Educators Smithsonian Education
Smithsonian Education Virtual Conference Series - Abraham Lincoln
Session Information
"Lincoln's Deathbed: Images of a Martyred President"
In this online session, Smithsonian historian Pamela M. Henson examines how the public first heard of President Abraham Lincoln's death and how Lincoln's death was portrayed in popular images. Participants will view and listen to the diary of Mary Henry, daughter of Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, as she describes her own reactions and the stories she heard about Lincoln's last moments. Participants will compare her diary with news accounts of the assassination, and popular paintings and lithographs of the deathbed scene to uncover what Lincoln's death meant to the American public. Participants will also learn how to evaluate primary and secondary sources in a variety of media – a diary, newspapers and visual images, analyze the symbolic meanings attached to important events, and draw conclusions about Lincoln's role in 19th century American ideas. The session will be of interest to teachers and students of history at any level and will be of particular interest to those interested in popular responses to important historical events. The confusion, misinformation, and symbolism surrounding this national trauma can be used to teach students how to critically evaluate information in their own lives.

The recording of Pam Henson’s session entitled "Lincoln’s Deathbed: Images of a Martyred President" is available for your review at any time.

“Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life”
Through a selection of images of nationally important Lincoln artifacts, participants will explore the life and times of this extraordinary figure. Each object will convey an aspect of Lincoln’s character and experiences. The presentation is based on a new exhibition of the same name showcasing more than 60 historical treasures associated with Lincoln’s life from an iron wedge he used to split wood in the early 1830s in New Salem, Ill., to his iconic top hat he wore the night he was shot at Ford’s Theatre (both of which will be discussed during this session). The webcast - led by Harry Rubenstein, chair of the Division of Politics and Reform at the National Museum of American History - will tell a new and very intimate story of the life and legacy of this remarkable individual.

The recording of Harry Rubenstein’s session entitled "Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life" is available for your review at any time.

“Stamp Stories: Philatelic Images of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War”
In this online workshop, Museum Educator Jeff Meade uses images on United States postage stamps to create topical stamp collections based on the theme of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War history. Postage stamps contain a vast array of images commemorating President Lincoln, important Civil War figures and moments of history relating to the tumultuous Civil War era.

Teachers in Meade’s workshop create virtual stamp collections available in the Postal Museum’s on-line digital collection. This digital collection, named Arago, contains images of every U.S. stamp as well as nearly thirteen thousand objects from the Postal Operations collection. The Arago website allows users to create their own collections of digital images which can then be sorted into particular topics. Combining real stamp collecting with the images found in Arago provides teachers excellent opportunities to engage students in new and creative ways, with an emphasis on visual thinking strategies. Participants of the workshop build their own Arago collections based on suggested Civil War themes, then debate in realtime the relevance of their images with other virtual participants. Participants may even suggest the topics, showing how flexible and adaptable the program is for classroom teaching.

The recording of Jeff Meade’s session entitled "Stamp Stories: Philatelic Images of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War" is available for your review at any time.

“One Life: The Mask of Lincoln”
In this online Keynote address based on a current exhibition of the same name at the National Portrait Gallery, historian and exhibition curator David C. Ward examines how Abraham Lincoln used the new art of photography to convey his image to Americans, letting them see in him what they most desired. Like the exhibit, Ward's session draws on the Portrait Gallery's extensive collection of Lincoln portraits, a collection that charts Lincoln’s passage from a fresh-faced Illinois congressman to his grizzled isolation as president. The session will be of interest to teachers and students of history at any level, and to anyone who is intrigued by the power of images and the media to "brand" ideas, connect with people, and move public opinion. What we can learn from Lincoln's use of imagery is especially relevant today, and this presentation will provide many faces of Lincoln for participants to ponder.

The recording of Davd Ward’s session entitled "One Life: The Mask of Lincoln" is available for your review at any time.

Classroom Applications of “One Life: The Mask of Lincoln”
In this session, participants will be introduced to the idea of reading portraiture and, in this case, what a portrait might say about Abraham Lincoln and they era in which he lived. They will utilize what they learned from David Ward in the previous session and the Portrait Gallery’s “One Life: The Mask of Lincoln” exhibition to brainstorm lesson ideas for classroom instruction.

The recording of Briana Zavadil White’s session entitled "One Life: The Mask of Lincoln – Classroom Applications" is available for your review at any time.

"Mr. Lincoln’s Air Force"
Abraham Lincoln nursed a life-long fascination with technology. William Herndon, his friend and law partner, called attention to his "decided bent toward machinery or mechanical appliances.” Lincoln is the only President to have been awarded a patent; handled several patent cases during his years as an attorney; and offered public lectures on invention and innovation. During the American Civil War President Lincoln seldom missed an opportunity to investigate new weapons, or to sponsor what seemed to him to be a useful innovation. In the summer of 1861, at the urging of Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, Lincoln made the acquaintance of balloonist T.S.C. Lowe, and witnessed demonstrations of the role that observation balloons might play in providing improved reconnaissance for the Union Army. The President not only encouraged Lowe’s plan to form a Balloon Corps to serve with the Army of the Potomac, but intervened on his behalf when military officials proved less than enthusiastic about the experiment. With the help of the President, Lowe was able to create and equip the Balloon Corps, which saw extensive service from 1861 to 1863. Students and teachers at a variety of levels will find something of interest and value in this session, which will explore the problems encountered in introducing a conservative military establishment to a new technology. In the process, we will shed new light on an unfamiliar side of Abraham Lincoln.

The recording of Tom Crouch’s session entitled "Mr. Lincoln’s Air Force" is available for your review at any time.

Public and Private Photography During the Civil War
Like photography today, photography during the Civil War had many functions, from private to public. The session will examine a variety of Civil War-related photography from the Photographic History Collection with the goal of gaining a greater understanding of how photography was incorporated into everyday lives, and how we value those photographs today as historical objects. Objects will include the 1860 Rutgers college yearbook that belonged to Texan George McNeel; Alexander Gardner’s Sketchbook of the War; glass-plate negatives by Brady’s studio of Lincoln’s Cabinet; the portrait of a Union washerwoman; and Lincoln portraits incorporated into cartes-de-visite albums.

The recording of Shannon Thomas Perich’s session entitled "Public and Private Photography During the Civil War" is available for your review at any time.

The Enduring Emancipation: From President Lincoln to President Obama

For a nation at war over slavery, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was inevitable. Its timing and content, however, were not without great struggle. The “how” of the proclamation was just as critical as the “when,” but it began a chain of events that changed not just our Constitution but the face of the nation. Lonnie Bunch, Founding Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, will examine Lincoln’s challenges to introduce a document that became a cornerstone event for communities of all races for generations to come.

The recording of Paul Gardullo and Candra Flanagan’s session entitled "The Enduring Emancipation: From President Lincoln to President Obama" is available for your review at any time.

“Sharing of Lesson Ideas”
During this session, Smithsonian Teacher Ambassador and Maryland Teacher of the Year (2007) Michelle Hammond facilitates a discussion among participants of lesson ideas involving Lincoln, and shares a few ideas of her own.

Online Conference participants will undoubtedly be buzzing with ideas after two days of learning about Abraham Lincoln in the online company of Smithsonian curators and educators. This session will foster dialogue among those attending about how best to integrate the lessons of Lincoln, his life and times into the classroom.

The recording of Michelle Hammond’s session entitled "Sharing of Lesson Ideas" is available for your review at any time.

Abraham Lincoln Stamp

Smithsonian National Postal Museum
Richard Kurin

Listen to a conversation with Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian's Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, about the connections between the Smithsonian, Lincoln, and Obama.

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