Documenting the 1920’s and 30’s
The Twenties and Thirties were a dynamic period of boom and bust in American history. In the 1920s, Americans were discovering a
new consumer culture. Our country was enjoying unprecedented prosperity and economic growth and undergoing social
experimentation. By the 1930s, an overwhelming portion of our population learned about poverty in a very personal way. Over
these years, the elusive American Dream appeared almost within reach, vanished from the hands of many, and experienced a
variety of reinterpretations.
Welcome young curators! Springfield Township is pleased to announce a new museum to open this year— here in lovely downtown
Erdenheim! You have the opportunity to create a Smithsonian-like exhibit focusing on your area of historical specialty - the 1920s
and 1930s. Museum director Ashley Fusarelli is very particular about historical accuracy and aesthetics. Your exhibit must
authentically represent the period to museum visitors. Using artifacts, news stories, and images, it must creatively draw the
attention of all museum-goers! It must also engage them; therefore, you must create a dynamic presentation that captures the
attention of viewers while educating them on your specific topic.
Your exhibit should be in the form of a tri-fold board or display stand that is both appealing to the eye, catches your audience's
attention, and educates museum visitors in an informative way. Additionally, your museum exhibit must contain an interactive
element that allows the viewer to interact with your display. Beyond these requirements, you are free to create as you wish. Please
include the following somewhere in your final product:
Authentic and relevant historic photographs. These must come from accredited sources online and in print. A good place
to start is AP Photo Archive.You may also try the Library of Congress Photo Stream on Flickr, and Copyright-friendly images
and sound. Much more is also available on our Decades Pathfinder.
News clippings. Two good sources for these are ProQuest Historical Newspapers and Time Magazine Archive.
Artifacts. These might include: posters, drawings, political cartoons, representations of clothing/fashion, buttons, graphs, a
speech, legislation, advertisements, etc.
Interactive Content. Let your creativity shine through! In the past, students have used various techniques to make their
exhibits accessible to their audience on a personal level. We'll discuss the various options that you have in class.
Label and cite (correctly) every artifact, photograph, and document AND annotate each. Sample below:
Title of Picture, Artifact, Article Date
(This should match the title in your works cited page) (If no date use: c.1920s, c.1930s)
2-5 sentences summarizing who or what the image/article/artifact is and its relevance to your topic and the display. This label functions as a description
for those who did not do the research on this topic you did. What would a viewer need and want to know to understand your display. This info comes from
your research and will be documented in the works consulted page.
<www.address.org> or Book Title
If asked, you should be able to present museum director Fusarelli with a rationale for the inclusion of every artifact and
image in your exhibit. Make sure every item you select presents a message in a meaningful way.
On the day of the museum, students will dress either relevant to topic or in business attire.
Interactive elements are genuine and not a gimmick. No food related elements without prior approval.
Projects are evaluated on the basis of historical accuracy, evidence of preparation and creativity, and overall appearance. Note that
sources are due on the day the project is presented and are part of the grading process. Post your sources in the appropriate place
on the wiki. See the attached rubric for specifics.
Library Research Day 1: Use at least one book source and one internet source from the “Doing the Decades” collection to collect
background information on your chosen topic. Type a detailed explanation (1-3 paragraphs) that summarizes the information and
ideas you will need to portray in your display. This should include basic information like who or what the topic is about, when and
where it was prominent, and why it is significant enough to be displayed. Formulate and propose a display theme - how will you
present your display and what interactive elements you can include. Cite your book and internet sources on the same page.
Library Research Day 2: Begin to use copyright-friendly image generators (AP Photo Archive, Wikimedia commons), to gather news,
photos, and artifacts about your topic. Do not forget to document sources as you go. You should “inventory” each as you go along,
so you track which requirements you are meeting. I will collect a copy of this inventory, with citations, at the end of the day. Be
sure to save it so you can add to it with each library visit! Remember, you need 10 Historic Photos, 5 News Clippings, and 5 Artifacts!
Library Research Day 3: Continue above…again, I will collect your expanded inventory list at the end of the day.
Library Research Day 4: You should have collected all of your images at this point. Today should be used typing your labels for
each. Include a citation, date, and annotation. If you did this as you completed your research, you should work on your interactive
activity. (Suggestions: Crossword, comprehensive writing prompt, true-false questions, guided note-taking, timeline or scavenger
hunt to be completed by viewing your display, and listening to your presentation, google doc survey/quiz, etc)
Library Research Day 5: The library has been reserved but may not need to be used a 5 day.
Textbooks: A History of the US, The Americans, American Nation, America-Pathways
Library Books: Biography Section, Reference Section, Art Section, History (970’s) Section
Online Lessons: Ms Fusarelli’s 20s and 30s Museum Resource Link (25+ educational links)!
Catalogs and Databases: ProQuest Historical Newspapers, Student Resource Center Gold, Literature Resource Center, Biography
Resource Center, ABC-CLIO American History, AP Photo Archive, Beyond Books, Curriculum Resource Center, Wikimedia Commons
STHS MLA Citation Guide & Noodletools
20’s and 30’s Project Topic List:
The Communist Threat: Red Scare / Palmer Raids / Sacco & Vanzetti
Nativism / Immigration Quotas / the New KKK
The Red Summer: Race Relations Following World War I
Politics: Presidential Administrations and Scandals
A Modern Woman: Flappers / the 19th Amendment / Criticism
African American Advancement: Harlem Renaissance / Marcus Garvey / UNIA & NAACP
Entertainment: Vaudeville, Hollywood, Fads & Amusements
The Jazz Age: It's History and Impact on the Cultural Landscape & its influence on multiple art forms
Art & Architecture: Growth and the Elements of Design
Sports Celebs / 1920s Heroes / Their Impact on Society
Charles Lindbergh / The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping
Amelia Earhart / Accomplishments and Tragedy
Prohibition and the Rise of Organized Crime
The Lost Generation
Fundamentalism: The Teaching of Evolution/The Scopes Trial and the Rural-Urban Divide
Technological Advancement: New Household Appliances and Their Impact on Society
Henry Ford / New Production Methods, the Model T, and Its Impact on American Life
The Growth and Use of Advertising and Marketing
The Birth, Growth, and Impact of Radio
The Stock Market Crash: Factors Behind the Economic Boom and Bust
Depression Life: Hoovervilles / Homelessness / Impact on the American Family
Rural America: Farmers, Migrant Workers, and the Dust Bowl
Minorities and the Depression / The Scottsboro Boys
FDR, the New Deal(s), and Its Critics
1920s and 1930s Museum Display Rubric
Category Ten(10) Nine(9) Eight (8) Seven(7) Incomplete(0-6)
Utilized all library time Little class time was
Used time well during Used some of the time There was some focus
Use of Class effectively. Sought spent on working on
each class period. well during each class. on getting the project
Time teacher and librarian the project. Much time
Usually focused on Usually focused on done during class time.
help. Focused on was spent conversing
getting the project getting the project Often distracted others
getting the project with others, playing
done and never done but occasionally or used computers for
x1 done. Never distracted with the computers, or
distracted others. distracted others. other purposes.
others. as a distraction.
The display is The display is
The display is The display is not
attractive, well- attractive and well-
somewhat organized organized or the items Display appears to have
organized, and organized. The items
Physical Display yet attractive. The are not securely been thrown together
commands attention. are neatly secured and
items are securely attached to the display. at the last minute. Little
The items are neatly attached to the
attached to the display. The title is too small creative effort has been
secured and attached to display. Title
x1 Title describes the and/or does not used to draw attention
the display. Title is describes the content
content and can be describe the content of to content.
creative and can be and can be read from
read from 3 ft. away. the display well.
read from 6 ft. away. 6 ft. away.
Interactive Interactive Interactive
presentation is clever Presentation is
presentation is presentation is presentation is
and engaging to completely irrelevant
Presentation thoughtful and included but maintains included but fails to
audience. Student to the subject matter
(Knowledge + demands some minimal interactivity engage the audience in
effectively used and fails to engage the
Interactivity) attention. Student with audience. a meaningful way.
presentation to audience. Presentation
presentation conveys Presentation conveys Presentation conveys
creatively convey shows little knowledge
proficient knowledge adequate knowledge only basic knowledge
complete knowledge or understanding of the
x3 and understanding of and understanding of and understanding of
and deep topic and the time
the topic and time the topic and time the topic and time
understanding of the period.
period. period. period.
topic and time period.
The display meets or The exhibit is missing Little effort was made
The display meets all The display meets
Required exceeds all several required to include required
requirements. most requirements.
Elements requirements. Artifacts, elements. Artifacts, elements. Artifacts,
Artifacts, documents, Artifacts, documents,
documents, and documents, and documents, and
and photographs and photographs
photographs photographs photographs are
demonstrate a good demonstrate an
x2 demonstrate a strong demonstrate minimal missing or demonstrate
research effort. adequate effort.
research effort. research effort. no research effort
Each item has a label
Each item has a neat All items are labeled Not all items are
Labels and annotation Little or no attempt was
label and annotation but fail to give a labeled or not all items
describing the made to label or
describing the complete annotated have an annotated
significance (time include annotated
significance (time, date, description of their description of their
x1 date, description) of descriptions.
description) of the item. significance. significance.
There are no There are one or two There are three to five There are six to eight There are more than
grammatical errors on grammatical errors on grammatical errors on grammatical errors on eight grammatical
the display or in the the display or in the the display or in the the display or in the errors on the display or
presentation. presentation. presentation. presentation. in the presentation.
All borrowed graphics, Borrowed graphics, Borrowed graphics, Borrowed graphics, Works page does not
photographs, artifacts, photographs, artifacts, photographs, artifacts, photographs, artifacts, include all items OR
Documentation documents, and documents, and documents, and documents, and student fails to
information are information are listed information are listed information are listed adequately utilize
correctly listed on a on a Works page with on a Works page with on a Works page with credible sources for
x1 Works page. All works slight errors. Most several errors. Only numerous errors. Few information.
are from a credible works are from a some works are from a works are from a
source. credible source. credible source. credible source. No Works page = “0”