For Educators

"Through History Unfolded, my students have spent a great deal of time discussing primary and secondary sources while they diligently look for articles published in our state. I'm so pleased that they've been so engaged." —Lisa Henry, English teacher at MLK Jr. Academy for Excellence in Lexington, KY

History Unfolded offers a free, adaptable lesson plan, supporting materials, and a community manager to provide online assistance. Using them, you and your students will help the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum answer questions about what Americans knew about the Holocaust and how they reacted. In the process, students will learn critical thinking skills as they conduct real historical research using primary sources.

This project encourages students to:

  • Engage in inquiry-based learning and historical thinking
  • Perform scholarly research with primary sources
  • Practice close reading and develop media literacy skills
  • Explore Holocaust history as an American and local story within the broader context of the New Deal era and World War II
  • Think critically about America’s responsibilities in the world today

The lesson plan below aligns with a variety of subject areas including Social Studies, US History, World History, English and Language Arts, and Journalism. It can be used to enrich middle school, high school, and college curricula.

Lesson Plans and Supporting Materials

Adaptable for use in two or three class periods and aligned with Common Core State Standards

Tips for Using this Website

You and your students will find and submit newspaper articles that will help the Museum and other researchers better understand this important, but under-researched, aspect of Holocaust history. Your discoveries will join those of other citizen historians which are available to the public on this website.

Teacher Support

For additional assistance using History Unfolded in your classroom, please contact David Klevan at dklevan@ushmm.org or 202.488.0462.


History Unfolded is part of a larger Museum initiative on how Americans responded to Nazism, from the party’s rise in the 1930s through the Holocaust and World War II. The keystone of the initiative is an exhibition that will open in 2018. History Unfolded will be accepting new research contributions through the end of the 2018 spring semester.