Pathways Through American History

Colorful mural depicting people in profile under an American flag and clasped hands
"Hope is a Waking Dream" mural

Photo by 7beachbum, CC BY 2.0.

What do you need from American history?

Maybe you seek inspiration from changemakers. Or courage to stand up for a cause of your own.

The diverse history and heritage on offers answers. But America’s past and its present are like a vast wilderness. It can be tricky to find your footing as you trek your way through the many stories embodied in parks and historic sites across the country.

Pathways Through American History blazes some trails through this digital landscape. Each Pathway follows a theme and highlights content about some of the people, places, and stories associated with that theme.

Along the way, you’ll find trail markers, labeled with inquiry questions. These questions are intended to help you think deeply about how the stories you encounter relate to each other, relate to you, and what you may take away from them.

Think of Telling All Americans’ Stories as your trailhead, where many of our stories intersect. You’ll discover where Americans have made big strides forward, but also encountered setbacks. We hope you find inspiration in these stories of resilience, persistence, and courage.

Start Your Adventure!

People march through the streets holding a banner
Making a Democracy

This Pathway explores stories of people who fought for civil and political rights--and against them.

A young African American woman watches at least seven sewing machines working simultaneously.t
Making a Living and Making a Life

This Pathway features stories about how Americans work, learn, and play.

Golden grass in foreground with building in background and blue sky
Every Place Has a History

Along this Pathway, discover how people have cherished, shared, and protected special places.

Two women look at a piece of paper in front of a camera
Everyone Has a History

Learn how historians and archeologists investigate the past and what you can do to tell all Americans' stories.

The "Pathways Through American History" series was authored by Jade Ryerson, Resource Assistant (Intern), and designed by Ella Wagner, 250th Commemorative Fellow, with the Cultural Resources Office of Interpretation and Education.

Last updated: September 14, 2023