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K-12 Technology

Jan 04, 2022 2022-01-04

Digital Learning • Learning Support

History and Culture Through an African American Lens

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which features ten floors of Black history from the fifteenth century to the present day, has digitized some of its exhibits so that museumgoers from anywhere can experience the content. With the launch of a new virtual platform, students can now visit the first exhibit, called Slavery & Freedom, without ever leaving their classroom or home.

The Searchable Museum transforms the artifacts, stories, and interactive experiences of the physical exhibit into a digital platform that provides an inside look into some previously off-limits areas. For example, for the first time, visitors can take a 3D tour inside the Point of Pines Slave Cabin, one of two remaining slave cabins on Edisto Island, South Carolina.

Other new elements include videos, podcasts, and behind-the-scenes looks at the research behind the exhibits. One feature, called “Lesser-Known Stories,” captures stories that have largely been ignored throughout history, such as the story of William and Ellen Craft, who devised an ingenious plan to escape slavery that took them across race, gender, and class lines.

The site also includes links to related content elsewhere online, such as a time-lapsed video of more than 31,000 slave ships during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, between 1514 and 1860.

Eventually the museum plans to bring all of its exhibits online. The next exhibit, Making a Way of No Way, will go online this spring.

Cultural Awareness Social Studies

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