Reserve an Educational Kit For school groups visiting Louisiana’s Old State Capitol to see the exhibition in person, teachers may request an education kit from Louisiana’s Old State Capitol to use before or after visiting the Jacob A. Riis exhibition.
Lesson One: Playgrounds and Parks in the City By analyzing historic images, students will learn about the public health issues New Yorkers faced in the late 19thcentury. They will also understand how Jacob Riis used his photographs to advocate for building playgrounds and parks in especially dense neighborhoods. Students will then consider the role of playgrounds and parks in their own neighborhoods and design a new recreational space.
Lesson Two: An Evolving Photographer: From Candids to Portraits By examining a selection of photographs and textual excerpts by Jacob Riis, students will consider Riis’s different techniques for capturing the plight of individuals in neighborhoods like the Lower East Side in the late 19th century. They will consider how his portrayals evolved, and debate the ethics of Riis’s approach to depicting working class New Yorkers.
Lesson Three: How the Other Half Works: Immigration and Labor at the Turn of the Century Students will analyze visual and textual primary sources and learn about working conditions for immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York. In particular, students will gain an understanding of how labor frequently blurred the line between work and home, at times involving whole families. They will also consider how different reformers envisioned solutions to the labor problems of the day. Lesson Four: Images and Technology in Jacob Riis's Era This lesson examines the different formats and uses of Jacob Riis’s images in the late 19th century. Students will learn about technological innovations, such as the flash powder, the stereograph, the magic lantern, and the halftone print, and how differences in these formats shaped the impact of Riis’s images. They will also consider the ethical ambiguities of Riis’s early photographic techniques.