Mr. Lincoln's Attic I: Do Objects Talk?by Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Subject Arts - Media, English/Language Arts, Social Studies
For this plan, consider using the MY HERO Gallery to upload students "artifacts" with their descriptions. You may then use the MY HERO Tool in the Teacher's area to put together a gallery of your student's pieces.
Artifacts can tell us stories about our past. The story behind the artifact can tell us about the people who used it and the society in which they lived. Who owned this item? Who used this item? Who made this item? Questions like these can help us understand the past.
In this lesson students learn to analyze an artifact. They will identify an object from their own lives which tells a story about their own past. They will take on the role of the exhibit professional in putting together an exhibit. First, the student will arrange a loan agreement with their family members to bring the object to school. They will coordinate the safe handling of the artifact in transit to their classroom. They will determine how the artifact will be displayed in a class museum. They will create an exhibit label to explain their artifact and its story. Finally, they will publicize their exhibit, open it to visitors and assist in interpreting their display.
Be sure to either print or show the worksheet on the overhead. Using the Artifact Analysis Worksheet (page 5), have students examine an artifact from their classroom or one of the artifacts found in the Mr. Lincoln’s Attic Flash Cards (page 4). Using their imagination, have students write a creative essay on a possible story behind their selected artifact. Note: You can find out the real story at the ALPLM exhibit Mr. Lincoln’s Attic.
Using the Exhibit Artifact Brainstorming Worksheet (page 6), have students consider objects from home that tell a special, unusual or interesting story about themselves or their family. Students will choose one item from this worksheet to bring to class in order to create an exhibit.
Have students take home the Loan Agreement Form (page 7) and fill it out with the person who is loaning them the item for the class exhibit. Students are responsible for arranging and documenting the transport of their item to school.
At school, have students create an exhibit label that tells the story behind their object. Remember, a good label should be to the point and no longer than 50 words.
Arrange all the students’ artifacts in a class exhibit. Create brochures, posters or ads for your class exhibit, or post to the MY HERO Art Gallery. Invite parents and school mates to view the exhibit. Students should be on hand to act as interpreters for the exhibit.