STEM All Hands on Tech: Black History Month

Kristin Staff Image

Museum apps often provide children with the opportunity to explore art and objects without ever traveling. The best part…these apps are usually free and offer the same content on display at these institutions, touching allowed in this case! Providing access and information, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh provides media mentorship and the chance for children and their families to explore high quality apps on tablets in our spaces. In support of our celebration of Black History Month, here are two free apps and books to share during your next library visit or from home.

The National Museum of African American History and Cultures Mobile Stories app is meant to be both a companion for museum visitors, and a resource for users no matter where they are. The app provides engagement with items in the museum encompassing every floor. Within these mobile stories museum curators, scholars and other expert contributors provide content that is both historical and contemporary, making those connections for audiences of all ages. Children and adults learning together can explore up close on their tablets the bedazzled costumes from The Wiz, activist art across decades and even the instruments used by musicians like Prince. This app is best shared with children by adults and educators as the content provides not only information, but the opportunity for discussion. Many of the opportunities to learn about museum collections are supported by additional activities and questions for children. Additionally, there is an opportunity to submit your reactions through prompts. Videos give curators the opportunity to provide even more information in this rich multimedia experience. This app can be utilized with all ages, but is best when shared together.

Created in collaboration with a Smithsonian exhibition, Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey explores the life and art of Bearden through various media. Young users can create their own collages inspired by the artist using real backgrounds and other components, set to music by Branford Marsalis. After creating their own unique art, children can view the public gallery of pieces created by users, as well as items in Smithsonian collections. In the educator portion, links to additional resources for students is provided with the opportunity to discuss and learn more. Connect everything you learn by creating collages at home with paper scraps.

Creating collages at the Library.

There’s no better compliment to sharing apps than sharing books and hands on activities! Most CLP children’s departments have iPads for you and your child to use and share within our spaces. Looking for books to enhance these two free apps? Try the following:

Cover of the book, "How to Build a Museum"

How to Build a Museum : Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture by Tonya Bolden

The campaign to set up a museum honoring black citizens is nearly 100 years old; building the museum itself and assembling its incredibly far-reaching collections is a modern story that involves all kinds of people, from educators and activists, to politicians, architects, curators, construction workers, and ordinary Americans who donated cherished belongings to be included.

Cover of the book, "My Hands Sing the Blues"

My Hands Sing the Blues by Jeanne Harvey Walker

In Harlem, New York City, an artist follows the rhythms of blues music as he recalls his North Carolina childhood while painting, cutting, and pasting to make art.

Cover of the book, "Jake Makes

Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, A Young Artist in Harlem by Sharifa Rhodes Pitts

Inspired by the childhood of artist Jacob Lawrence in 1930s Harlem, this picture book introduces young readers to a boy who finds inspiration in everyday things. Includes factual information about Lawrence as well as reproductions of seven of his works.

Cover of the book, "Radiant Child"

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City.

Kristin is the Digital Learning Lead Librarian at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She enjoys embroidery, feminist children’s literature and strong female protagonists! When not corralling robots at the Library you will find her hanging out with her dogs Iggy and Fritz.