Creating History Exhibits

 For history and social studies teachers, archives, museums and libraries all hold important exhibits to share with students. As students study the past they can also build their own virtual exhibits from primary sources by selecting those that interest them from the wealth of resources on a given topic. By creating and sharing their digital exhibits, students become involved in the learning of history and take pride in the lessons of history they share.

I work as a Special Project Coordinator in the Teaching with Primary Sources Teachers Network, associated with the Library of Congress, so I spend a lot of time within the Library’s virtual “online” exhibits finding resources to share with educators for teaching with primary sources.  When creating lessons, Keynote is my tool of choice for the versatility it provides for sharing and showcasing a history story. It is also an amazing creative tool for students as they engage in the process of building a history exhibit.

Keynote Example:

One of my favorite collections in the Library of Congress is that centering around the portraits included in the 1919 Paris Exposition by W.E.B. Du Bois. (African American Photographs Assembled for 1900 Paris Exposition.)  Du Bois was asked to curate an exhibit representing Black life in America one generation after emancipation. He compiled 500 photographs which were exhibited in Paris that showed the pride and accomplishments of Black Americans despite segregation and inequality of opportunity.

To create this Keynote virtual exhibit, I added the primary source photographs from the Library to Keynote that were the most compelling to me.  From there, it was easy to voice over audio and add music to my exhibit.  And I can either share it out by exporting as a movie or putting the Keynote into Kiosk mode.

Pages Book

In addition, Keynote provides an easy way to montage images if you or your students want to share your research in a book.  Here are some of the same images in a lesson sampler for teachers published as an epub in the Apple Book Store: The Resilient Faces of Black History


Book Cover - The Resilient Faces of Black History
Book Cover - The Resilient Faces of Black History

Please share how you use student created Keynotes in History or Social Studies lessons.

4 replies

September 06, 2022

What a fantastic way to work with students to build a collective "digital museum!" This is a great example of finding an authentic audience for students so that they can not only share their work with their peers, but also consider how other exhibitions complement their research. Thanks for sharing!

September 06, 2022

Thank you Adam! An authentic audience for students is so important. The Museum then really becomes an authentic assessment tool giving the student an opportunity not just to learn history but to practice it also.

September 09, 2022

This is another great resource from you Cheryl, thank you for sharing. I really love the authenticity of the activity and the multimedia approach it provides for students to deeply engage with the sources and research.

September 10, 2022

Thanks Erin! Agree that using the multimedia enhances the learning.

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