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11 Websites and Apps for Historical Research

Check out these tools that help students learn historical information.

Ellen Holderman | December 6, 2013

This Top-Picks List Friday, we are looking at websites and apps that help students do historical research. Young historians will be excited to dive into these impressive resources featuring a wealth of historical information including images, documents, and scholarly work. There are also a few tools on the list that help students organize what they find.

To see the most updated version of this list as well as the rating of each app, game, or website, visit the Top Picks List: 

Photo by PhotographyByPaul.


Asian Art Museum
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco's educational website offers 91 lessons and activities; 326 videos; images of 257 pieces of art, and many more resources for educators and students. Read full review.

National Archives
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website features legal and historical records, documents, and other materials from the federal government, which students can use for personal or academic research. Read full review.

Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America is an ambitious online resource with an incredible wealth of information that kids can access safely. With DPLA, kids can really dig in and find information they never expected. Not only are kids learning about various subjects, they're learning how to search, which is a super-transferable skill in this age of information. Read full review.

Google Scholar
Teachers and students can use Google Scholar as a resource to find credible sources for reports, papers, and other assignments. The search engine results include academic theses, articles, books, abstracts, and court opinions. Read full review.

Smithsonian Quests - This product is no longer available.
Smithsonian Quests is a site that allows kids to complete online "quests," various projects that require some web research and a finished result that they turn in for rewards. Smithsonian Quests' interdisciplinary, themed exercises emphasize depth over breadth and help kids build real-world skills Read full review.

National Archives DocsTeach
National Archives DocsTeach brings the online archives and activities to the iPad. Students and teachers can search activities by time period and movement or enter a classroom code to access materials and activities chosen by the teacher. Read full review.

Historypin is a map-based website that allows "people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history." By allowing anyone to become a historian, it gathers democratized information about the past, sometimes from the very people who lived it. Read full review.

PBS LearningMedia
PBS LearningMedia contains tens of thousands of digital resources aligned to Common Core standards and ready for classroom use. Topics cover English language arts, math, professional development, science and health, and social studies with resources for grades Pre-K through college. Read full review.

Museum Box
Museum Box is a website that allows users to curate a collection of multimedia on any subject by virtually placing and organizing items in a "museum box." It's easy to see students getting happily lost in 100 topics, including flags, animals, cultures, science, hobbies, landmarks, natural landscapes, and zany facts. Read full review.

Barefoot World Atlas
Paper atlas, meet the Digital Age with Barefoot World Atlas. Flip through and find animations and real-time data from around the world to bring facts to life. It's easy to see students getting happily lost in 100 topics, including flags, animals, cultures, science, hobbies, landmarks, natural landscapes, and zany facts. Read full review.

Tiki Toki
Tiki-Toki is an online, interactive timeline creator. With lots of comparable sites out there, what sets Tiki-Toki apart is its ability to blend traditional chronological mapping with multimedia and text in a slick, professional-looking layout. Read full review.


What websites or apps do you use that help students learn more about the world around them? Sign in to comment below.