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Image thumbnail of Boys' Initiation Mask (keweke)

Boys' Initiation Mask (keweke)

Source

This mask worn by boys during initiation rituals in Papua New Guinea is made of painted bark cloth and canvas stretched over a cane frame. The long fiber fringe adds movement to the mask, which is worn during dances and other secret rituals that that comprise boyhood initiation rites. These rituals often involve disguises, as initiates endure trials, receive food and drink from villagers, and... Read More »

Close up image of Arabic script on a gold coin

A gold dinar of Abd al-Malik minted in Damascus in 697/98

Source

Historians use coins to find evidence of change over time. This dinar coined in 697 or 698 was minted in Damascus by the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn. Compared to a coin minted by the same state only a few years earlier we notice an interesting difference. Whereas the earlier coin features an image of the... Read More »

Thumbnail image shows an ruins of an ancient temple with 6 tiers

A PreColumbian Portfolio: An Archive of Photographs

Review
Each database record includes a caption, a brief (about 20-word) description, and information on the culture associated with the artifact, such as Maya, Olmec, or Zapotec.
pampers thumbnail

Activity: Material Culture and Childhood (20th c.)

Teaching

Childhood is an ever-changing concept that varies from culture to culture across time and space, yet people often think of childhood as universal. Teaching students about children in the past is often a challenging endeavor for this very reason. I have developed an exercise that uses the material culture designed for children's care and use—diapers, baby food, clothing, toys—in order to... Read More »

Image from the collection titled "Making Pottery at Kwilu" taken by Robert E. Smith in the 1960s.  It shows a woman kneeling over a clay bowl she is sculpting with her hands.

Africa Focus: Sights and Sounds of a Continent

Review
By using the search filters effectively, teachers can have students compare and contrast various images of worship, schooling, work, and landscapes to highlight the vast cultural and ecological diversity of Africa.
Phelps mourning embroidery from American Centuries' collections.  It shows two people visiting a grave flanked by weeping willows.

American Centuries

Review
A section of the site called "In the Classroom" offers numerous lesson plans for elementary and middle-school teachers, some written by museum employees and some by schoolteachers themselves, using materials in the online exhibits.
A woman kneels and holds a piece of stone at an archeological site

Analyzing Material Objects

Methods

The modules in Methods present case studies that demonstrate how scholars interpret different kinds of historical evidence in world history. This module developed by historian Daniel Waugh explores how historians interpret material objects to better understand the past. Examples of objects include Turkish water jugs and Byzantine coins among others. Waugh introduces the kinds of questions... Read More »

Thumbnail image of statue

Ancient Greek Adolescent Girls at Play

Source

This small (5.5 inches high) terracotta sculpture was made in Greek southern Italy in the late fourth century BCE. It depicts two adolescent girls playing the game of "knucklebones" (astragaloi in Greek). The game was usually played like the modern game of "jacks": one threw the knucklebones in the air and attempted to catch as many as possible. They were also used like modern "dice." Each of... Read More »

Ancient Greek Girl Athlete

Source

This unusual bronze figurine of a female runner was possibly made in or near Sparta, Greece, between 520-500 BCE. Ancient Sparta was the only Greek city-state that provided girls with public schooling including physical education. Girls were praised for their swiftness and likened to prized racehorses in choral songs (called partheneia) sung by girls' choruses in Sparta and elsewhere. Spartan... Read More »

Thumbnail of sheep shaped cake mold

Animal Baking Mold

Source

This hollow cast iron container is a baking mold used for shaping bread or cake for children, according to archaeologists. It was excavated with a similar elephant mold. The mold is from the excavation of Hallado en al-Fudyan in Jordan, dated to the 8th century CE, during the Umayyad Islamic period. The mold is 17 cm high, 16.5 cm wide, and 6 cm deep (6.7 x 6.5 x 2.4 inches). The two hinges... Read More »

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