Free Digital PD: Smithsonian Summer Sessions for Teachers

May 18, 2020 - 11:00am to July 24, 2020 - 4:30pm [AST -04:00]

The Smithsonian has developed a unique opportunity to learn from home with four Smithsonian museums. Register for one of the free five-day Smithsonian Summer Sessions and join an online community of educators for an immersive exploration of teaching with museum objects and works of art.

Participants will discover how to teach with museum resources to engage students in deeper thinking and support content learning across disciplines. They'll also learn to use the Smithsonian Learning Lab to curate digital resource collections and share lesson ideas with a new network of colleagues. Museum educators will explore connections among their collections and model teaching strategies that participants can implement with their students, whether online or in the classroom.

Who Will Participants Learn From?

The course will be led by educators from these Smithsonian organizations:

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Who Should Attend?

Teachers of all subjects and grades are welcome to register. The program content will be most readily applicable to humanities teachers.

What Will Participants Accomplish?

Participants will:

  • Gain expertise from educators from multiple Smithsonian museums through live webinar sessions
  • Build a new support network of peers in a collaborative study group
  • Explore inquiry-based strategies for integrating museum objects and works of art into your teaching, whether in the classroom or online
  • Learn to use the Smithsonian Learning Lab to curate digital resource collections and share lesson ideas

What is Required of Participants?

Registered participants will be expected to attend live content sessions delivered through Zoom each day, as well as a daily virtual meeting with a small study group to reflect on sessions and discuss ideas for classroom implementation. Meetings and live sessions will take place between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EDT daily, with breaks between sessions. Sessions will be no longer than one hour each. Three to four hours of synchronous learning will be offered each day.

Participants will also be expected to create a digital resource collection using the Smithsonian Learning Lab, and share lesson ideas with their study group on Friday.

What Technology is Required?

We recommend that participants use a computer equipped with a microphone and webcam, but if that is not available, participants may dial into meetings using a phone.

How Can Participants Earn Professional Development Credit?

Participants will receive a certificate documenting their participation, including the number of professional development hours, upon completion of the course.

Teachers of all subjects and grades are welcome.

To Learn more and register go to