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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Carpenter-Dodge School Bus, 1939

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Source

This bus carried rural children to the Martinsburg, Indiana school in the 1940s. Busing enabled children to attend consolidated schools, which were larger than one-room schools and had better curricula, teachers, and facilities. All-steel school b...


Cesar Chavez's Union Jacket

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Source
Date Posted: 9/3/2008

Cesar Chavez inspired a nation to seek justice for the poorest of America's laborers. A migrant worker since childhood, Cesar Chavez pledged his life to improving the lives of his fellow workers, rather than escape the stark conditions of farm lab...


Cher Ami

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

Cher Ami was a registered Black Check cock carrier pigeon, one of 600 birds owned and flown by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. He delivered twelve important messages within the American sector at Verdun; on his last missio...


China Poblana Dress

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 9/20/2009

Mariachis, groups comprised of vocalists, trumpeters, violinists, and various bass and guitar players, are today considered Mexico's traditional musical ensemble. Originally from the state of Jalisco, mariachi music transformed itself from a regio...


Chinese-American Shop Sign

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 5/6/2010

This sign was purchased by a North Beach second-hand shop from a proprietor in the neighboring Chinatown district of San Francisco. It is said to date from between 1890 and 1910. If that is so, the sign’s survival is quite miraculous: The 19...


Christening Cap

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

This intricate handmade lace baby cap dates from the turn of the 20th century and was probably worn for a baby's christening. The baptism of newborns is both a religious and a social ceremony, strengthening ties among members of a community. C...


Christian Fleetwood's Medal of Honor

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

This Medal of Honor was awarded to Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood, 4th U.S. Colored Troops, for heroism on the field of battle at Chaffin’s Farm on September 29, 1864. Fleetwood seized the colors after two color bearers had been shot dow...


Civil War Soldier

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

Photographs can be powerful connections to the past. Soldiers, for example often had their portraits made before going off to war so that loved ones would have a rememberance of them in the event they did not return. This decorative mat is unusual...


Civil War Soldier's Mess

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

A match safe, lantern, frying pan, and cup would have been part of a soldier’s equipment. Hardtack is the name given to a thick cracker made of flour, water, and sometimes salt.


Civil War Soldier's Violin

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

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. Written on the back of the instrument are the names of places where the s...

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Featured Artifact

Creek War Flag

The Creek War began on August 30, 1813, when a faction of Creek known as the Red Sticks attacked a contingent of 553 American settlers at Lake Tensaw, Alabama, north of...