Black History Month: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture classroom resources

Langston Hughes illo

“I, too, am America,” wrote Langston Hughes in 1927. Like James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and August Wilson, Hughes was one of the great American writers of the 20th century. At the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, his powerful poetry invites you to explore American history through the African American lens. Here are 3 digital ways to look at some of the 37,000 historical artifacts contained in the museum:

Download the museum’s mobile app for iOS and Android here. The app offers ways to engage students of all ages — from brief stories about some of the museum’s special objects to augmented reality experiences. For an audio tour of objects in this exhibit, text the word “lens” (not case sensitive) to 56512.

Find a National History Day project idea here and examine primary sources for your project here. Sorted by state, these ideas are available for all students to adapt and use. Learn more about National History Day resources here and here.

Explore the museum’s collection by topic, here. Some great resources to check out include curator perspectives on 3 special objects and tips for planning history-themed events in your area.

Black history is American history. To learn more about it, dive in here.

Art credit: Painting of Langston Hughes by Artist Winold Reiss, National Portrait Gallery

To learn something new every week, sign up for the TED-Ed Newsletter here >>