Skip Navigation/Skip to Content

Drafting the Declaration: the Jefferson Desk and the Declaration of Independence

Welcome to the Teaching Materials and Resources for the Jefferson Desk Object Lesson. In this portion of the site, you will find a lesson plan and annotated links to other online resources.

In thinking about teaching with the Jefferson Desk Object Lesson, it is useful to note some organizational characteristics of the main portion of the Web site. First, the Object Lesson is divided into four areas:

  • Introduction: a brief contextual movie that deals with the Revolutionary era, the desk, and the Declaration of Independence, and a QuickTime Virtual Reality representation of the Jefferson Desk.
  • Explore: a collection of primary sources and curator interviews designed to focus on the desk as an object, in historical context, and within the museum. This portion of the site allows students to browse content and explore their own interests.
  • Tours: primary sources and curator interviews from the Explore section organized into two thematic tours. The Brief tour deals with the period before independence. The Extended tour deals with the drafting of the Declaration and its subsequent uses.
  • Resources: annotated links to other online resources that are related to the Revolution, Thomas Jefferson, and the Declaration of Independence.

All of these materials are available to prepare students to partake of the interactive portions of the site. A close examination of the primary sources and curators interviews should enable students to submit thoughtful questions for the Forums with curators and historians. Similarly, students should be able to organize their knowledge of the material into a virtual exhibit that they can describe and annotate in the Activity section.