Geared to learning, thinking and doing.
Below, you will find educational programs and activities available at the Museum.
Need more information? Please contact the Education Department at 215-923-3811 x 158 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instructional Module: Coming to America, 1880-1924
Subject: Immigration to the United States
Description: Students are immersed in immigrant life at the turn of the century through engagement with primary documents, historic artifacts, maps, and interactive visual and audio displays. This unit brings to life the various stages of any immigrant experience: travel, arrival, learning where and how to live, work, and study, adjustment to a new social and cultural environment, and finally, migration beyond the port of arrival. Students will travel from station to station exploring the exhibits, discussing, and answering questions in a Travel Log.
• Reflect on their family background and roots.
• Discuss reasons people emigrate to the United States
• Discuss history and meaning of the Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
• Recognize the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty in the immigrant experience
• Explore the immigration patterns map and note several of the nations from which people emigrated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
• Participate in the experiences of those immigrants arriving at Ellis Island through visual and sound simulation.
• Explore the authentic immigrants’ passports and inspection cards.
• Follow the story of an immigrant child Eva Baen by discovering artifacts belonging to her.
• Explore real objects that immigrants brought with them.
• Explore life and work in America at the turn of the 20th century.
• Discuss efforts of various organizations to provide aid to the immigrants.
• Understands challenges immigrants faced in society in the 20th century
Museum Visit Outline (Please allow minimum 2 hours of Museum time)
Arrival, security, check in (15 min)
Pre Gallery (15 min) A Docent-led introduction provides an overview of the Immigration module; students establish common background knowledge and prepare for their activities in galleries.
During Gallery (1 hour 15 min) In small groups students travel through 10 stations and explore the immigration topics. At each station students interact with a Docent and the exhibit and learn how to examine information in a museum exhibit.
After Gallery (15 min) Students gather for a follow up discussion and activities.
Coming to America 2012 Unit Description
Travel Log Page Sample
Coming to America: Suggested Pre-Visit Lesson
Coming to America: Suggested Post-Visit Lesson
Coming to America: Suggested Bibliography
Coming to America: Vocabulary
Travel Log Images and Information
Instructional module: “To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington and Religious Freedom in America”
Looking for an education experience that focuses on the Constitution and Religious Freedom in America?
To print “To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington and Religious Freedom in America” unit description click here.
This two hour module offers exploration of the Early American history galleries of the Museum with a close study of the primary documents utilizing a strong writing component. The content revolves around the letter written by George Washington to the Newport Jewish community in 1790 and Washington’s correspondence with leaders of several other religious communities.*
All the instructional materials and activities are aligned to the national and PA Language arts Common Core Standards and the national and Pennsylvania standards in Social Studies, History, Civics and Government. While we offer a fully guided experience you may also choose to visit on a partially guided basis, in which a docent will give an introduction and remain present to facilitate discussion and answer questions while students explore the materials independently. The Museum can provide a worksheet that offers a more structured experience.
*The letters and other original documents were part of the Museum’s inaugural exhibition, “To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington and Religious Freedom”. Although the exhibition has ended, George Washington’s letter and several other documents from it are on indefinite display on the 4th floor.
Online interactive exploration of the letters
To learn more about the exhibition click here
To purchase a catalogue of the exhibition with informative essays by the Chief Curator Dr. Josh Perlman and historian Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna click here.
(High Resolution copies are available upon request, education@NMAJH.org)
Newport Hebrew Congregation Letter to G. Washington
G. Washington Letter to Newport Hebrew Congregation
Primary Sources Analysis Worksheets
(available on the Museum website: http://www.nmajh.org/lessonplans/
Primary Document Analysis Worksheet
Unpacking the Meaning Worksheet
Before -- (Classroom Preparation for the Museum Visit)
Discussion of the Constitution and Religious Freedom
Overview of the Jewish History (Resource: Jews in American History: A Teacher’s Guide)
After-- (Classroom Post-Visit Activities)
Analyze the Primary Sources
Write a Letter to the President
Write a Letter to a Friend in the 17th Century Style
Educator’s Classroom Kit 2012. The George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom (GWIRF)
Kenneth E. Behring Center, Smithsonian National Museum of American History
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Teaching With Documents: Lesson Plans.
Library of Congress, Teacher's Guides and Analysis Tool
Freedom Of Religion Lesson Plan – High School, The American Constitution Society
Michael Cassity, First Liberty Institute Living With Our Deepest Differences: Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society
The Institute for Curriculum Services: National Resource Center for Accurate Jewish Content in Schools
Grades 7 - 12
Instructional Module: “Unique Promise and Imperfect Freedom: America’s History of Religious and Racial Tolerance”
To print ““Unique Promise and Imperfect Freedom: America’s History of Religious and Racial Tolerance” unit description click here.
NMAJH is proud to present a unit on America’s enduring legacies and ongoing struggles with religious, ethnic, and racial tolerance.
From the founding of the first colonies through the present, “Unique Promise and Imperfect Freedom” explores America’s often turbulent history of religious and racial tolerance.
From January 15 until June 2, 2013, students will have the opportunity to visit our special exhibition Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges that tells the story of a group of Jewish academics who came to the US in the 1930s as refugees escaping the Nazi regime and then taught in the US at historically black colleges and universities in the Jim Crow South. This exhibition illustrates the empathy between the two historically persecuted minority groups. It also traces their joint search for freedom and opportunity during the early years of struggle in the Civil Rights movement. This exhibition presents an opportunity to explore additional themes such as mentorship, leadership, identity, and cross cultural understanding.
In addition to the special exhibition students will visit parts of the Core exhibition that contain artifacts and primary documents describing the experiences of Jewish immigrants as they fought discrimination and won victories in the name of tolerance and acceptance. The visit will provide an opportunity to critically analyze the progress America has made in the advancement of freedom for all groups as well as the work yet to be done.
Audience: Middle and High school students Time: 2 -3 hours in the Museum
This unit provides an opportunity for students to discuss the value and importance of developing an awareness of religious and racial prejudice focusing on antisemitism and Jim Crow laws in particular. The visit to the Museum also provides an opportunity to study both primary and secondary source materials.
Students will be able to recognize that:
• Democratic institutions and values are not automatically sustained, but need to be appreciated, nurtured, and protected
• Silence and indifference towards the suffering of others, or the infringement of civil rights of members in any society can—even unintentionally—perpetuate discriminatory practices that may lead to disastrous outcomes.
• Most of the catastrophic historic events, such as the Holocaust or Rwandan Genocide, are not accidents in history—they occurred because individuals, organizations, and governments made choices that legalized discrimination and also allowed prejudice, hatred, and mass murder to occur.
• Thinking about these events can help develop an awareness of the value of a diverse pluralistic society comprised of people from numerous different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
During the visit students will explore primary documents and discuss historic examples of religious and racial intolerance in the United States and Europe to:
• Learn about Jewish life in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries and in the 1930s-40s
• Learn about pre-WWII Jewish life in Germany and about antisemitism in Nazi ideology
• Learn about the Holocaust and the US role in saving Jews and other victims of the Nazi regime
• Learn about life of African Americans in the American south during the 1930s-60s
• Discuss the circumstances that brought European Jewish professors and African American students together at traditionally black colleges in the American south
• Explore the personal impact students and faculty had on each other, and the impact they had on society at large
Techniques and skills:
Large-group discussion; small-group work; brainstorming; vocabulary building; reading and/or listening for information; comparing and contrasting information; analyzing artifacts and documents; analizing images, political cartoons, and photographs; understanding chronology of events; critical thinking.
Preliminary Museum Visit Outline:
• Arrival, security, check in (10-15 min)
• Pre-Gallery (10-15 min) Introduction and overview. Worksheets, clipboards and pencils provided
• In- Gallery (1 hour 30 min) Students will explore the museum in small groups. They will visit galleries that provide opportunities to investigate major themes associated with the history of religious and racial freedom and tolerance. Museum docents will lead the groups to their assigned starting points. Please note that the starting points are not sequential and can be visited in any order without affecting the quality of the tour.
• We are offering a worksheet designed to enhance the educational experience by leading students to the important documents and artifacts and prompting them with research and discussion questions. At each stop, a docent will present the theme of the station/gallery, provide historical background, and discuss relevant vocabulary. The background information is also provided in the textbox at the beginning of each station in the worksheet and may be reviewed with the students, prior to, or during the visit. Students are encouraged, but not required, to answer every question in the worksheet during the visit.
Teacher Guide click here
Student Worksheet grades 9-12 click here
Student Worksheet grades 7-8 click here
Teachers are welcome to employ the information provided in the worksheets and on the Museum website for further exploration of the subject.
Please follow the docents’ instructions and refer to the docents if you have any questions or need additional support.
Timeline (subject to change) If you prefer a different timeline please contact the education department at email@example.com or 215 923 3811 ext 158 in advance of your visit.
Core Exhibition: (50 min)
Fourth Floor (10-15 min): 1. American Revolution; 2. Civil War
Third Floor (30 min): 1. WWI/Antisemitism; 2. Nazi rise to power and WWII; 3. US and the Holocaust
Second Floor (10-15 min): 1.The Civil Rights Movement; 2. Modern Times; 3. Contemporary Issues
Alternatively you may choose to focus on one of the floors (4th OR 2nd) and spend more time there. Please indicate your preference to the education department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215 923 3811 ext 158 in advance.
Special Exhibition: Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow. (40 min) For more about the exhibition click here.
Conclusion: Summary discussion and reflections (10-15 min)
Recommended Pre-visit Activity (30 min-1 hour): Introductory question from page-1 and textbox questions of the worksheet could be discussed in class.
Optional Post- Gallery Activity (30 min to 1 hour): Students gather in the classroom for follow up discussion activities and/or art project. Possible “Lunch and Learn” format. These activities can also be used in post-visit classroom lessons. See the Museum website for more information and sample activities.
1. Analyzing primary sources with Primary Document Analysis Worksheet or Unpacking the Meaning Worksheet
2. “Six word memoir.” (Describe your impression from the exhibition in just six words.)
3. Art Project. (Design “NMAJH promotion poster” reflecting the Museum mission and the theme question “What does freedom mean to you?”)
4. Write an Essay
a. Choose a work of art or an artifact from the exhibition. Write an essay about it based on what it helped you to learn as part of the exhibition.
b. Who has inspired you? What did this person mean to you? What did you learn from your mentor? How has this person helped to shape your life? Submit your story and a photo of you with your mentor (if you have one) or a photograph of yourself or your mentor. The essays may be submitted and posted online at http://whohasinspiredyou.wordpress.com/
c. Choose an example of religious or racial intolerance in America today. Write a letter to a politician explaining why you think this is an important issue and what should be done to address it. Use historical examples from the museum to support the importance of religious and racial tolerance.
Primary Sources (available upon request):
Copy of the passport of Helga Weiss, Austria, 1939
Gerhart Riegner, the World Jewish Congress Swiss operative telegrams. August 1942 “Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews” Drafted by Josiah DuBois, 1944
Nazi Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, April 7, 1933
Editorial “Jews in Germany vs. Negroes in America,” The Philadelphia Tribune, October 12, 1933
Cartoon “Oppressed people at home and abroad,” April 9, 1938; The Afro-American
Editorial “The Hitlers zu Hause” (The Hitlers at home), June 4, 1938, The Afro-American
Jews in American History: A Teacher’s Guide A brief overview of the Jewish History in America.
Meeting Hate with Humanity: Life During the Holocaust Teacher's Guide Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Designed to aid teachers in preparing students with historical background of the Holocaust.
Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust
African American History Timeline
History Chanel Black History Timeline and related media
Library of Congress Teacher’s Guide This activity guide accompanies the exhibition Separate Is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education.
PBS information on Jim Crow
Interactive map of historically black colleges in the South
iCivics Jim Crow Teachers Guide
Other educational activities:
Please contact Education Department for more information at email@example.com or 215 923 3811 ext 158
Academic Standards Covered by NMAJH click here