Smithsonian launches online cultural heritage tours

The Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies is offering a series of free online tours that invite educators, families, and students to learn about America’s diverse cultural heritage by examining objects drawn from the Smithsonian’s vast collections. The cultural heritage tours “allow viewers to delve deeper and learn even more about African American and Latino history and culture through the prism of art and historical objects,” said Director of Programs Stevie Engelke. Each virtual tour features a dozen objects selected from several Smithsonian museums. The African American Heritage tour, for example, features Mohammed Ali’s 1974 red boxing gloves, the Woolworth’s lunch counter that was the site of a crucial 1960 civil rights sit-in, and portraits of George Washington Carver and Mary Church Terrell. The web site offers a number of interactive features that allow users to examine, research, and react to the objects they encounter. Teachers also will find classroom activities, downloadable images for classroom display, and information on learning standards addressed.