“Object lessons” have become fairly popular in studying history, and they’re great to use in class. The ones available online can be used as models for students — why not have them create their own histories of the U.S., their native countries, or even their families in 10 or so “objects”?

Here are some of those models:

A History of the World in 100 objects is from the British Museum. Here are connected resources from the BBC.

The New York Times has published an interactive A History Of New York In 50 Objects.

What Objects Tell the Story of Your Life? is from The New York Times Learning Network.

The New York Times has published a column on this phenomena and headlined it Object Lessons in History.

Here’s a post I wrote about an intriguing version called Disobedient Objects.

Documents That Changed The World is a different “take” on the idea.

Famous NYC Tenement Museum Expands Physical Facility & Online Site

Confronting Racist Objects is an interactive from The New York Times.

What It Means To Be An American is an interactive from the Smithsonian:

Upload a photograph of an object in your home and explain what it tells us about your family’s American story and why it belongs in the collections of the National Museum of American History.

‘Mysteries at the Museum’ Offers Engaging History Lessons is by Starr Sackstein at Ed Week. She offers some good lesson ideas for how students can use family artifacts, and the stories behind them, in class.

The story of this topic – in 50 objects! is from Russel Tarr.

Teaching With Objects: Resources is from Ohio State University.

My Piece of History is from EDSITEment.

Historical objects tell African-American story is from CNN.


Looking at Artifacts, Thinking about History is from The National Museum of American History.

101 Objects that Made America: America in the World is from Smithsonian Magazine.

Teaching History with 100 Objects

Time capsule 2020: The 37 objects that defined the year is from the BBC.

International Women’s Day: The objects that empower me is from the BBC.

Many Voices, One Nation is an online Smithsonian exhibition that highlights objects from its collection to highlight historically the different “voices” that make-up the U.S.

Video: Using “Objects” To Tell A Story

George Bush’s Life in 13 Objects is from The NY Times.


How to Engage Students in Historical Thinking Using Everyday Objects is from Edutopia.

Vaccine vials and a virtual hug: a history of coronavirus in 15 objects is from The Guardian.

Daily Artifacts of U.S. History is from Richard Byrne.

“Memory Of The World” Is An Interesting New Addition To Google Arts & Culture

You might also be interested in The Best “Lists Of Lists” Of Influential People, Events & Ideas.

Using “Object Based Learning” In The Classroom

Turning Students Into Bold Historical Thinkers an exceptional piece in Edutopia. It lists several ideas, which is why I’m adding it to several “Best” lists.