Discovery Kits Online

With Discovery Kits Online, Eastman House makes its collections and expertise available for teachers, students, and recreational learners. In the past, regional educators could visit the Museum to borrow small boxes (Discovery Kits) filled with materials that exemplified key elements of the Museum's collection. Now, these resources can be distributed freely on the web for all to use. The educational kits below have been developed with the help of educators who provided Museum staff with guidance in K-12 curricular goals and appropriate assessment methodologies. Each unit (kit) is designed to supply classroom-ready lesson plans and study materials that can be used in direct online interaction or as downloadable slide shows and printable resources for offline use in classrooms lacking Internet connectivity.

African Americans: Black History through Photography

Tracing the history of African Americans from the very early days of photography into the twentieth century this kit provides insight into a rich visual history.

Photographers of the American West

Explore the American West as recorded by photographers William Henry Jackson, Timothy O'Sullivan, and Alexander Gardner. See examples of the once popular 3D stereoviews and learn how wet-plate photography made these pictures even more remarkable.

Animation: Illusion of Motion

Explore the principles of “persistence of vision” and “illusion of motion.” Pre-cinema animation parlor amusements are used to reveal the demand for, and principles of, animated photographic illusions. Students will learn to make their own zoetropes, phenakistoscopes, and flip books—all of which eventually led to the development of modern motion pictures.

The Civil War Through Photography

This kit examines the famous images made by Brady, Gardner, and O'Sullivan during the Civil War along with other photographs made during this turbulent period.

George Eastman: Father of Popular Photography

This biographical exploration of Rochester's “first citizen” examines George Eastman in the context of his time. The slides chronicle everything from Eastman's childhood experiences to his legacy of philanthropy.

Photographs of the Great Depression

This kit provides a look at the famous FSA photographs that shaped our image of America in the 1930s. The images illustrate how photography served as a catalyst to achieve social change. Featuring artists such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein, all known as social documentary photographers.

Inventors in Imaging Technologies

This kit profiles three influential innovators in the field of photographic imaging: George Eastman (popular photography), Thomas Edison (motion pictures), and Wilhelm Roentgen (X-ray photography).

Lewis Hine: Immigration and the Progressive Era

Hine's landmark work documented Ellis Island immigrants, child labor, tenement conditions, and American working men and women in the early twentieth century. Students are taught to "read" the details in Hine's photographs and apply the exercise to modern photographic imagery.

Beyond the Image: Depicting Native Americans

Featuring historic images of Native Americans by Edward S. Curtis, by photographers in the Eastman House photography collection, and by contemporary Native American artists. Traces the role that photography has played in the shaping and continuation of Native American stereotypes.

Bringing the War Home: American Photography during World War II

This kit is pulled from the museum's collection of original wartime prints made for issue to the press — often heavily censored.

Shapes and Shelters: Architecture and Photography

This kit provides a photographic look at geometric shapes in architectural structures throughout the world and history. Students learn to deconstruct photographs for compositional elements and recognize these shapes around them every day.

Discovery Kits Online are made possible through New York State funds secured by Senator Jim Alesi and grants from the Eastman House Council and