Quick Family Heirloom Assignment

Students will locate an object and will write a museum-style record including the provenance, physical description, personal history and memories, date or era, photographs, the importance to American history from 1865-today, and a three source bibliography for the object they select.

If no family objects are available, students may use an object ( family heirlooms for which can be used as primary sources) from 1865-today found in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution Archives, or another reputable museum.

The paper must be at least 3 pages, with an additional bibliography page, utilize the template below, include photographs, be double-spaced, have margins of 1-inch, and include page numbers. The paper must be submitted as a Word document.

Explanation of sections:

1) Provenance: the earliest known history of the object. This should explain where the object came from including any previous owners, how it came to be owned by your family, where it was located before, where it was purchased/acquired, etc. This should explain a background of the object, but not a physical description of the object itself.

2) Physical description: This section should include measurements and dimensions, colors, materials the object is made of, and the condition of the object. Be sure to include as many specifics about the object as you can, so that the reader can picture what the object looks like.

3) Personal history and memories: This section can be used to share any family anecdotes surrounding the object or other memories. Example: a child accidentally knocked-over the object, causing the large crack down the middle, or the family Bible was signed by two brothers, one chose to stay in Germany in 1938, while the other moved to the United States.

4) Date or era: This section can be brief. Be as specific as possible in listing when the object was from. Use complete sentences.

5) Importance to American History from 1865-today: This final section should include an evaluation of why you believe this object is important to American history and why. Include examples of why the object you chose was beneficial to the American people who owned it or how the story this object tells is helpful in showing the reader what American life was like at the time for those who originally owned the object when it was new.

6) Photographs: Photos of the object must be included in the Word document submission. This can be on its own page.

7) Bibliography: At least three scholarly sources (books, journal articles, or scholarly websites) must be included. These sources should cover the history of the object selected, or the time period the object is from.