Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Architecture and Interior Design

[Detail] New York city views. Sutton Place (Samuel H Gottscho)

1) Paragraphs, Postcards, and Plots

Because the content of this collection is so extensive, students can select an image on a topic that interests them and do one or more of the following activities:

  • Write a descriptive paragraph about the scene portrayed. The paragraph should include sights, sounds, and other sensory details.
  • Use the image as a postcard and write a message on the back to a friend or family member back home.
  • Use the image as a setting or plot starter for a short story.

For example, students might search on beach or amusement parks. Browse the Subject Index to find a variety of topics to investigate.

2) Tour Book

Ask students to write a travel article about a sightseeing visit to one of the places in New York City represented in the collection. Students can include the image in their article. Volunteers can compile the articles to create a tour book of the city.

Suggested destinations might include buildings, parks, statues and monuments, theaters, and gardens. The tour book can also include advertisements based on photographs of retail stores or restaurants.

For example, students might search on Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, midtown, 5th Avenue, and Schrafft's.

3) A "Many-Storied" Report

Images of skyscrapers can be used as the basis for preparing oral reports. Invite students to work in small groups to report on the building of skyscrapers in New York City. Suggest that the report have three parts and that members work together to prepare the following:

  • history of skyscraper building in New York City
  • architectural designs for skyscrapers (images with descriptions of differences and similarities)
  • skyscraper records (Which is tallest? Which was the first skyscraper built?)

4) Literature Study

Have students read a book that reflects the culture of the years included in this collection. Students can then report on what they learned from the book about the characteristics of the times, using images from the collection to help convey the information. Some suggested books include:

  • World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell