Three essential primary sources that every educator show know are: The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration and the National Park Service. Brief annotation about each source is listed below.
Library of Congress (LOC)
The Library of Congress has thousands of primary sources for the general user and the researcher. Searching through the many collections can be challenging, but the rewards are worth it. Most of the information is digitized, which means the information can be viewed from the computer or mobile device. Some information and/or collections can be seen at the Library of Congress. Information on how to access those files can be found on the website.
Educators can click on “Education” and have access to lesson plans and primary source sets from the Library of Congress collection. These lessons can be searched by the Common Core State Standards or particular state standards. All of the lesson plans and primary sets can be downloaded.
The National Archives and Records Administration has historical documents for all types of users. This site also has information from the military and some general government documents. Most of the information is digitized and can be viewed from the computer and/or mobile device.
Educators can click on “Teacher Resources” and be able to access thousands of lesson plans and activities using the historical documents from the National Archives. Registration is free and highly recommended.
National Park Service (NPS)
The National Park Service has information on national parks and historic sites of interest to the general user. Educators can click on “Teacher” and be able to access curriculum materials and lesson plans using some of the national parks. Also, Educators can click on “Discover History” and be able to access lesson plans using historic sites designated by the National Park Service. Educators should also click on “Travelers” in the “Discover History” tab, and explore additional national historic sites and landmarks.