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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United States, 2 Dollars, 1776

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 6/10/2009

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 up under the Articles of Confederation to oversee matters of common conce...


United States, 20 Dollars, 1854

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 10/19/2009

The sheer size of the California gold strike altered the nature of American numismatics. It was not only that mintage figures dramatically increased; the actual range of denominations increased as well.  Prior to 1849, there had been three go...


United States, 20 Dollars, 1907

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 6/11/2009

This is the sixth object in the Roosevelt/Saint-Gaudens object group.   In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt asked sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to lead an effort to redesign American coinage. Saint-Gaudens develop...


United States, 20 Dollars, 1907

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 6/11/2009

This is the fifth object in the Roosevelt/Saint-Gaudens object group.   In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt asked sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to lead an effort to redesign American coinage. Saint-Gaudens de...


United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 (experimental)

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 6/11/2009

This is the fourth object in the Roosevelt/Saint-Gaudens object group.   Someone once observed that a giraffe was a horse designed by a committee. The same might be said of this coin: what had seemed a good idea ...


United States, Jefferson Indian Peace Medal, 1801

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 11/20/2009

This medal accompanied Lewis and Clark on their epochal journey West. The medal is hollow, consisting of two thin, embossed silver plates, one for each side of the medal. The two were held together by a silver ring, running around the entire circu...


United States, One Dollar, Pattern, 1879

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 6/10/2009

United States Mint, Philadelphia. Obverse: Young head of Liberty, facing right; date below. Reverse: Eagle, facing left; denomination below. The piece was designed by George T. Morgan, and, while no more successful than any of his other designs, s...


USS Carondolet

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/31/2010

USS Carondolet was a 512-ton ironclad gunboat in the style of the Cairo. It was built in Saint Louis and commissioned in January 1862. Within a month it had contributed to the capture of both Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.


Valor paƱo

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 11/14/2008

Laying the groundwork for the Chicano movement of the 1960s, organizations like the American G.I. Forum began advocating on behalf of Hispanic veterans who were denied the educational, health care, housing, and other rights guaranteed by the G.I. ...


WANN microphone

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 11/20/2008

WANN represents a significant moment in American cultural history-the rise of black-oriented broadcasting. Although blacks constituted 10 percent of the population, black interest in broadcasting on any scale, didn't begin until 1948. That year WD...

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Featured Artifact

YORICK, The Bionic Skeleton

Yorick is a plastic male skeleton imbedded with electronic and mechanical devices used to replace worn body parts. Yorick was created by Ed Mueller, an engineer in the...