Thursday, July 30, 2015

Focus on Primary Sources - Traveling Trunks

If you haven't been following along with this series, check the "Primary Source" label at the bottom right to get caught up!  If you have been following along, you'll know we've talked about why it's important to use primary sources in the classroom and how to use the Library of Congress to find some really good pictures, maps, and documents.

Today's resource is one that I get really excited about, because I learned about it this summer, and I just think it's one of the coolest things ever.  Did you know that many museums offer some version of a traveling trunk program?  I'm in Tennessee, and here the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville and the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis both have traveling trunks!  Here's a video from the state museum that describes how they work.

I mean, you really don't get much more primary than that!!

Now, I know that you may not be in Tennessee . . . but don't worry!  Many, many museums offer traveling trunks, or some variation on them.  Many also ship out of state (I know that the TN State Museum does), and it's not as costly as you'd think.  For example, the TN State Museum will ship the trunk anywhere within the state for free, and you just pay return shipping, which is usually around $10.  Out of state teachers would just pay shipping both ways.

Of course, Tennessee isn't the only one with this type of program.  For example, the Civil War Trust has a fantastic traveling trunk program (it's already booked for this school year, but I'd get my request in early for next year!)  The George W. Bush Library in Texas has a traveling trunk program.  The University of Mississippi has one focused on art, and so does the San Antonio Museum of Art.

And I found all of those with just a quick Google search!

So, check around in your area and see what's available.  These primary sources can really help history and culture come to life for your students.

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