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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Additional Resources > Resources from Outside the Library > Internet Resources - Special Topics
  • American Cities — A special issue of the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s journal History Now focused on urban history and spotlighting such events as the revolutionary Philadelphia, immigration to New York City, and the San Francisco earthquake.
  • American Family Teacher Guides — As an accompaniment to its dramatic series about a Latino Family, PBS provides lessons that use community journals, murals, and multimedia storytelling as ways of exploring family and community history.
  • America’s Byways — This site from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration provides historical background on nearly 100 “scenic byways,” modeling for students of local history how a road might serve as the focus of their study.
  • Ancestors — This companion site to the PBS series produced by KBYU at Brigham Young University provides detailed information on family history sources and the process of researching and writing a family history.
  • — While this genealogy site provides a subscription service, it also makes a wealth of information available free, including numerous articles on conducting family history research.
  • At Home in the Heartland — This family history site focuses on the choices families have made throughout history, from the 1700s to the present. The Illinois State Museum also provides teaching activities to accompany the exhibit.
  • Changing Times: Los Angeles in Photographs, 1920-1990 — This site from the UCLA Library provides access to more than 5700 photos from the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News archives.
  • Cities Around the World — More than 6100 photographs of cities around the world provide primary sources for considering urban history. From the American Geographic Society Library.
  • A Colonial Family and Community — Students use clues in historical documents to answer questions about a colonial family. Part of the Web site of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.
  • Curating the City — This site from the Los Angeles Conservancy “treats the city as a living museum” and provides a model for studying history through the built environment.
  • Digital Durham — Duke University and the North Carolina State Library provide this look into Durham’s history, providing “ideal case study for examining emancipation, industrialization, immigration, and urbanization in the context of the New South.”
  • Digital History: The History of Private Life — This resource from the Gilder Lehrman Institute and University of Houston provides three essays on family history and an annotated bibliography for teaching family history.
  • Discover Our Shared Heritage — National Park Service resources are some of the best for investigating local history, and this site is no exception. It provides self-guided historic tours and loads of background information on 60 locations across the country.
  • Ellis Island — Users can search passenger arrival records at Ellis Island. The site also provides stories of six Americans of varying backgrounds who researched their ancestry, a timeline of immigration history, and tips for doing family history research.
  • Establishing a School Archives — The National Archives provides guidance on how to create a collection documenting school history.
  • Explore Your Community — The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress presents an introduction to heritage studies and ideas for classroom projects.
  • Exploring Historic Cemeteries — A brief but helpful overview of the history of cemeteries and their use in teaching local history. From the Smithsonian.
  • Family and Friendship in Quilts — A lesson plan using quilts to examine family and friendship in history. From the National Endowment for the Humanities' Edsitement.
  • Family History — The BBC presents a guide to conducting family history research. While oriented toward those in the UK, many of the tools and tips are applicable anywhere.
  • From Native Prairie to Present, Our Agricultural Heritage — An online unit on the history of farming in a specific locale—northeastern Iowa. An excellent model for exploring an important local industry.
  • Great Chicago Stories — The Chicago History Museum provides fictional stories of the city’s past, suitable for varying age levels. Also provided are pictures of related artifacts, an interactive map, and classroom activities.
  • Hidden Truths — Pamela Bannos of Northwestern University provides insight into urban history in the 19th century through this examination of how the Chicago City Cemetery eventually became a different urban landmark—Lincoln Park.
  • Historical Postcards of New York City from the Picture Collection at Mid-Manhattan Library — 500 historical photographs of New York City are available on this engaging site.
  • Historic Preservation Education: Architectural History and Building Styles — An illustrated introduction to architectural history for young people.
  • History Comes Alive in the Graveyard — Colonial Williamsburg provides this lesson for exploring history through cemetery exploration.
  • History Trail: Local History — This British site provides an interactive introduction to doing local history, with special attention to tracing the history of a factory, studying changes in the landscape, and looking at small and large communities.
  • If These Walls Could Speak — The Atlanta History Center looks at four historic homes and the lives of the families that lived there.
  • Indivisible: Stories of American Community — Through photographs and excerpts from interviews, this site documents an aspect of the history of 12 communities: how citizens have worked to improve them. Also provided is an educator's guide on how to create a documentary record of local events. A collaborative of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.
  • Kids’ Guide to Local Culture — The Madison Children’s Museum provides this handbook for studying the culture of the local community.
  • Local Legacies — Members of Congress initiated this project to document “the creative arts, crafts, and customs representing traditional community life”; in all, 1300 community projects are spotlighted.
  • Long Island: Our Story — Newsday provides a comprehensive local history site from which a great deal can be learned about the larger history of the nation; the site could also be a model for other communities wishing to create local history sites.
  • MARIAL: Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life — Interesting articles about the role of stories in family life.
  • Mark Twain’s Mississippi River — A look at the history of the Mississippi in Mark Twain’s time. From Northern Illinois University.
  • Ordinary Landscapes (PDF-1.27MB) — The Environmental Literacy Council presents this “how-to guide for researching the environmental history of your local community.”
  • People Finder — The Minnesota Historical Society provides useful tools for researching family history. While some information is Minnesota-specific, the strategies are more widely applicable.
  • Preservation Organizations — Huge set of links to state and local historical societies and preservation organizations.
  • — Billing itself as the “oldest and largest free genealogy site,” RootsWeb provides background on and tools for conducting family research, as well as numerous links.
  • Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project — A multimedia documentation of civil rights and labor history in Seattle. From the University of Washington.
  • Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide — Directions and forms for conducting oral history interviews.
  • Talking History: The American Family — In September 2001, the Organization of American Historians' radio program Talking History featured a discussion of family history with Steven Mintz, followed by commentary by Stephanie Coontz; both are noted family historians.
  • Teaching with Historic Places — This site from the National Park Service provides tools teachers can use to create learning experiences based on historic places in their local communities.
  • Teaching Tools for Local History — Templates and suggestions for using such resources as artifacts, town and city records, census records, and more to teach local history.
  • Through Our Parents’ Eyes — This site provides rich historical information about a locality—Southern Arizona—through local histories, information about ethnic groups in the area, and teaching materials. A good model for local history sites.
  • Understanding Old Buildings: The Process of Architectural Investigation — A detailed guide for historic research in old buildings. One of a series of Preservation Briefs from the National Park Service.
  • Young Archaeologists’ Clubs: Factsheets — This British site provides detailed information on investigating buildings as a way of learning about local history.