National Museum of American History

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History dedicates its collections and scholarship to inspiring a broader understanding of our nation and its many peoples. We create opportunities for learning, stimulate imaginations, and present challenging ideas about our country’s past.

The Museum collects and preserves more than 3 million artifacts—all true national treasures. We take care of everything from the original Star-Spangled Banner and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat to Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” Our collections form a fascinating mosaic of American life and comprise the greatest single collection of American history. Learn more about our museum at

This virtual exhibition hall includes both links to classroom resources that encourage students to use problem solving and media related to the podcast presentation on Hawaii.

Smithsonian’s History Explorer

The Gettysburg Address
Smithsonian’s History Explorer
is your gateway to innovative, standards-based online resources for teaching and learning American history, designed and developed by the National Museum of American History as part of Verizon’s consortium. Explore the rich resources of the Museum and bring history to life with artifacts, primary sources, and online tools for the classroom, afterschool programs, and home.

Play Audio Tour

The following resources, from Smithsonian’s History Explorer, will help engage your students in problem solving.

Van Valen’s Gold Rush Journey

Gold Nugget
Investigate the authentic journal of Alex Van Valen, a man who set sail in 1849 to stake his claim in the California gold fields, to discover what life was like during the gold rush. The web site provides a rich set of primary sources to explore and analyze, as well as an interactive PDF guide where students can record, save, and print their findings.


Interactive Star-Spangled Banner

Interactive Star-Spangled Banner

Explore the Star-Spangled Banner through an interactive tool and accompanying teacher guide. Generations of Americans have invested the flag with their own meanings and memories. Here’s your chance to interact with this national treasure and contribute your point of view.


Invention at Play

Invention at PlayExplore the playful side of invention and the inventive side of play in Invention at Play. Learn how play—the ordinary and everyday “work of childhood”—connects to the creative impulse of both historic and contemporary inventors.


Creating Hawai’i

Click the image above to view a conference podcast on "Making Hawai’i" which is based on a display case by the same name at the National Museum of American History. The podcast is accompanied by an array of related images and music.