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Industrialization - Be a Curator!

Be a Museum Curator!

Look What We Found! The Douglas Family Papers!

Industrialization: What dangers did early industrial workers face?You have been asked to assist the curator at the History Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in developing an exhibit about the Douglas family. You have a collection of old family papers and photographs that were given to the museum. What story do they tell?

Step 1 - Look at the inventory list

Trunk KeyTo begin putting the pieces of the puzzle together, read this biographical information about the Douglas family.

Then, look at the inventory list of documents and click on each one to preview the old photographs and letters.

Step 2 - Write research questions

Develop your research questions and identify which artifacts will help you answer those questions.

Here are a few questions to begin your research.

  • What did George Douglas look like as a child?
  • What did George Douglas look like as an adult?
  • What did the Douglas home look like?
  • What did his company produce?
  • What hardships did his company face?
  • What companies make products out of corn today?
  • How do we use these corn products every day?

Write two or three more research questions.

Step 3 - Review the inventory and find your answers

Look at the inventory list of family papers and photographs. Identify which documents, books and websites in the Media Center will help you answer each question.

Step 4 - Take a virtual field trip

Brucemore c. 1909

Brucemore c. 1909

To learn more about George B. Douglas, take a virtual field trip and visit to Brucemore, home of George and Irene Douglas and their three daughters, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Step 5 - Solve the history mystery

As part of your collection of materials, you found two letters you want to display at the museum. But you need to give the museum visitor some background information on the letters.

In your research group, use the following resources to develop hypotheses (guesses) about these two letters.

When you have explored these resources, develop a statement about each letter. Tell what you absolutely know about the letter. Then "fill in the blanks" with a hypothetical statement (educated guessing) about what you believe to be true about the letters.

Share your conclusion with the class.

Step 6 Photo analysis

Complete the photographic analysis activity to learn more about an amazing thing that happened to the company.


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