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 ways to use WAMS materials in your lesson plans.



WAMS is divided into ten chronological and thematic units that span US history. These units are divided based upon textbooks and curricula in use across the country so that you can easily fit the materials within the scope of your own teaching. 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 full ten units, which are:

Early Encounters, 1492-1734
Settler Colonialism and Revolution, 1692-1783 (Coming 2019!)
Building a New Nation, 1783-1828 (Coming 2021!)
Expansions and Inequalities, 1828-1869 (Coming 2022!)
A Nation Divided, 1832-1877 (Coming 2020!)
Industry and Empire, 1866-1898 (Coming 2021!)
Modernizing America, 1889-1920
Confidence and Crises, 1920-1948 (Coming 2019!)
Growth and Turmoil, 1948-1973 (Coming 2020!)
The Information Age, 1974-2018 (Coming 2022!)

If you’re looking for resources related to a particular era in US history, start at the unit level to learn about a given time period. Each unit has a landing page that contains a few key ideas, an overview essay describing the activities and issues women were engaging in, and a list of unit sections.


Units are subdivided into 2-4 sections, each containing about 7-10 resources. Sections are organized around a particular topic or theme of significance within the unit.


A series of themes span multiple units so you can track big ideas over time. Sitewide themes, which you can access via the Curriculum page, will ultimately span all ten units. Each unit also contains its own set of themes that highlight important topics pertinent to that particular unit.

Site-wide themes are:

Art & Culture
Law & Legal History
Marriage & Family
Politics & Government
Science & Technology
Trade & Commerce


There are two types of resource that you will find within this curriculum: primary sources and life stories.

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 help students at all levels access the content.

Life stories are mini-biographies of individuals, both well-known and unfamiliar. Each life story contains information about the person’s experiences and an image or document selected to help illustrate their story.

Both primary resources and life stories also come with discussion questions, suggested activities for using resources individually or in conversation with one another in the classroom, and vocabulary.

If you want to jump directly to the resources, use the left-hand navigation on the unit page. Simply click into whatever section you’d like to explore and then click Resources or Life Stories to jump straight to the materials.  You can also use the website’s robust Search feature.


The Search Curriculum page will allow you to type in keywords and use filters to access materials. You can filter materials by time period, resource type, classroom application, themes, topics, units, and region to help you find exactly what you need. If you have a particular topic or theme in mind and want to jump right to it, click the magnifying glass icon at the top of any page and type in a keyword or phrase to find relevant search results.

Navigating the Search Page

When you first click the Search Curriculum page you will be able to see all of the resources currently available on the website. To narrow them down, type in a keyword such as “activism” at the top of the page. If you’d like to further narrow down your search results, you can select filters to narrow your search.

Alternately, you can search with filters first. If you’re looking for a particular type of resource, like an artifact, or a specific theme, like science & technology, click those filters to explore relevant resources.


Visual art is 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 independently or in collaboration with art teachers.


Resource pages are broken into three sections.

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

There are many ways that you can share the materials you find on this website with your students.

Printing: 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.
Tablet/Mobile: This site has been designed to be as mobile-friendly as possible for smartphones and tablets.


The New-York Historical Society has a robust Curriculum Library full of free materials for teachers on a wide array of topics. Within WAMS you’ll periodically find New-York Historical Society Curriculum Library Connections, which will direct you to specific materials related to the era or topic.