National Archives launches

Teachers, students, and U.S. history buffs take note: the National Archives has a new site for exploring its rich holdings. brings to life thousands of primary source documents like maps, photographs, letters, charts, audio, and video. You can browse the material, or use customizable, interactive learning tools to deepen the experience.

The Documents pages are organized by historical era from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. With a click or two you can find an inventory of Robert E. Lee’s property or a childhood photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt–no need to go to Washington or delve into musty stacks.

The Activities pages hold the repertory of seven teaching tools; educators can get their students to engage in “finding a sequence,” “mapping history,” or “weighing evidence.” These activities are templates that include learning objectives and teaching tips. The site includes some ready-made activities to get teachers started. Once you’ve registered with the site, you can save the activities you’ve created. Students can go online to participate, or you can print activities in hardcopy. is free for all to use. And it might just make you smarter.

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