The United States has many historic places that can be considered links to the past. We visit and study and learn about landmarks, buildings, and other sites that help us remember our past and honor the people who shaped our nation.
Sample some of the following activities to learn more about America's historic places.
Places To Go People To See Things To Do Teacher Resources Bibliography
The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about America's historic places.
Visit the memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt located along the famous cherry tree walk on the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.
Visit Ford's Theatre where John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln.
Mount Vernon was George Washington's home when he was alive. By visiting his farm and plantation you can learn how he saw the world and how he fit into the historical time in which he lived. Also, find out why you never see his teeth in his pictures.
This site tells the story of the struggle of African Americans to achieve the bright promise of America. Many of the places where these events occurred, the churches, schools, homes, and neighborhoods, are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial. It was designed by WWII veteran, Frank Gaylord. The memorial has 19 stainless steel statues that depict an American ground troop squad on patrol.
Spend time in the Library of Congress, the national library of the United States. Thomas Jefferson was a strong proponent of the library and its creation. British troops destroyed much of the library and its collections in 1814 during the War of 1812. So the government bought Thomas Jefferson's personal library.
The Lincoln Memorial was modeled after the Greek Parthenon. The 36 exterior Doric columns represent the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln's death. Above those states are listed the 48 states in the country when the memorial was built. Alaska and Hawaii are represented with a plaque on the front steps. Inside the memorial is a statue of Lincoln.
Paul Revere is best known for his midnight ride letting people know that the british were on their way. Check out his home and find out what kind of craftsman he was.
Visit the Pony Express Museum and learn more about the young men on fast horses who carried the nation's mail across the country from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in the unprecedented time of only ten days.
Visit the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. Architect John Russell Pope incorporated Jefferson's own architectural tastes into the design of the memorial. The memorial, like Jefferson's home Monticello, is based on the Roman Pantheon. Inside is a 19-ft statue of Jefferson by the sculptor Rudulph Evans.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built in 1982 and is one of the most visited attractions in Washington, D.C. The names are inscribed in the chronological order of their dates of casualty. There are more than 58,000 names inscribed on the wall. The memorial also contains a statue of three soldiers by Frederick E. Hart erected in 1984 and a statue of three nurses and a wounded soldier by Glenna Goodacre erected in 1993.
Virtually visit the Washington Monument. It was designed by Robert Mills. Construction began in 1848 and was not completed until 1888. The obelisk is 555 feet tall. Visitors can take an elevator to a landing that provides magnificent views of Washington, D.C.
The Freedom Center offers lessons and reflections on the struggle for freedom.
Benjamin Franklin may be one of the most famous Americans. He had so many interests and abilities that he seemed to know something about everything. This website takes links the reader to find out about some of Franklin's interests as well as accomplishments. See where he lived and what kind of museum has been built at the location. Then see if you can find out what instrument he created.
Meet Colonel Patrick E. Connor. He was the first commander of Fort Douglas on the east bench of Salt Lake City. Fort Douglas was established in October 1862, and it was named after Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. According to this site, Fort Douglas was established "to protect the overland mail route and to keep an eye on the Mormons."
Visit with John Fremont, Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Jedediah S. Smith, Martha Jane Cannary (Calamity Jane), Crazy Horse (Tashunka Witco), Buffalo Bill, Wyatt Earp, and others who passed through Wyoming's historic Fort Laramie.
This link takes you to a little known painting of Washington and helps you learn more about his life by explaining the symbolism as well as a timeline. There are even a few activities for someone to complete after reading about Washington and his life.
Meet Gutzon Borglum. He was the sculptor who designed and carved the figures on Mount Rushmore. The faces carved on Mount Rushmore are so large that they are visible from 60 miles away.
Thomas Jefferson, known for his help in writing the Declaration of Independence, never had any architectural training, yet he designed a impressive home in Virginia. Visit his home and see what other buildings you are reminded of.
Take a look at each of the Presidential Libraries. These libraries have exhibits and artifacts from 12 of the past presidents of the United States. Find out which one is nearest to you. Then find out which president's library has a view of the ocean.
Take a virtual tour of Fort McHenry in Maryland and learn about this historic fort's role as birthplace of our national anthem.
Take a ride on the transcontinental railroad. In the 1860s, the Union Pacific Railroad began construction from Omaha, Nebraska and the Central Pacific Railroad broke ground at Sacramento, California. The two lines met at Promontory Point, Utah, and on May 10, 1869, a golden spike joined the two railways.
Click on a letter to see and learn about treasures from the National Museum of American History.
Find out which presidents lived in log cabins--other than Abraham Lincoln.
- Ashabranner, Brent K. A Memorial for Mr. Lincoln. New York: Putnam, c1992.
- Curlee, Lynn. Rushmore.New York: Scholastic Press, 1999.
- Doherty, Craig A. Washington Monument. Woodbridge, Conn.: Blackbirch Press, c1995.
- Kent, Deborah. The Lincoln Memorial.
- Sevastiades, Patra McSharry.The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. New York : PowerKids Press, 1997.
- Stone, Tanya Lee. America's Top 10 National Monuments. Woodbridge, Conn.: Blackbirch Press, c1998.