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U.S. History Resources

Graphic for curriculum support for social studies

Teaching the Colorado Academic Standards in social studies is supported through a wide array of free instructional resources. This webpage lists just a few of these resources and will be updated regularly.

If you are an educator in Colorado and have suggestions for a great free resource please email Stephanie Hartman.

The resources provided on this website are intended to provide a quick access list for educators to use in a way that supports their instructional planning. Provided resources should be previewed and used with teacher discretion. Because this page contains resources outside of the CDE website, CDE cannot control changes in outside content and listing these resources does not indicate an endorsement by the Colorado Department of Education. 

American Beginnings
A website full of historical documents, literary texts, and works of art pertaining to the European presence in North America from 1492-1690.

American Museum of Western Art -- The Anschutz Collection
The American Museum of Western Art—The Anschutz Collection is a local art museum in Denver. You will be surprised to see more than cowboys and landscapes on view. The three floors of galleries reveal a range of styles and subject matter, from the historic to the contemporary. They invite you to step back into the American West and allow western art to take you on a journey to discover which of the 300 paintings speak to you the most. Their goal is to educate and communicate the cross-section of art and history within Western American history from the early 19th century to present day.

Anti-Defamation League
Founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias curricula for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

Beyond the Bubble: History Assessments of Thinking
Developed by the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), Beyond the Bubble is the cornerstone of SHEG’s membership in the Library of Congress’s Teaching with Primary Sources Educational Consortium. Beyond the Bubble offers easy-to-use assessments that capture students’ knowledge in action – rather than their recall of discrete facts

The Civil War Trust: Battles in Action Animated Maps
A collection of animated maps bring battles of the American Civil War to life, complete with troop movement animations, narratives, video, and more.

Digital History
This site includes primary sources, digital timelines, virtual exhibits, classroom handouts, and lesson plans for teaching U.S. history.

Digital Public Library of America
This site includes primary sources, primary source sets, and an abundance of additional resources from libraries, museums, and across from across the country.

The National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) - The site enables educators to find and create interactive learning activities with primary source documents. Learn how to use this innovative tool with these detailed how-to videos on YouTube.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. Drawing on the 70,000 documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection and an extensive network of eminent historians, the Institute provides teachers, students, and the general public with direct access to unique primary source materials.

History & Politics Out Loud
This is an awesome site that has audio recordings of hundreds of historical and political speeches. For example, you can listen to Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech or Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream Speech.

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center 
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center offers a wide variety of virtual educator resources, including Virtual Field Trips, Virtual Teaching Trunks, Virtual Professional Development, and online classroom lessons. IHMEC supports educators in creating a meaningful and effective Holocaust and genocide studies unit. 

Island of the Blue Dolphins - The National Parks Service
Chapter summaries of the book, interactive maps of the island, and free teacher resources to support the teaching of the novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Library of Congress
The Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections in their teaching. This includes primary sources sets – a compilation of primary sources from the LOC on a variety of topics from Abraham Lincoln to baseball.

Library of Congress: American Memory Collection
This collection includes historic maps, photos, original documents, and audio and video clips. The collection is sorted by topic.

101 Maps for US History
This site provides a comprehensive list of 101 thematic maps for teaching United States history.

Mizel Museum
An educational, nonprofit organization, is Denver’s only museum that addresses today’s social justice issues through the lens of Jewish history and values. We encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate diversity and equality and to combat discrimination and hatred. Our programs, events and exhibits address these and other social issues and encourage positive change in our communities.

National Archives and Records Administration
The NARA site includes the "National Archives Experience"; an online database of historical documents, online exhibits, links to the Presidential Libraries, and a new exhibit of eyewitness accounts to events in American history.

National Gallery of Art: Uncovering America
What does it mean to be an American?  Discover compelling stories of creativity, struggle, and resilience in this new set of resources for K-12 educators featuring works of art that reflect the richness and diversity of the people, places, and cultures of the United States.  Encourage creative, critical, and historical thinking in students through the examination of works of art from the country's creation to the present day.

National History Day in Colorado
National History Day in Colorado (NHDC) is an academic program at the University of Colorado Denver benefiting Colorado middle and high school students. Students choose historical topics related to an annual theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries.

National History Education Clearinghouse
National History Education Clearinghouse is designed to help K–12 history teachers access resources and materials to improve U.S. history education in the classroom. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for History and New Media (CHNM), was created with the goal of making history content, teaching strategies, resources, and research accessible.

National Museum of American History: A Smithsonian Museum
The educator's page from the Smithsonian provides a wealth of information about using the Museum of American History's resources in the classroom.

National Park Services: Teaching with History Places
New resources to support the use of historic places in education.  Consists of authentic remnants of the past, real historic places form both an emotional and intellectual bridge to the past, sparking the interest and curiosity that promotes student learning.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial
The National World War I Museum and Memorial is America's leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The site provides free curriculum materials for teaching about WWI.

Newseum Education
The Newseum offers free learning tools on media literacy and the freedoms of the First Amendment.

Smithsonian Learning Lab
The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access created the Smithsonian Learning Lab to inspire the discovery and creative use of its rich digital materials—more than a million images, recordings, and texts.

Stanford History Education Group
SHEG offers numerous lessons in world history and U.S. history using primary sources as the focus. These lessons engage students in "thinking like a historian." Additionally, there are assessments that capture students’ knowledge in action – rather than their recall of discrete facts.

The TeachRock Project brings multimedia materials to teacher and students at no cost.  The lesson plan collections and resources help teachers engage students by connecting the history of popular music to classroom work across the disciplines. There are more than 150 Lessons Plans at TeachRock.  The CORE LESSONS explore the interconnected histories of popular music and American culture from the 19th century to the present. The SPECIAL COLLECTIONS are constructed alongside documentaries, feature films, and with other partners. Both categories are brimming with engaging resources and exciting classroom activities for teachers of all ages and disciplines.

Teaching American History
A compilation of letters, speeches, documents, etc. on significant people and events in American political thought and history.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. The museum has numerous resources for teaching about the Holocaust, as well as resources for teaching anti-Semitism.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF)
 The organization that founded the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall, has FREE curriculum materials that are available to Colorado teachers to teach Vietnam in their classroom. The Echoes From The Wall curriculum set on the Vietnam war and era comes complete with 14 different lesson plans that include background readings, in-class and extension activities tied to national learning standards, and lecture presentations incorporating primary source audio and video that can be presented in the classroom. The lesson plans cover a range of topics, from Motivations for US Involvement to the Legacy of the War in Vietnam. You can review and download individual lesson plans or the full curriculum set.