l. Draw a map of where cuneiform was used in the Middle East. Explain why the use of cuneiform spread throughout the region.
2. Use a clay tablet and stylus to make a cuneiform tablet.
3. Research the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone or the Behistun Rock.
4. Compare the Babylonian story of the flood in the epic of Gilgamesh with the story of Noah and the flood in the Bible.
5. Consider the propaganda value of coins by comparing the coins of the Roman Republic with those of the Roman Empire.
6. There were many great libraries in antiquity. Find out more about the libraries at
Ebla, Nineveh, or Alexandria.
7.Discuss how letters in antiquity were mailed by looking at communications systems
such as the Roman roads, sea routes, or the Persian Royal Road.
8. Some historians believe that Vikings and others reached the North American continent long before Columbus. Look for information regarding the Kensington Stone or Mystery Hill and the possibility of early settlement. Barry Fell discusses these controversial ideas in several books.
9. Visit the Johnson Museum of Art on the Cornell campus and examine the coin collection in the Ancient gallery.
l. Teachers might divide the class into groups and have each group construct a different phrase in hieroglyphics. Each group could write the phrase on the board and ask the rest of the class to decipher the phrase. A discussion of pictographs and phonetic alphabets could follow .
2. Study the Book of the Dead and explain some of the spells with the class.
3. Research the evolution of the goddess Ma'at into an ethical code.
4. Look at Egyptian coffins and their use of hieroglyphics.The exhibition catalogue of the tomb of Tutankhamen might be a good starting point.
5. Some historians believe that poses of Isis and her child are models for the medieval madonna and child. Compare these depictions.
6. Connect the attributes of the various Egyptian gods and goddesses with Egyptian geography. (Consider, for instance, Anubis, Horus, or Osiris).
7. Read the Negative Confession portion of the Book of the Dead. What does this
reveal about Egyptian society, religion, and politics?
8.Read selections from the journal of Howard Carter (who excavated the tomb of Tut) or an account of Belzoni's excavations.
l. After researching the training of scribes, write a diary of a scribe in ancient or medieval Africa, Asia, Europe, or the Middle East. In a short story, two scribes from different areas could meet and compare their circumstances.
2. Write your name in calligraphy, one which suits your personality. From what Greek word does calligraphy originate?
3. Present an exhibition of the various ways Suleiman the Magnificent wrote his name.
4. Discuss the differences between pictographs and alphabets.
5. Trace the route of the Roman alphabet throughout the Middle East and Europe.
6. Present an exhibition of the depictions of scribes in art.
7. Select examples from Persian pottery or Asian fabric and discuss the use of calligraphy.
8. Invite a paper-maker to class or try to make your own paper.
9. Visit the Johnson Museum of Art to view the case with the implements of the Chinese scholar.
l. The works in this case are associated with the life of Buddha, the teachings of Confucius, the story of Sukkot (or the Feast of Tabernacles) and revelations to Muhammad. For a comparative religions exercise, assign each of four students the task of learning more about these figures and events. Have each student present information to the other members of the group.
2. Draw your own illustrations after reading selections from one of these texts and becoming familiar with the art of that society.
3. Compare Islamic and Hebrew illuminated manuscripts from medieval Spain and explain why they might be similar.
4. Design your own case for a Shan manuscript.
5. Find out about the different dialects in China and explain how the printed word could unify different groups.
l. Draw your own rubric or initial.
2. Research the iconography of important figures like St. Francis, St. Catherine, St. Peter, St. Lawrence. Why were their attributes chosen?
3. Visit the Johnson Museum of Art to see other illuminated manuscripts.
4. Research material on the Visconti Hours and Giovannino de Grassi , a painter, miniaturist, sculptor, and architect for Milan cathedral whose works in the Visconti Hours may have influenced the Cornell Lombard Gradual.
5. Draw your own carpet page after looking at the Lindisfarne Gospels or the Book of Kells or draw your own calendar page after looking at the Tres Riches Heures of Jean Duc du Berry.
6.Write a diary or a short story as if you were a monk at Cluny (where there was a great
library) or at Lindisfarne.
7. Find out more about the female illustrators of the Middle Ages. Christine de Pisan mentioned a woman named Anastasie and Hildegard of Bingen illustrated her own works.
8. Trace the path of an illuminated manuscript in the Middle Ages. Ecclesiastical documents were prized possessions and were objects of trade.
9. Find a group of fellow singers to sing Gregorian chant or listen to a recording.
l0. Discuss the changes in musical notation from the Middle Ages to the present.
11. Prepare an exhibition of 1960's rock posters. What do these reveal about the importance of music and musical groups?
1. Other cultures used printing long before Europe. Find out more about the Diamond Sutra, the world's oldest printed book , which contains the sermons of Buddha (868 C.E.), or about Feng Tao who ordered wood block printing of Confucian writings, or about Korean books which were printed with bronze movable type in the fifteenth century, or about the first book printed in the western hemisphere (in Mexico City).
2. There are many versions of the Bible. The oldest complete Hebrew Bible was called the Babylonicus Petropolitanus and dates from 916 C.E. Wycliffe translated the Bible into English in the fourteenth century, Erasmus printed a new Greek edition of the New Testament in 1516 , and the King James Version appeared in the seventeenth century. Find out more about any of these important editions.
3. Gutenberg may have been the first to use movable print, but he was not the only important printer. Aldus printed books in Italy and Caxton printed books in Italy. Learn more about their printed works. (Why, for instance, is there an Aldine computer software program?)
4. Invite a printer to class or make a model of a printing press.
5. Look for old pieces of type in flea markets and second hand shops and print a page.
6. Discuss the revolution in desk-top publishing.
7. Find five different advertisements using five different kinds of type. Explain the marketing strategies behind using each particular typeface.
1. Diderot's Encyclopedia was banned. Explain why.
2. In the eighteenth century Johnson also compiled a Dictionary. Compare and contrast the Dictionary and the Encyclopedia.
3. With the publication of his dictionary Noah Webster encouraged the recognition of a uniquely American society. Explain his contribution.
4.In the absence of an alphabet, what system of classification did the Encyclopedia Maxima use?
5. Find out about the Native American/ European language dictionaries compiled by the early European colonizers.
6. World Wide Web offers a great amount of information on its home pages. Compare and contrast its system of classification and the techniques for obtaining information with that of printed books.
1. Take a field trip to the cemetery and make rubbings of interesting stones. Mount an exhibition and then discuss what these stones reveal.
2. Read and discuss a slave narrative.
3. Write a diary as if you were a slave. You might have been sold, purchased your freedom, or escaped on the Underground Railroad.
4. Read selections from the Code of Hammurabi and discuss the concept of justice. You might compare this ancient concept with today's concept of justice.
5. The patent of nobility in the exhibition was issued by the Holy Roman Emperor. Discuss the concepts of empire and nobility in the seventeenth century . You might want to consider the reign of Louis XIV of France at this time as well.
6. Many societies have required travel papers or identification papers. Find out more about identification papers in Nazi Germany, travel documents in revolutionary France, safe conduct papers in medieval China, or banishment papers to Siberia in Stalinist Russia.
1. Compare several different versions of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: Caxton, the Ellsmere Manuscript, and the William Morris edition. Discuss aspects which change and aspects which remain constant.
2. Read selections from one of the famous travel journals: Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Toqueville, Freya Stark, Richard Lepsius, Viscountess Strangford (Emily Anne Smythe), or Wilfred Thesinger.
3. Art preserves the past. Examine the illustrations in Description de l'Egypte, or Piranesi, or Catherwood's Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, or Owen Jones and Jules Ghoury's Plans , Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra , or David Roberts' The Holy Land and discuss what these works reveal not only about the art but about the attitudes and values of the time in which they were published.
4.Using your memory, draw a map or a picture of a site which you can no longer visit.
5. Take a walk on the Arts Quadrangle of the Cornell campus and list examples of buildings which illustrate the nineteenth century obsession with the classical and medieval periods. List the building and the neo-gothic or neo-classical elements.
6.Take a piece of newspaper and cut it into five pieces. Leave one piece unprotected, place one piece in an envelope, place one piece under glass, place one piece in a book, and place one piece under wax paper. Leave them all in a sunny place. After a month, compare the pieces and decide which piece of paper was best preserved.
7. Take a walk on the Cornell campus and look at the entrances to Sibley Hall and White Hall. Examine the stone carefully. How do these stones preserve the past?
8. Conduct an oral history interview with an older person you know. (Ask your librarian for pamphlets on oral history to help you formulate your questions).
1. Read the selections from the Minnesota ordinance proposed by Catherine McKinnon (enclosed). Present a formal debate regarding her definition of pornography.
2. Examine newspapers from the last fifty years to discover whether there have been controversies regarding the teaching of certain books or certain theories in your school. In addition, you might interview teachers or librarians on this issue.
3. Read the Supreme Court case United States vs. Grove Press or another censorship case. Summarize the opinions of the majority and the dissent. Comment on whether you believe the arguments still sound contemporary.
4.Debate the topic : Resolved that witchcraft trials
were essentially anti-female.
6. Explain how famous nursery rhymes were once used to criticize government leaders and contemporary events and yet avoided censorship.
1.Read an annotated work, perhaps one such as Mother Goose ,Alice in Wonderland, a Shakespeare play, or one of those actually in the exhibition case. In a short essay explain whether you believe the annotation enhanced or detracted from your enjoyment of the work.
2. Write or find a short story for a student in an elementary class. Publish it as an interactive book with movable parts and then share it with a younger student.
3.Select a poem by a favorite author. After learning more about the poem and the author, annotate the poem.