This study, focusing on the classroom resources available to American history teachers and materials they access, primarily via the Internet, with which to enrich their students’ educational experience is the result of a collaborative efforts between two Smithsonian offices: the Office of Public Programs, National Museum of American History and the Office of Policy and Analysis.

In 2007, the National Museum of American History (NMAH) conducted a nationwide survey of teachers in order to learn what types of museum produced educational resources they use or prefer to use.

Staff suspected that recent changes in America’s classrooms—spurred by the No Child Left Behind Act and the growing availability of educational technology—meant that teachers had different needs than in the past. Teachers were canvassed to help the museum create the next generation of need-responsive resources and materials for student and teacher use.

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Collaborating with the Smithsonian’s Office of Policy and Analysis, NMAH identified data requirements, developed a survey instrument, and devised a study strategy based on a convenience sample, i.e., distributing a questionnaire to classroom teachers attending conferences and workshops sponsored by the National Council for History Education, the National Council for Social Studies, the Smithsonian Associates, and the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies. In the end, 967 teachers at twenty events completed survey forms at locations ranging from Fairbanks, AK, to Lafayette, LA.

Given the nature of the sample, authors do not generalize these findings to the national population but they do form a reasonable approximation for the audience reached and intended by the museum for its offerings.