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National Archives and Records Administration: Central Plains Region [MO]

The Central Plains regional branch of the National Archives holds federal and court records from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Iowa. Collections include Leavenworth Penitentiary mugshots and files, World War II draft cards, naturalization records, federal land records, and records from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, among other topics.

On site, you can conduct research, take in exhibits, make rubbings of well-known signatures, and watch an 11-minute film. Prior to visiting you can arrange a facility tour (for adults or for children) and/or children's activities. Take a look at this handy .PDF file for an overview of the archives and descriptions of source types. The archives even provides a list of local restaurants to make visiting easy. Additional visit preparation resources include online finding guides for looking through a portion of the available records and a current exhibit listing.

In addition, the archives offers a calendar of free public events. Reservations are required.

Just for Students and Educators

The Central Plains archive branch emphasizes hands-on activities for students, which can be customized to meet your current curricula needs and meet either at the archives or your school. Other visit options include guided or self-guided exhibit tours, complete with pre-visit curriculum packets and information on how the exhibits related to state standards, and professional development workshops

In addition to on-site opportunities, you students can also participate in one of five interactive distance learning programs. Topics include using documents, the Civil War, history online, westward expansion, and National Archives online resources. You can also request a free annual primary source CD with documents, information on their relationship to national standards, teacher notes, suggested activities, and analysis worksheets. While you're waiting for the CD to arrive or if you are interested in looking at a sample of its contents, try teaching suggestions on industrialization and/or the Civil War or Constitution Day lesson plans.