Close-up of the bull seal from the Indus Valley Civilization

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Overall A History of the World in 100 Objects is a great resource to teach world history through visual culture in an accessible and succinct format for both school and college-level classes.

Abstention Rate in Napoleonic Plebiscites


All regions of France did not support Napoleon equally. His rule aroused most enthusiasm in the east (a prerevolutionary border region crucial in the Napoleonic wars) and the center of the country, least in the west, which had long provided a home to royalist counterrevolution.
Abstension rate in Napoleonic plebiscites (shaded areas = those where the abstention rate exceeded 80 percent... 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

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.

Africae tabula noua


This standard map of Africa came from a popular Atlas in the late sixteenth century. In a dramatic age of exploration, new information poured in from around the world through books and travel accounts that artists and geographers, like Abraham Ortelius, used to craft beautifully detailed maps of far off lands. By compiling the host of detailed descriptions before them and perhaps even their... Read More »

Map of Africa thumbnail image

Afriterra, The Cartographic Free Library

The maps can be used as important teaching tools for courses on many topics: African history; Atlantic World history; the slave trade; the era of European expansion; environmental history; and military history.
Graph showing the mean price of enslaved people by their origin

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy, 1718-1820

The Slave Database offers information on more than 100,000 slaves and the Free Database has records on more than 4,000 slave manumissions.
A drawing shows the continent of South American with South at the top.

America Invertida (Inverted America)


We generally expect maps to convey the location of oceans and land masses accurately. But why do almost all maps and globes position North at the top and South at the bottom, when there is no up or down orientation of the universe? Furthermore, items located at the top of an image are usually understood to have more importance than those at the bottom, creating a hierarchical ordering of the... Read More »

Phelps mourning embroidery from American Centuries' collections.  It shows two people visiting a grave flanked by weeping willows.

American Centuries

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.
Mercator projection

Analyzing Maps


The modules in Methods present case studies that demonstrate how scholars interpret different kinds of historical evidence in world history. In the video historian Gerald Danzer analyzes maps of the world. In the primary sources menu below, you can examine two world maps two maps of the world. The first, a Mercator projection, probably seems familiar to you because Mercator maps are among the... Read More »

Analyzing Maps


The map is one of the oldest forms of nonverbal communication. Humans were probably drawing maps before they were writing texts. Mapmaking may even predate formal language. As far as historians and geographers can determine, every culture in every part of the world uses and makes maps. This deep lineage reflects the descriptive usefulness of a map—a map is one of the best proofs that a “... Read More »