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About this site

This web site is published by the Smithsonian Office of Education. It includes a cross section of web sites from across the Smithsonian Institution's museums and research centers which relate to the National History Day theme Turning Points in History. We have divided the contents into PEOPLE, EVENTS and IDEAS to facilitate searching. Some web sites may be listed in more than one of these sections. Be sure to note the author of individual web sites - it is not necessarily this office!  Museum and research center names are listed below  the title of each online exhibition.

The Smithsonian web site contains a significant amount of information on inventions and inventors. The Lemelson Center in the National Museum of American History is a good starting point. Check the National Air and Space Museum for information on space exploration and flight or the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  There are many sources at the Smithsonian for cultural history turning points: National Museum of American Art, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of African Art, and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum,  Freer and Sackler Galleries, National Museum of the American Indian, National Museum of Natural History (Native Peoples), and National Museum of American History. Take a look at ENCYLOPEDIA SMITHSONIAN for information on additional topics.

National History Day 2000  theme

What is a turning point? The dictionary defines it as "the point at which a very significant change occurs; a decisive moment." Sometimes a turning point in history has immediate repercussions, making its significance obvious to people at the time; sometimes, the impact of an event or decision or person is clear only in retrospect. A turning point can be a personal decision in the life of one person, or a political choice affecting millions; it can be an event or idea with global or local consequences; it can be the life of a single person who inspires or affects other people.

Students investigating this year’s theme may choose to explore events with international repercussions, such as wars, or they may focus on events which affected fewer people, such as natural disasters, the establishment of new institutions, or the move of a family from one place to another. They may examine new ideas--political, religious, social, economic, philosophical--and how those ideas helped to transform some aspect of human life. Or they may choose instead to look at individuals whose ideas or actions have made a difference to those around them or to the world at large.

Citing Web Sites

Here are a few links to help you cite our sites correctly:

Columbia University Press:Columbia Guide to Online Style (MLA)

Robert Harris: Evaluating Internet Research Sources

Library of Congress: Citing Electronic Sources

Undergraduate Writing Center, University of Texas at Austin: APA and MLA Citation Styles (National History guidelines require MLA formated citations)

Questions? Contact us at educate@soe.si.edu and include National History Day in the subject line of your message.

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