How I Use It
I use this site primarily to locate primary source documents to share with students. A very easy to use search box at the top of the page allows searching either the site or only primary sources. For example, a quick search on Columbus turns up pictures of Columbus' Barcelona letter with links to a transcript and English translation. We excerpted this letter for 7th and 8th grade students and used it as a read-aloud, which was very well received. The "History by Era" section of the site gives excellent resource collections broken down by the era of U.S history. I used the interactive timeline of the industrial era to give students ideas for researching people, events, and inventions that transformed the U.S during the Industrial Revolution.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute site is well-organized and contains many well-catalogued resources. Students at the middle school level might have a difficult time navigating the resources simply because there are so many available, but this should be no problem for teachers. If anyone is pursuing primary documents in nearly any historical genre, the resources are available. and accessible. A reliable and engaging source for documents, videos, and other interactive resources.