Part 3: Using Collections to Think About Immigration with the Smithsonian Learning Lab

After visiting three Affiliate communities in 2018, the staff at the Smithsonian Learning Lab wrapped-up their Teacher Creativity Studios at the City of Austin Asian American Resource Center (AARC), a Smithsonian Affiliate in Austin, Texas. As mentioned in Part 1, the goal was to increase digital access to museum collections and inspire students to investigate the world around them using objects, documents, videos and more, all available for free online. In this final installment, Hanna Huang, culture and arts education coordinator and acting supervisor at the Asian American Resource Center, shares her project, Austin’s Asian American Pacific Islander Roots.

Smithsonian Learning Lab in AustinThe AARC partnered with the Austin History Center to define Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) programming. Huang sees each AAPI community as special and unique in its makeup, much like the many cultures, ethnicities, and languages that comprise what we know as AAPI. To share this with a wider audience, the partners worked with the Learning Lab to create a collection for teachers based on a revived exhibition that covers Asian Pacific American history in Austin from the late 1800s past the 1980s.

As you work your way through, you can not only see all the images and texts from our exhibit but also find learning tools to help you with teaching topics such as Asian Pacific American history, immigration, Texas history, primary/secondary sources, and more!

Read Huang’s full blog– Austin’s Asian American Pacific Islander Rootshere.

And don’t forget about Part 1 and Part 2 in our Learning Lab Series!

Want to see more Learning Lab in Affiliate neighborhoods? Check out these blogs from past workshops at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh: Supporting Digital Innovation in Education with the Learning Lab
Every Collection Tells a Story
Creative Introduction to Geography
Smithsonian’s Home in Pittsburgh
Creating with the Learning Lab
Teach Digital Curation with Depth

The Teacher Creativity Studio program received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

f you are interested in learning more about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and how it could help your museum support teachers and students in your community, contact your National Outreach Manager.

Part 2: Using Collections to Think About Immigration with the Smithsonian Learning Lab

In Part 1 of our Smithsonian Learning Lab series we took you to the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the Lowell National Historical Park, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Lowell, Massachusetts, where teachers were exploring the question “Who belongs?” (You can read the full blog here.) This time we’re headed to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, another Smithsonian Affiliate in Seattle, Washington, to explore immigration through the lens of Chinese immigrants.

Wing Luke Learning Lab title pageIn his blog Beneath the Text: Analyzing Letters from Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, Rahul Gupta, education and tours director at The Wing, developed his first Learning Lab gallery using the museum’s collection of letters to to discuss three areas of immigration– “push” and “pull” factors that bring immigrants to the country or that reject their presence, and the letters’ style, writing and format.

I am often amazed at what I learn at this job every single day—and this project opened my understanding of the personal impact of colonialism, Chinese nationalism, gender relationships, and changing gender roles—and more and more. There are brilliant gems within our museum collection, and I am restlessly waiting to place more of these archives and artifacts into the hands of teachers and students around the country.

Read his blog and view his Learning Lab collection here.

The Teacher Creativity Studio program received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

If you are interested in learning more about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and how it could help your museum support teachers and students in your community, contact your National Outreach Manager.

Part 1: Using Collections to Think About Immigration with the Smithsonian Learning Lab

In 2017-2018 a collaboration among Smithsonian Affiliations, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access brought the Teacher Creativity Studios: Fostering Global Competence in the Classroom project to 3 Affiliate communities. The nationwide professional development project for educators is designed to develop new instructional materials and content highlighting Asian Pacific American experiences within K-12 humanities subject areas.

Teacher creating Learning Lab collection

Learning Lab workshop at the Tsongas Industrial History Center. Photo by Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Smithsonian Affiliates worked with local teachers to create multimedia lessons on the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab portal that integrated resources from the Smithsonian and other participating museums into teaching materials and lesson plans. The goal was to increase digital access to museum collections and inspire students to investigate the world around them using objects, documents, videos and more, all available for free online.

A teacher in Lowell, MA, did just that. Laura Lamarre Anderson, Grade 4 Teacher at STEM Academy at the Rogers School, participated in a workshop at the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the Lowell National Historical Park, a Smithsonian Affiliate, to explore the question of “Who Belongs?” with her students. Below is an excerpt from a blog she wrote for the Smithsonian Learning Lab. You can read the whole blog here.

In a city like Lowell, rich with a constant flow of immigrants moving in from all over the world, the question of “who belongs” comes up frequently. After facing discrimination themselves, some second- and third-generation Irish immigrants railed against the newcomers who came after. And the cycle continues with each new group of immigrants facing challenges to their rights to be here. Several students in my classroom have come up against challenges to their right to be in Massachusetts, their right to be called American, because of where they or their parents were born. With this in mind, I tried to choose images that reflect the challenges of immigration, that would help generate conversations about how people were welcomed at different points in our history, and that help us to begin thinking about what it means to be an American.

Teacher Creativity Studios workshops are funded by the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool at the Smithsonian.

If you are interested in learning more about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and how it could help your museum support teachers and students in your community, contact your National Outreach Manager.