Women & the American Story (WAMS) is full of primary and secondary resources designed for flexible use in the classroom. Learn how to navigate this site and use WAMS materials in your teaching.


Units: WAMS is divided into ten chronological and thematic units that span U.S. history so you can easily deploy the materials in your curriculum plan. Two units will launch each year until the project is complete in 2022.

Visit the Curriculum page for an at-a-glance look at the ten units:

Early Encounters, 1492-1734
Settler Colonialism and the American Revolution, 1692-1783 
Building a New Nation, 1783-1828 (Coming 2021!)
Expansions and Inequalities, 1828-1869 (Coming 2022!)
A Nation Divided, 1832-1877 
Industry and Empire, 1866-1898 (Coming 2021!)
Modernizing America, 1889-1920
Confidence and Crises, 1920-1948 
Growth and Turmoil, 1948-1973 
The Information Age, 1974-2018 (Coming 2022!)

If you’re looking for resources related to a particular era in U.S. history, start at the unit level to learn about a given time period. Each unit has a landing page that contains key ideas, a brief overview essay, and a list of unit sections.

Sections: Units are subdivided into 2-4 sections, each containing about 10-20 resources and 5-10 life stories. Sections are organized around a particular topic or era within the unit.

Themes: A series of themes span across the units to help track big ideas over time:

    • Activism and Social Change
    • American Culture
    • American Identity and Citizenship
    • America in the World
    • Domesticity and Family
    • Geography and the Environment
    • Immigration, Migration, and Settlement
    • Power and Politics
    • Science, Technology, and Medicine
    • Work, Labor, and Economy


Resources: Primary sources and life stories make up the bulk of the teaching resources. Primary resources are the “stuff” of history—images, documents, artifacts, maps, and more. Resource pages include a high-resolution image of the source, wherever possible, along with background information providing historical context (Background), and information about the primary source itself (About the Document/Object/Image/etc.). For primary documents, we have included a transcription and paragraph-by-paragraph summary of the text to help students at all levels access the content.

Life stories are mini-biographies of individuals, both well-known and unfamiliar, who embody an important topic, theme, or idea in a given era.

Both primary sources and life stories come with discussion questions, suggested activities, and vocabulary lists.

Art Activities: The visual arts are a powerful tool to examine the past—promoting investigative discovery, creative thinking, and hands-on learning. Each unit in WAMS contains art activities to help students awaken their creativity and uncover the past by creating meaningful works of art that showcase their mastery of historical content and art making skills. Art activities contain background information, materials lists, vocabulary, and detailed lesson plans to help you feel comfortable leading them in your classroom or in collaboration with art teachers.

Background Information: At the top of each unit and section page are Key Ideas that summarize the take-aways. A short introduction essay prefaces the content, approach, and scope of the unit or section. Unit and section Essential Questions provide a starting point for creating lessons with materials.

Supplemental Materials: The Supplemental Materials pages house Art Activities as well as Source Notes and Suggested Readings for each unit.


The Search page works via keywords and filters—including time period, resource type, classroom application, themes, topics, units, and region—to help you find exactly what you need.


WAMS is designed so you can pick and choose materials to include in your lessons. A menu on each resources page will let you jump easily from section to section.

    • Resource: The primary source or life story.
    • Teaching Materials: Background information, vocabulary words, pronunciation guides, and discussion questions.
    • Suggested Activities: Ideas for how to use the resource with your students, and suggestions for themes you might want to address.

There are many ways that you can share WAMS with your students.

    • Print: Choose what you distribute to your students. Print image and print section buttons throughout resource pages will allow you to customize what materials you provide for you students and what materials you keep for yourself.
    • Computer: Students can access the full site themselves and even click on the magnifying glass next to images to zoom.
    • Mobile: This site has been designed to be mobile-friendly for smartphones and tablets.


    • Curriculum Library: The New-York Historical Society’s online Curriculum Library is full of free teaching materials on an array of topics. New-York Historical Society Curriculum Library Connections within WAMS direct you to specific materials related to the era or topic.