Especially for Teachers

Our primary source sets are organized to help teachers quickly and easily find the primary sources they need for classroom subjects from history to journalism to art appreciation. They are aligned with California Content Standards in English-Language Arts, History-Social Science, and Visual Arts.

Primary Source Sets

Calisphere Themed Collections:

Primary source sets organized into themes and topics aligned with California Content Standards. They include brief overviews that provide historical context.

California Cultures:

The photographs, oral histories, letters, and official documents in this collection tell the stories, struggles, and contributions of four important ethnic groups in California:

The California Cultures project, specially charged with correcting the historic lack of digitized primary source materials for these groups, makes these images and documents widely available. Teacher-created lesson plans based on these images offer complete units or inspiration for your own lessons.

Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives (JARDA):

Official photographs, family photographs and memorabilia, works of art, oral histories, and other documents bring you inside the story of Japanese Americans interned during World War II. Teacher-created lesson plans for grades 4-12 are based on the art and writing of internee Estelle Ishigo, official photographs, and other selected primary sources.

Local History Mapped:

Bring California history and geography to the classroom with five interactive maps overlayed with hundreds of photographs from the past century. The maps feature images on the following themes:

Browse A-Z:

Quickly find primary source sets from Advertising to Zoot Suits for classroom discussion. Use this alphabetized list of terms selected from the California Content Standards.

Resources for Teachers

Teaching and learning with primary sources:

Library of Congress resources:
Using Primary Sources
How to Cite Electronic Resources
Lesson Plans

Worksheets for analyzing primary source materials:

Cartoons (PDF) (Source: NARA)
Photographs (PDF) (Source: Library of Congress)
Posters/Visuals (PDF) (Source: Bringing History Home)
Written Documents (PDF) (Source: NARA)
Primary Source Activity (PDF) (Source: Library of Congress)

Calisphere Outreach Materials

Calisphere Overview (PDF)
How to order a free poster (PDF)

Learn More

Do I need permission to use Calisphere’s images?

You may use images from Calisphere in your classroom without permission. For other uses, you may need to contact the contributing institution. More information on Copyright and Conditions of Use.