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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The Visible Woman

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 10/27/2008

This is an anatomical model of a woman, complete with removable parts. The kit includes a clear plastic body or shell, a "complete" skeleton, "all vital organs," and a round plastic display stand. The kit was designed as an educational tool to tea...


Thompson Model 1928 Submachine Gun

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 11/6/2008

During World War I, machine guns were heavy, crew-served weapons. Their operation required several soldiers. Even so-called light machine guns could not easily be handled by single soldiers. To meet the need for an individual rapid-fire weapon, se...


Tierra o Muerte Poster

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 9/25/2009

Following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the annexation of Texas, the land claims of many Mexican families were not respected, either by the new English-speaking settlers or by the U.S. government. Dispossession from family- and community-own...


Tile from La Fortaleza

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 9/17/2009

This tile is from La Fortaleza, a military and government complex in San Juan built to defend the city from naval attacks. Construction began in 1533 and was finished in 1540. This tile resembles the Spanish ceramic style of Talavera, a tile facto...


Tower Musket

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

Private Rowel Colby saw service at the battle of Bennington, and took this Tower flint-lock musket from a dead British soldier during the battle on August 16, 1777. Colby of Salisbury, New Hampshire was on the muster rolls of Captain Ebenezer Webs...


Toy Fire Engine

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 8/11/2009

Cast-iron toys are essentially American. Small foundries and factories were mass-producing them towards the close of the 19th century. These toys were sold in novelty stores, department stores, or mail order catalogs. One can follow along with shi...


Trade Tomahawk

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 12/21/2010

Trade tomahawks were generally made in Europe and used by settlers to trade with the Indians.


Transposing Upright Piano

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

This upright transposing piano was made in 1940 by Weser Brothers, New York, for Irving Berlin (1888–1989). Like many Tin Pan Alley pianists, Berlin was self-taught, preferring to play on the black keys. “The key of C,” he once s...


U.S. Civil War Colored Troops Medal

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Source
Date Posted: 7/31/2008

During the American Civil War, General Benjamin Butler so appreciated the heroic actions of African American soldiers under his command at the 1864 battles of Fort Harrison and Fort Gilmer that he commissioned a special medal for them. Designed by...


U.S. Civil War Zouave Uniform Jacket

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 11/5/2008

The colorful and exotic Algerian apparel that French soldiers saw when they invaded Algeria in 1830 captured their imagination. First adopted by French colonial soldiers in North Africa in the 1830s, the appeal of the dashing Zouave image quickly ...

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Featured Artifact

Civil War Soldier's Violin

Violin purchased by Solomon Conn in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 1, 1863. Conn carried the violin while serving with Company B, 87th Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War....