The BMF Collections website provides tools for educators to teach about the male form in photography through a range of media.
In 2010, the Bob Mizer Foundation partnered with scholars and library science students at NYU to open an exhibit on the university’s campus. Even more noteworthy was the inclusion of an open archival area, where Foundation staff members trained students on the basics of carefully archiving Mizer’s slides. Visitors to the gallery were able to view the students archiving these materials in real time and ask questions of the Foundation staff members on hand to train them.
This event took place so early in our organization’s history, and we feel it is evidence of the Foundation’s interest in training and cultivating the next generation of archivists from day one of our operation.
We look forward to additional networking opportunities and partnerships with other post-secondary educational institutions around the country. For more information on incorporating Mizer and his works into your curriculum, please contact us.
As always, our headquarters, research facilities, library, collection, and archives, all located in downtown San Francisco, are open to students, researchers, and other individuals by appointment.
The User Guide has tips for searching and browsing each collection and using other features of the Collections site, including Lightbox, Finding Aids and Research Guides.
For additional guidance on how to navigate the online BMF Collections, please contact us.
Engaging with Primary Sources
The BMF Collections online catalogue of museum, archival and testimony holdings offers teachers a rich resource for engaging students with primary sources of historical evidence in the classroom.
What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources are the raw materials of historical research—original artefacts and records or first-hand accounts created at or near the time of the event under study. Primary sources provide direct evidence about the events, practices or conditions during the period in question. In contrast, secondary sources (such as textbooks, scholarly books and articles) are created after a historical event and offer a description or interpretation of the event based on an analysis of primary sources.
Primary Sources in the BMF Collections
In the BMF Collections, primary sources include original materials created, written or used before, during and after the physique era as well as eyewitness accounts that were documented later, such as the oral testimonies and memoirs of those who directly experienced the events. Within the Primary Sources browse tab
, materials are grouped according to their physical characteristics (e.g. objects, photographs, testimonies) or their subject matter (e.g. arts & culture, business & economics, daily life & household). Types of primary sources found in the BMF Collections include: correspondence
, government documents
, business records
, advertising materials
How to Use Primary Sources in the Classroom
The BMF is committed to assisting teachers use primary sources effectively in the classroom. Our Collections website incorporates many unique tools to allow students to make personal connections to our history.
Worksheets for Analyzing Primary Sources
The BMF has created printable worksheets designed to support students’ independent inquiry into primary sources in the BMF Collection. Each item in the Collection is described in catalogue records, and often includes digital representations of the item, making it possible for students to independently investigate the creation, ownership, appearance, use and history of any item. Students may choose from among hundreds of primary source documents, objects and photographs; guiding questions in the BMF worksheets will assist the student to place the primary source in historical context and make inferences to deepen their understanding of historic events.
Click to print worksheets or download a PDF:
Analysing Autobiographical Texts
Collections in the Classroom
The BMF offers support for classroom learning and education experiences through the investigation of primary sources and contextualization through secondary materials. More information about how to use materials from each collection:
Lightbox is a tool within the collections system that allows users to create, manage and share a customized collection of items from the BMF Collections catalogue. Students can save selected items from their search or browse results to their Lightbox in order to create their own collection to include in classroom presentations, lesson plans, assignments or group projects. Once a Lightbox collection has been created, items can be added, organized, filtered and annotated, and can also be viewed on an interactive timeline. View the User Guide
for more instructions about how to use Lightbox.
- Presenting with Lightbox: Lightbox collections can be presented in the classroom as a web-based slideshow. Users can organize items in their Lightbox by dragging and dropping to determine the order in which items appear in a slideshow presentation.
- Creating an Interactive Timeline with Lightbox: Items in a Lightbox can be viewed on an interactive timeline based on their creation date. The timeline function is accessed from within a Lightbox collection by clicking on the clock icon at the top right corner of the screen. Users can navigate the timeline by clicking the arrows on the screen. Clicking on an item’s title will show the full catalogue record for that item.
Why Use Primary Sources in the Classroom?
- Creating a Shared Digital Workspace with Lightbox: Lightbox can be used to create a shared digital workspace in the classroom. Users can annotate items in their Lightbox with comments or questions and can grant access to other users via the “Share the Lightbox” function. In this way, teachers can create and share Lightbox assignments with students using the annotation feature to pose questions or direct the students’ inquiry into a collection of items. Similarly, students can respond to questions or share observations through the annotation/comments within the Lightbox. Creating a shared digital Lightbox workspace also enables students to collaborate with each other on joint projects or presentations.
Teaching with primary sources has been embraced by education professionals as crucial to the study of history and the development of historical thinking skills. Engaging students with primary sources in the classroom offers many benefits and it advances key curriculum objectives, including:
- Active, self-directed learning: In contrast to passive learning from a textbook, students actively participate in the process of historical inquiry when they work with primary sources. Students direct their own learning as they ask questions, uncover evidence, make reasoned inferences and construct meaning from primary sources.
- Arouse curiosity and personalize history: Primary sources inspire curiosity in students because they are tangible and real, offering an unfiltered glimpse into the past. Primary sources provide students with a direct and often personal link to individuals of the past, enabling them to see history as a series of human events and to empathize with figures from the past. Since primary sources are incomplete fragments of history, they also motivate students to seek further information from other sources to answer questions and gain a deeper understanding.
- Reveal multiple perspectives: Primary sources encourage students to see diverse perspectives on past events and to understand the importance of consulting a variety of sources to gain a sense of balance. With practice, students develop the ability to recognize bias, assess reliability, reconcile contradictions and challenge assumptions in the sources of historical information they encounter.
- Develop critical thinking skills: Interaction with primary sources develops cognitive and analytical thinking skills as students must critically observe, question, analyze and interpret original materials. Students learn to form reasoned conclusions based on the evidence they uncover. They use deductive reasoning skills to draw inferences about the material and construct knowledge by integrating information they have acquired from other sources.
- Illustrate abstract concepts: Physical artefacts can animate abstract concepts. By analyzing multiple primary sources, students learn to make connections between ostensibly unrelated information, see links between past and present in various contexts, identify patterns and recognize cause and effect relationships.
- Accommodate personalized learning and multiple learning styles: Primary sources can be experienced in a variety of mediums, accommodating diverse learning styles. Oral testimonies may resonate more effectively to auditory learners than written documents. Graphic materials (photos, maps, plans, posters) may engage visual learners and physical artefacts may engage tactile learners. In this way, primary sources offer the flexibility to include all learners and to personalize learning to best suit student needs and interests.