Learn with Hanford Mills

Capturing History: Photography (Post-Visit)




Understand the basic concepts of the art and technology of photography, and exhibit those concepts through their own photographic creation.


Students will analyze photographs taken by their classmates and will interpret their own photographs for the class.


  • Digital photographs taken at the Museum
  • Photograph template
  • Printer paper
  • A copy of the activity questions to be written on a board or overhead transparency
  • Writing implements


  • Preparation Time: Approximately 20 minutes. (Varies according to how many pictures you need to print)
  • Class Time: 30-45 minutes


  • Before the class, insert each digital photograph file into the photograph template. Print one copy of each. If your students are advanced computer users, you may opt to have them do this, but it will require more class time.
    • In class, have a discussion about your visit to Hanford Mills Museum.
      Questions to ask

    • What did you learn there?
    • What interested you?
    • What did we learn about historic photographs?
    • Would you have been able to identify the people in them if there weren’t any labels?
  • Give each student the template with his/her photograph.
  • Ask the students to explain the significance of their photographs in the spaces provided on their templates. They should do this independently. Ask them not to share their descriptions with anyone else.
    • Ask students to fold their templates along the dotted line so that only their photograph faces outward.

      • Questions to ask:

      • Why is this photograph important?
      • What can we learn from the photograph?
      • What if we didn’t know anything about this photograph except what we see in it? What could we learn?
    • Ask the photographer to read his/her label to the class.
      • Summary Questions to ask:

      • Is photography art, science or technology? (ALL)
      • How are photographs a reliable source?
      • How are photographs an unreliable source?


  • Finished photography project
  • Participation in discussion (listening and speaking)
  • Written description of photograph
  • Brief oral presentation of photograph and its significance

NYS Learning Standards:

  • ELA Standard 1
  • ELA Standard 2
  • The Arts Standard 2
  • Math, Science and Tech. Standard 4
  • Social Studies Standard 4