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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Sound Recording, "When the Saints Go Marching In"

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Source
Date Posted: 3/22/2012

Born in New Orleans in 1901, jazz musician Louis Armstrong (d. 1971)was known for his distinctive trumpet-playing and vocal style. He often improvised jazz riffs using his voice rather than his instrument, “scatting” notes and melodies...


Souvenir of the Opening of the East River Bridge, May 24, 1883

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

By the late 19th century, the United States had established itself as a world leader in the area of civil engineering. Perhaps no project better symbolized America's technical prowess than the awe-inspiring Brooklyn Bridge, which connected the nat...


Spanish Flag

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/17/2010

Physical Description Large yellow stripe with anchor and coat of arms. Red stripes on either side of yellow. Specific History Spanish admiral’s flag captured by United States gunboat Petrel from the cruiser ...


Spencer Carbine

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/30/2010

The Spencer carbine was one of the most popular firearms of the Civil War. Issued late in 1863, it had a demoralizing effect on Confederate soldiers. Smaller and lighter than other guns, it could fire a magazine of seven copper rimfire cartri...


Spinning Wheel

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Artifacts
Date Posted: 3/5/2009

Spinning wheels are believed to have originated in India between 500 and 1000 A.D. By the 13th century, they were seen in Europe, and were a standard piece of equipment for those making fiber into yarn. By the 17th century they were commonly found...


Spotsylvania Stump

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/30/2010

Until May 12, 1864, this shattered stump was a large oak tree in a rolling meadow just outside Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia. The same fury of rifle bullets that cut down 2,000 combatants tore away all but twenty-two inches of the tree's trun...


Spur

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 10/27/2008

This spur, worn over a riding boot, was made in Mexico in the mid-1800s. Rubbed against the animal's side, spurs are one of the instruments that riders use to direct horses. The spikes on this spur are set on a small wheel called a rowel, making t...


Steam Locomotive, John Bull

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 8/10/2009

The steam locomotive "John Bull" was built in 1831 and ran for 35 years, pulling trains of passengers and cargo between the two largest cities of the time, Philadelphia and New York. The locomotive propelled trains at 25 to 30 miles per hour...


Stern Structural Arithmetic Kit A

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Source
Date Posted: 5/3/2012

This apparatus was designed by Catherine Stern, a physicist by training and the founder of a Montessori school in her native Germany. Stern and her husband were of Jewish descent, and emigrated to New York City in 1938 to avoid persecution b...


Strong Vincent's Sword

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/30/2010

At the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union saw the value of securing a rocky outcropping called Little Round Top.  Strong Vincent seized the opportunity, taking the boulder and yelling to his men, “Don’t give an inch.” As h...

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Featured Artifact

Hessian Miter Cap

The Fusilier Regiment von Knyphausen was one of the regiments of the Second Division of troops from the German principality of Hesse-Cassel. It served as an auxiliary troop...