Make history real and relevant for your students! Join the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Department of State in a special collaborative three part online conference series where students can interact with experts and other classrooms from around the world to learn how diplomacy has shaped our country. Discover the real people, places, and pivotal moments behind history and headlines.

The “Diplomacy in Action” online education conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, will take place on Wednesday, February 12. Students will have the opportunity to earn the Diplomat badge through the Smithsonian Quests ( digital badge program, which supports self-directed, project-based learning that facilitates anywhere, anytime exploration.

As part of an Inter-Agency Initiative on Learning experts from the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Department of State will highlight objects from their respective collections and sites that exemplify the theme for students.  Each online session will feature free digital learning resources and teaching strategies that educators can use to explore cross-curricular lessons with their students. The experts also will respond to questions from participants.

Marcee Craighill and Dr. Susan Holly from the U.S. Department of State will present “Practicing Diplomacy from Early America to the Present” at 10 a.m. EST. They will take participants into the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State – 42 rooms used by the president, vice president and secretary of state to conduct American diplomacy at the highest levels.

Dr. Stephanie Toothman, the National Park Service’s Associate Director for Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science, will present “Places of Negotiation” at 1 p.m. EST. She will showcase several national parks, including Eisenhower National Historic Site, San Juan Island National Historical Park and Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, which tell stories of diplomacy and negotiation during major turning points in U. S. and international history.

Harry R. Rubenstein, curator from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will present “Changing America and the People behind a Movement” at 4 p.m. EST. He will discuss the pivotal role local grassroots movements played in the history of civil rights in America, from the Emancipation Proclamation to the March on Washington and beyond.

The Smithsonian Online Education Conference Series provides an online space for teachers and students to engage with Smithsonian experts and make connections from textbooks to today’s world. For more information, visit

Logo courtesy National Park Service

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