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Parents' Guide to

National Archives

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Treasure trove of history, lineage, and other resources.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this website.

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Kids will find a plethora of resources for personal and academic research on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website. Some items, such as the microfilm holdings, have to be viewed at a physical NARA location or ordered, but the site provides online access to plenty of fascinating items, ranging from census records to executive orders signed by presidents dating back to Herbert Hoover. The site is definitely a research-based resource. You won't see bright colors, animation, or other items that make it feel like it was designed for kids. However, its content can help kids learn about history, the U.S. population, and government and can be used to supplement papers, reports, and classroom instruction. NARA's site isn't necessarily structured to help users roam for random facts; you have to enter a search term to find information in many of the sections, so it works best if you know what you’re looking for. However, if kids aren't using the site to track down a specific document or type of information, NARA's blogs, genealogy research, and other additional resources can provide plenty of interesting reading material.

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