Learn with Hanford Mills

Reading and Analyzing Photographs




Analyze and use historic photographs as research sources.


Students will review what they learned from the photographs at the Hanford Mills Museum and they will suggest what people in the future will learn from the photograph of them taken at the Museum.


  • Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Class Time: 30 minutes


  • Before class, download the template from the website and save it. Use a graphics program you are familiar with to place the class photo in the template and print enough paper copies for each student.
    • At the beginning of class, discuss the photos you saw at Hanford Mills.
      Questions to ask:

    • Is a story being told here in this picture?
    • What can we learn about the past from old photos?
    • How do these sources differ from books that you read?
  • Give one template to each student.
    • Ask the students to look at the photo of the class taken at the Museum. In the spaces provided, ask them to answer the following question in one paragraph.

    • Question to ask: What do you think the photograph will tell people who see it in one hundred years?
  • Consider hanging the students’ work on the wall.


  • Participation in class discussion (speaking and listening).
  • Written description of class photograph.

NYS Learning Standards:

  • ELA Standard 2
  • ELA Standard 3
  • Social Studies Standard 1