My son is graduating from high school this coming weekend and I am feeling mixed emotions.
On the one hand, I am proud, excited, and looking forward to what the future holds. On the other hand, I feel the winds of change, and with them a bit of sadness and apprehension about what lies ahead.
At times like this, I take comfort in knowing that I am not the first person to feel this way. Connecting with primary sources always helps. (Seriously, it does.)
When I learned that Smokey Robinson would be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, I was thrilled.
The Gershwin Prize honors a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.
Folklife – songs, stories, jokes, crafts, and dances which have been handed down from generation to generation – are the unwritten history of the American people, and they help us understand what it is like to belong to a group, whether that group is a family, an ethnic group, a regional group, or a group of workers in the same occupation.
One of the biggest reasons I love working at the Library of Congress is that my curiosity is sparked on a daily basis. Most recently, I have been fascinated by the music manuscripts of the early American composer Anthony Philip Heinrich (1781-1861). He was one of the first professional composers in the United States and was known as the “Beethoven of America.”
The strategy of reading portraiture encourages the visual analysis of a piece of art, similar to closely reading a document. The visual clues found in portraiture may be decoded to learn about the individual featured in the artwork.
Lately, a few of my colleagues and I have been thinking about teaching with fine arts-related primary sources, as we prepare a TPS Journal issue focused on this topic.
The Library of Congress has just launched a new collection, The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America, which explores American history through the lens of song.
“The context for each imaginary contraption becomes fodder for understanding ideas about space and flight.” We’ve added some ideas at the end for ways to use these primary sources to deepen student understanding of the ways in which people have imagined space and flight.
There’s nothing like primary sources to make you question your prior knowledge, and this blog post has several that surprise, spark interest, and make you want to learn more. Along with the suggested teaching activities, which are useful across most grade levels, these primary sources can help your students explore a famous historical event from several different perspectives including that of George Washington himself.
When I’ve asked my students, “Would anyone be interested in a trip on a ferry?” they’ve all cheered with excitement. But I wonder how many of us would be brave enough to take a night voyage through an ice-clogged river on a boat battered by snow and high winds. Primary sources from the Library of Congress can let students explore this momentous–and shivery–event.