photographs are a valuable source of information. Historians use
photographs as well as other primary sources in their own research,
and as evidence and illustration to help others learn about the
a closer look at the ways pictures can be used to gain historical
information and understanding. Then try out the role of historian
with a few of the images from Connecticut History Online!
1. Select one of the Connecticut
History Online images from the group below.
2. Print out the Photo Observation
and Analysis Worksheet.
3. Examine the photograph carefully,
and fill in the Observations section of the worksheet.
One strategy is to look at the photograph in sections, carefully
noting all the people, activities, structures and landscape features
that you see. Your observations should be extensive and detailed
enough to allow you to write a title and caption for the photograph
and or allow someone who has not seen the photograph to visualize
4. Now draw some conclusions
about what you see in the Analysis/Interpretation
section of the worksheet. Some examples of interpretation might
be: the purpose of the photograph, nature of the activity you
observe, or relationships between the people.
5. Record any prior knowledge
you have in the What I Think I Know section. For example,
in trying to date a photograph, you might have observed that all
the city/town streets are dirt roads. You might remember that
roads were unpaved before the invention/widespread use of the
automobile, so your entry in the What I Think I Know
section might be: Before automobiles, roads were not paved.
6. Record any questions you
have in the Further Investigation section.
7. See if you can find the
image in the CHO database through Search/Browse Images.
Use clues from your observations in identifying keywords and subjects
that can help you in your search.
8. Using the Full Record
view, see whether your conclusions about the time, place and subject
of the photograph were on-target, and whether the record provides
answers to any of your questions.
9. Seek out additional information
to verify or modify your understanding of the photograph and/or
add to what you have learned. In addition to the CHO database
record for the image, you might want to explore books and other
sources recommended by CHO and or classroom or library books.
Note any revisions on your worksheet in the What Ive
Write about what happens
next in your photograph
Find other images related to
your photograph in the CHO database
Follow the image observation
and analysis process with unidentified family photographs. Try
to find a family member who can provide information, and interview
him or her about the photograph. Record what youve discovered
so that the photograph is no longer unidentified!