Makerspace Monday: Making History

If you’ve been following Booklist Reader for the past couple weeks, you’ve already seen contributor Anastasia Suen’s delightful “Creating Makerspaces at Home” series. From now on, we will be featuring even more makerspace magic each Monday. Tune in each week @ALA_Booklist.

Families staying home during the global pandemic can use history as a makerspace topic. With paper and pencil—or a cell phone—record history as it happens. Document your family’s history and help the Library of Congress document theirs. Plant a victory garden like the children did in 1917 or make mason jar ice cream (yum!).

Create an Oral History

Historian and educator Judith Moyer’s Step-by-Step Guide to Oral History can help students create an oral history of family members that live near (and far) using a cell phone.

Make a Time Capsule

With a plastic or a metal coffee container, families can make a DIY time capsule to open in the future. Fill the capsule with personal mementos and don’t forget to write a note to your future selves! Then, hide it in a safe place.

Plant a Victory Garden

During World War I, children worked as members of the U.S. School Garden Army (USSGA) and planted fruits and vegetables in victory gardens to help with food shortages. This spring, families can plant seeds at home and grow their own fruits and vegetables. (Families that grow berries can enjoy them with this ice cream in a mason jar recipe.)

Start a Pandemic Journal

U.S. history teacher Lauren S. Brown says that students can create “primary sources” for future historians by writing and keeping their own pandemic journals. Some prompts include “how weird it is to have to ‘e-learn’?” and “what is changing for you because of this?” Who knows; in the future, students could be reading about their lives in history class!

Visit the Anne Frank Museum with Virtual Reality

During her 25 months in hiding, Anne Frank kept a diary that students read in history class today. While the Anne Frank House is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, interested students can explore the hiding place of Anne Frank and her family in virtual reality using the free Anne Frank House VR app, available in seven languages.

Work as a Historian

The Library of Congress is crowdsourcing the transcription of primary source documents via the “By the People” program. And there’s no need to sign up. To join in, simply visit the site, choose a paper, and start typing.

Anastasia Suen reads, edits, and writes books for all ages from her makerspace at home in Northern California.  

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