Museum Artifacts

A listing of selected Museum artifacts that can be used to teach American history using object-based learning techniques. The selected artifacts represent a variety of historical eras and the list will grow over time. Want to suggest a new artifact? Click here to contact us.


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Ambrotype of Mea-to-sa-bi-tchi-a, or Smutty Bear

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts
Date Posted: 11/7/2012

This ambrotype portrait of Mea-to-sa-bi-tchi-a, or Smutty Bear, a Yankton Dakota, is among the first photographic images of Native Americans. Smutty Bear was part of a large Native American delegation that came to Washington, D.C., during the wint...


American Long Rifle

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/30/2009

This early example of the American long rifle reflects its Germanic origins. It has a wooden patchbox, for storing patches to load and clean with; a flared muzzle and thick shoulder stock which are like that of the German Jaeger rifle.


American-Made Musket

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/30/2009

During the Revolutionary War, many gunmakers were forced to cannibalize parts from guns manufactured in various foreign countries. These guns, referred to as composites, contained disparate parts and are therefore difficult to date with any degree...


Andrew Jackson's Sword and Scabbard

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/22/2010

Andrew Jackson carried this sword and scabbard while commanding the American forces, which included Tennessee militia, U.S. regulars, and Cherokee, Choctaw, and Southern Creek Indians during the Creek War in the War of 1812.


Andrew Jackson's Uniform Coat

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/15/2010

Blue wool uniform coat, gold-colored buttons on jacket front and sleeves. Epaulettes and gold trim at neck and cuffs. This coat adheres to the 1813 uniform regulations; single-breasted, of dark blue wool, four buttons placed lengthwise...


Apple "Classic" Macintosh Personal Computer

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Source
Date Posted: 7/8/2008

The Apple Macintosh introduced a graphic user interface (GUI) to the Apple line of computers. The idea had originated at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, but Xerox was slow to commercialize it. Apple proved far more successful when ...


Apple II Personal Computer

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 3/12/2012

In 1976, computer pioneers Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs began selling their Apple I computer in kit form to computer stores. A month later, Wozniak was working on a design for an improved version, the Apple II. They demonstrated a prototype in Dec...


Arthur Ashe's Tennis Racquet

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 1/29/2009

Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) bought this Head tennis racket in 1975 and used it in competitions including Wimbledon and the Davis Cup. When he began his career in 1955, he was challenged by racial prejudice. But the young man from Richmond. Virginia, b...


Astrolabe

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 10/9/2008

The astrolabe is an astronomical calculating device used from ancient times into the eighteenth century. Measuring the height of a star using the back of the instrument, and knowing the latitude, one could find the time of night and the position o...


B.F. Skinner's Nose Cone of a Pigeon-Guided Missile

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 11/10/2008

During World War II, the U.S. military needed to find accurate ways to guide missiles to their targets. Harvard University psychologist B. F. Skinner suggested that a missile nose cone be supplied with three compartments, each with a window. A pig...

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Featured Artifact

United States, 2 Dollars, 1776

By the time they broke with England, the thirteen American colonies had been issuing paper currency for nearly a century. Both they and the loose central government they set...