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As part of a year-long consideration of people coming to America, I teach a unit focused on the Transatlantic Slave Trade to my 4th graders. My colleagues (who, over the years, have been white, black, Asian, and bi-racial) and I (white) are always grappling with how best to approach it as our classes become more diverse, as current events become more urgent, as we learn more. This year, I was fortunate in being able to twice visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The first was in May for a few overwhelming hours and the second was for a full week for a workshop on race (my post on that here) where I was incredibly fortunate to have hours and hours and hours to explore the exhibits. In addition to planning on using practices and activities I took away from the workshop I’m now working with material from their exhibits to improve my teaching, including the creation of a presentation featuring their “Slavery & Freedom” section. The museum has done a remarkable job creating exhibits that are for all ages and their introduction to the slave trade is handled clearly, thoughtfully, sensitively, and bluntly.
I urge all who can to visit the museum. You can learn how to get the timed entry passes here.
Advance timed entry passes for individuals are released monthly. Our next release for December 2017 passes is on Wednesday, September 6th at 9 a.m. ET. Passes go very quickly when released.
My first visit in May was because of the time I spent on February 1st to get the passes. It takes time, but is worth it.
If you can’t visit the museum there is much more available from them.
- You can explore the collection online.
- You can explore the exhibits online.
- You can view museum staff stories of specific portions of the exhibits.
- You can explore single objects through Many Lens.
- You can learn about the museum’s building.
- You can learn about other unique and exciting experiences such as:
- You can buy one of their publications. (I’ve gotten several — they are outstanding.)
- You can use one of their apps.
- You can attend one of their programs.
- You can follow their outstanding twitter account.
- You can follow their Facebook page.