The True Story of the Mary Celeste
On December 4, 1872, the unmanned Mary Celeste was found adrift in the Atlantic with its cargo fully intact. The mystery of this “ghost ship” remained unanswered for over 135 years. Invite Students to watch this Smithsonian Channel video and the subsequent videos “Why They Might Abandon Ship” and “What Was Left Behind?” to gather clues, debate ideas and come to conclusions of their own. If you wish, have students conduct research to learn more about what is widely regarded as the most famous mystery of the sea.
Historians Are Detectives
Use this lesson from the National Museum of American History to teach students the differences between primary and secondary sources as well as the value of primary sources in history. By using primary sources to answer a series of questions, students will see that, much like detectives, historians have to provide evidence to prove that their answers are correct.
Who Am I? A History Mystery
In this interactive game from the Smithsonian’s History Explorer, students select a mystery character from the Civil War and examine objects that hold the key to their identity.
Historians use several types of evidence to learn about the past. One key source when investigating what it was like to live in a sod house is the photographs taken by a man named Solomon Butcher. In this activity from the Smithsonian Museum of American History, students examine some of Butcher’s photographs, analyze what they see and come to their own conclusions.
Monday Morning Ready