Best of History Websites
Greg Feldmeth’s US History resources
AP Central (College Board)
An outstanding and invaluable site for American history and general studies. Contains primary and secondary documents, exhibits, map collections, prints and photographs, sound recordings and motion pictures. The LOC’s American Memory Historical Collections, a must-see, contains the bulk of digitalized materials, but the Exhibitions Gallery is enticing and informative as well. The LOC also offers a Learning Page that provides activities, tools, ideas, and features for educators and students.
Center for History and New Media: History Matters
A production of the American Social History Project/Center of Media and Learning, City of University New York, and the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, History Matters is a wonderful online resource for history teachers and students. Among the many digital resources are lesson plans, syllabi, links, and exhibits. The Center for History and New Media”s resources include a list of “best” web sites, links to syllabi and lesson plans, essays on history and new media, a link to their excellent History Matters web site for U.S. History, and more. Resources are designed to benefit professional historians, high school teachers, and students of history.
This impressive site from Steven Mintz at the University of Houston includes an up-to-date U.S. history textbook; annotated primary sources on United States, Mexican American, and Native American history, and slavery; and succinct essays on the history of ethnicity and immigration, film, private life, and science and technology. Visual histories of Lincoln’s America and America’s Reconstruction contain text by Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney. The Doing History feature lets users reconstruct the past through the voices of children, gravestones, advertising, and other primary sources. Reference resources include classroom handouts, chronologies, encyclopedia articles, glossaries, and an audio-visual archive including speeches, book talks and e-lectures by historians, and historical maps, music, newspaper articles, and images. The site’s Ask the HyperHistorian feature allows users to pose questions to professional historians.
A great source for information on a myriad of historical events and personalities. PBS’s assorted and diverse web exhibits supplement their television series and generally include a summary of each episode, interviews (often with sound bites), a timeline, primary sources, a glossary, photos, maps, and links to relevant sites. PBS productions include American Experience, Frontline and People’s Century. Go to the PBS Teacher Source for lessons and activities — arranged by topic.
The CNN Archives feature special in-depth reports on key current American (and World) events, issues and personalities. Most special reports supply historical overviews, articles, photographs, timelines or chronologies, video clips, maps, interviews, sources and more.
Here are five excellent, engaging and activity-oriented sites on U.S. History:
Do History: Martha Ballard
DoHistory is an interactive site that presents students with historical documents and engages them in the art of “doing” history. Based upon the 200 year old diary of colonial midwife Martha Ballard, DoHistory includes a searchable copy of Ballard’s diary and thousands of original documents. DoHistory was developed and is maintained by the Film Study Center at Harvard University and is hosted and maintained by the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University.
The Valley of the Shadow
The Valley of the Shadow depicts two communities, one Northern (Franklin County, Pennsylvania) and one Southern (Augusta County, Virginia), through the experience of the American Civil War. Students explore the conflict via the thousands of sources for the period before, during, and after the Civil War for Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. They can write their own histories or reconstruct the histories of others. The project is intended for secondary schools, community colleges, libraries, and universities.
Race for the Super Bomb (PBS)
There are some quirky but fascinating features at this site, including a Panic Quiz and a Nuclear Blast Map. Visitors to the site can simulate the drop of 50s-era atomic bombs on American cities and get death and damage reports. Visitors are also treated to interviews, film footage of explosions, a map of target sites in the U.S., a weapons stockpile list for 1945 to 1997, a timeline, primary sources, transcripts, a teacher’s guide and a people and events section
The Sport of Life and Death
The Sport of Life and Death was voted Best Overall Site for 2002 by Museums and the Web and has won a slew of other web awards. The site is based on a traveling exhibition now showing at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey and bills itself as “an online journey into the ancient spectacle of athletes and gods.” The Sport of Life and Death features dazzling special effects courtesy of Macromedia Flash technology and its overall layout and organization are superb. There are helpful interactive maps, timelines, and samples of artwork in the Explore the Mesoamerican World section. The focus of the site, however, is the Mesoamerican ballgame, the oldest organized sport in history. The sport is explained through a beautiful and engaging combination of images, text, expert commentary, and video. Visitors can even compete in a contest!
War Against Terror
Classroom Lesson Plans: Teaching About 9-11
(History News Network)
Historians Debate Iraq
History News Network
Democracy: a Cure for Terrorism?
(History News Network)
Quotes From History Relevant to Today’s News
(History News Network)
Eavesdropping Without Warrants
(History News Network)
Primary Source Resources
100 Milestone American Documents:
American Charters of Freedom:
American Cultural Documents:
American Historical Documents – 1000 to 1904:
American Rhetoric – Speech Bank:
American Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy:
Annotated Constitution of the United States:
Great Books of the Western World:
History Channel – Great Speeches:
* Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents:
Living Room Candidate:
Lincoln / Douglas Debates:
* Presidential Campaign Commercials – 1952 to 2004:
* The Complete Anti-Federalist Writings:
* The Complete Federalist Papers:
* The Founders Constitution:
* The Library of Liberty:
Works of Abraham Lincoln:
Works of H. L. Mencken:
Works of Henry David Thoreau:
Works of Thomas Paine:
Works of Jonathan Edwards:
Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Works of William James:
Other Helpfull Websites