousine. New presidents have given lengthy inaugural addresses or a few terse remarks, and in their speeches have professed sunny optimism for the future of the United States or challenged Americans to confront difficult circumstances.

A newly updated teacher resource from the Library of Congress, Inaugurations: Stepping into History, provides teachers and students with an opportunity to investigate inaugurations past using rich primary sources from the Library’s online collections. Each section of the presentation takes a look at different aspects of these key moments of transition, from the inaugural oath, site, and address to the issues and expectations that each president faced.

As students examine these inaugural primary sources, they can explore the different moments in the nation’s history, and the very different presidents, that these unique artifacts illuminate. They might also reflect upon the ways in which they underscore the nation’s long history of orderly transfers of presidential office.

New Guide to Help Middle and High School Students Conduct Research with Library Resources

This post is by Kaleena Black of the Library of Congress. The research process can be fun and rewarding, but it can also present some challenges. For some students, the idea of research might not immediately bring to mind an exciting activity, filled with intrigue, suspense, and joy. Many students, and some adults, too, who […]

Encouraging Student-Generated Primary Sources During Historic Events

Lee Ann Potter, Director of Professional Learning and Outreach Initiatives at the Library of Congress, wrote this post. Last week, as the unprecedented events were unfolding at the U.S. Capitol, my eighteen year-old daughter drew my attention to a post on social media that she knew I would appreciate. Another high school student had posted […]

Science Literacy and History: Comparing Masks from 1918 and Today

Celia Roskin, a recent graduate of Elon University, wrote this during her work as the Fall 2020 Teaching with Primary Sources Intern in the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress. Teachers are always busy, and 2020 brought the additional challenges of online and distance learning to many teachers. To help teachers engage students […]

Tip of Congressional Iceberg Redux

We thank Margaret Wood, of the Law Library of Congress, for this post, which first published on the In Custodia Legis blog. We appreciate the concise but thorough tour of Congress.gov. Ten years ago, I wrote a post about some of the questions we typically receive at the start of a new Congress. Though it […]