Common Sense


Best Museum Apps and Websites for Students

Museum websites give students opportunities to pore over the world's priceless collections and exhibits from the comfort of home or the classroom. These museum and archival websites offer an immense collection of primary and secondary resources for research into the depths of history, science, culture, and society, both in the U.S. and around the world. Many also feature lesson plans, interactives, and other resources aimed specifically at classrooms, making it easier to connect curriculum to museum artifacts and documents. Teachers should also make sure to check out the professional development resources and field trip opportunities -- both remote and in-person -- these sites often offer.

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Top Picks


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Asian Art Museum

Inventive lessons and activities integrate Asian history, art, and more

Bottom line: It offers an in-depth look at Asia’s influence on art and history and provides lots of creative tools for educators.

Smithsonian's History Explorer

Browse and use American history artifacts and activities

Bottom line: This is a handy resource that, with some effort, will uncover resources for kick-starting curious learning.

Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science

Outdated site still useful for science games and investigations

Bottom line: Many of these interesting and highly educational activities, though a bit disorganized, still challenge and engage kids in important ways.

California Academy of Sciences

Expert research and diverse, rich lessons inspire future scientists

Bottom line: A perfect companion to (or substitute for) the Academy, this site delivers highly interactive resources and research with a lot of depth.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Powerful stories and media centralize African-American history

Bottom line: While there aren't ready-to-go curricular materials, this modern, well-curated, and well-contextualized digital collection is sure to inspire compelling lessons.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Epic science museum's site has unparalleled but disorganized content

Bottom line: While it needs some updating and organizing, this is still an unmatched resource for the history of air travel and space flight.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Virtual tour lets kids explore interactions of humans and our world

Bottom line: A great gateway to explore evidence and artifacts about the natural world; be ready to build your own lesson plans if you don't plan to visit in real life.


Whimsical, kid-friendly intro to the wide world of art

Bottom line: A wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art.

Library of Congress

Dig into famed library's collection of research goodies

Bottom line: The Library of Congress delivers the best of America's past and present, and with teacher support it could be a reliable research resource for students.

Tate Kids

Hands-on activities and explorations give the art world a splash of color

Bottom line: A wonderful site that really engages kids in the world of art and provides great inspirations.

9/11 Museum Audio Guide

Thoughtful, expansive tours personalize sobering museum experience

Bottom line: An excellent digital extension of a thoughtfully designed museum.

National Archives

Access U.S. history with treasure trove of docs, genealogy, and other resources

Bottom line: NARA's website wasn't designed for kids, but they can definitely use it to research and learn about history, genealogy, and the U.S. population and government.

Digital Public Library of America

Organized digital library features piles of useful primary resources

Bottom line: DPLA is at the top of the list of high-grade, online primary source collections if teachers make effective use of what's on offer.

Ford's Theatre

Site famous for its Lincoln assassination resources has more to offer

Bottom line: This site can support meaningful, primary source-driven examination of some of the most important events in U.S. history, but educators will need to dig a little.


Science experiments and activities abound in this comprehensive resource

Bottom line: A host of mostly at-home activities are available if kids stick to the Explore tab of online resources.

Common Sense Selection

Google Arts & Culture

Well-curated art and history site inspires curious learning

Bottom line: A beautifully presented one-stop shop for compellingly curated and contextualized art, history, and culture resources, but it's lacking educator supports.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Extensive resource collection supports teaching about the Holocaust

Bottom line: As a valuable resource for anyone teaching or learning about the Holocaust, time to explore and plan is necessary in order to make the materials effective.

National Museum of the American Indian

Valuable resources offer needed perspectives, require adaptation

Bottom line: This site is great for the planning phase and has excellent resources for bringing in Native perspectives and histories, but it will need some tweaking to fit well into classrooms.

The National WWII Museum - New Orleans

High-quality resources and activities offer an in-depth study

Bottom line: Materials and activities support a thorough study of World War II, making this a valuable resource for both teachers and students.

Smithsonian X3D

Touch, explore, and interact with amazing 3D artifacts

Bottom line: A unique, highly credible resource to add to your classroom repertoire -- if a topic matches your course and kids.

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