What it is: Picturing the Thirties is another great virtual web activity from the Smithsonian. This virtual museum exhibit teaches students about the 1930’s through eight exhibitions. Students will learn about the Great Depression, The New Deal, The Country, Industry, Labor, The City, Leisure, and American People in the 1930’s. Art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum are supplemented with other primary sources such as photographs, newsreels, and artist memorabilia. Students can explore the virtual exhibits complete with museum guides that explain each exhibit to students. The feature presentation of the museum is a series of interviews of abstract artists describing the 1930’s. User created documentaries can be viewed from the theater’s balcony. Students can visit the theater’s projection booth where they can find primary access and a movie making tutorial.
How to integrate Picturing the Thirties into the classroom: I am always amazed by the virtual content that the Smithsonian has produced. Picturing the Thirties is an incredible virtual field trip to museum exhibits that will put your students face to face with primary resources that will help them understand the events and culture of the 1930’s. This is SO much better than learning from a textbook! This interactive site is a great way for students to explore the 1930’s and learn at their own pace. This site is perfect for the computer lab environment where every student has access to a computer. You could also take a class virtual field trip to the museum using an interactive whiteboard or a projector.
Tips: Make sure that students have headphones or speakers for this website, there is quite a bit of audio content.
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