In this challenging time, many parents and guardians are looking online for meaningful activities for their children that don’t require too much prep or too many materials. Each weekday on this blog, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will post an activity geared to a range of ages that guide children how to explore heritage, history, and learning through artifacts.
The collection of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust features thousands of artifacts that reflect Jewish life in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. One aspect of Jewish life during this time is immigration.
The artifact for this activity, an illustration from 1909 titled Welcoming Immigrants, tells part of this story. Many Jews and other groups came to the United States during this time period of “open immigration,” though it is important to note that there were laws, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, enacted to prevent immigration from being open to all.
Ask your student:
- Describe the people on the left side of the drawing. What are they doing? What message are they trying to communicate to the others on the right?
- They are holding their arms open in a welcoming gesture towards the others.
- What other symbols do you see?
- There is an eagle with the colors of the American flag.
- Describe how the people in this illustration are dressed – what differences to you see between the right and left sides? What does this indicate?
- Those on the left are dressed differently from the immigrants on the right. They are wearing clothes that were in style for the time period, suggesting that they are acculturated/assimilated into American mainstream culture.
- What is the message of this drawing?
- Those already in the United States should welcome new immigrants from Europe.
We encourage you to share your student’s work with us! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may feature it on our Museum blog!