You can ask:
1. What is it made of?
2. How was it made? Who made it? When?
3. What is or was its purpose?
4. Is it practical or just pretty?
5. How and why might the object have been
invented? Is it likely to be used again for its original
purpose? Why or why not?
6. Does it have a modern counterpart? If not, why not?
7. What insights into the past does this artifact give?
Does it help you understand and interpret the time
in which it was made and the people who used it?
Artifacts are anything made or used by human
beings. They can be used to illustrate history in
exhibits such as the ones in the state History
Museum in the Alabama Department of Archives
and History. Spearheads, arrowheads, cannons,
spinning wheels, candle molds, clothes and even
old toy fire trucks are artifacts.

When you think about it, artifacts know many
secrets about the past. If they could talk, they could
tell you what people used to do for a living, how
much work it was to run a household, what people
ate, what they did for fun, how they learned, how
they looked and much more.

Even though artifacts can't talk, you can still find
out these secrets by "interviewing" an artifact. Like
in a people interview, you will need to ask questions
to find out what an artifact has to tell you.

The next time that you visit the State History Mu-
seum in the Alabama Archives try to count the many
different types of artifacts that are on exhibit. Inter-
view these artifacts to learn the different stories they
can tell you about Alabama history

For more information contact the:
Alabama Department of Archives and History
Attention: Curator of Education
P.O. Box 300100
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100
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Updated: September 18, 2008