At Wisconsin 101, we believe that objects can help us learn and tell stories about the past. An “object history” tells stories about the past by starting with an object. Objects document past events and remind us of the thoughts, values, and experiences of people long gone. They also help us explore the links between distant events and processes. Wisconsin 101’s stories can bring a local touch and provide a new window into familiar historical events. You can search for objects on our site a few ways:
- By location: Use the map on our homepage to find objects and stories from across the state.
- By subject: Use the menu bar at the top of the page to find objects and stories on subjects such as Art, Sports & Entertainment, Manufacturing & Trade, and Science & Medicine.
- By period: Use the menu bar at the top of the page to find objects and stories from specific time periods.
Classroom Lesson Plans
These lesson plans can help you engage students with object history:
- Object Analysis: This plan guides students through analyzing an object as a primary source.
- Developing Skills in Object History: This plan asks students to make connections between an object and historical themes, and could culminate in submitting stories to Your Story in Objects.
- Viewing an Object from Multiple Perspectives: This activity encourages students to consider how different people or groups could view the same object differently.
- Classroom Museum: This group activity asks students to group related objects and craft meta-narrative connecting them.
- Finding and Comparing Primary Sources: This plan prompts students to select related primary sources from Wisconsin 101 and Recollection Wisconsin and draw connections between them.
Thinking Outside the Box
Sometimes we think that history is just a bunch of dates, names, and places related to politics and nations, but it can be absolutely anything!
Sources for Historical Research
This video defines primary and secondary sources. It also shows how you can use them to help you with your research process.
Resources for Educators
Some suggested links for additional resources for creating lesson plans:
- Wisconsin First Nations: Educational videos, teacher professional development resources, lesson plans for all grades, and learning tools for the classroom.
- Recollection Wisconsin: This site brings together digital cultural heritage resources from Wisconsin libraries, archives, museums and historical societies and shares them with the world in partnership with the Digital Public Library of America.
- Wisconsin Historical Society: Resources to empower curiosity by creating spaces for listening to different voices, sharing ideas, and exploring Wisconsin’s past, present, and future.
- PBS Wisconsin Education: Free to use, standards-aligned, Wisconsin-focused media for grades PreK-12, including videos, games, interactive content, educator guides, and more.
- Smithsonian’s History Explorer: Educational resources from the National Museum of American History.