The "Me" Exhibit
Teacher:  Traci Blanchard

Overview: This activity encourages students to consider their own lives as history worth studying and acquaints them with the concept of authentic research. It works well as a "getting to know you" activity at the beginning of the semester and can lead to more developed writing activities. Click here for extended version of this lesson with student artifact and teacher reflection.

Materials: handout, class time

Time: 20 minutes to explain project; 3-5 days out-of-class work time; presentations last 2-5 minutes per student.


  1. Instruct students to collect 5 artifacts representing various stages of their lives (e.g., early childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, etc.). Provide them with a handout that further explains the process. Students are also allowed to predict/create one artifact from their futures. Each artifact should have both personal and historical significance.

  2. After collecting their artifacts, students write 2-4 sentence captions for each. Captions should both identify the personal significance of the item and place the item in a historical context.

  3. After collecting artifacts and creating captions, students create a display or exhibit for their artifacts, similar to what might appear in a museum. Exhibits include placards containing the captions.

  4. Exhibits are then presented to the whole class.

Evaluation: Teacher assesses the exhibits and presentations.

Click here for extended version of this lesson with student artifact and teacher reflection.

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