University of Minnesota

Integration of immigrants in their new communities

The Immigration History Research Center is home to thousands of feet of archival records that illuminate the immigrant experience, past and present. While these records are available to students and teachers for research in the University of Minnesota’s Andersen Library, exploring the archive from afar is as simple as connecting to the internet. The IHRC’s collection of digitized archival material provides a plethora of resources suitable for a variety of purposes, including the creation of curriculum for K-12 educators interested in migration history.

What were characteristics of the immigrant experience? How did immigrants and refugees adjust to their new lives in the United States? Inversely, how did American citizens born in the United States react to the increased diversification of their communities, and learn to live with individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds?  Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies expect students of all grade levels to consider how immigrants and citizens alike participate in the civic lives of their communities, and to understand the steps that immigrants take to become United States citizens. Incorporating digitized archival material into lesson plans will provide opportunities for students to engage these questions, and prompt young people to begin considering the many types of common experiences that bring together people from all corners of the globe.

In the pages that follow, IHRC staff members have identified digitized images from the collections of the Ukrainian Folk Ballet of the Twin Cities; Immigration and Refugee Services of America; and the International Institute. Founded in 1919, the International Institute was established to provide various services for migrants who recently arrived to the United States. With branches in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, St. Louis, San Francisco, and other major U.S. cities, the International Institute continues to address the needs of the immigrants and refugees who settle in the United States.

The images have been organized thematically in order to initiate student discussion related to Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards and Benchmarks that address the study of migration. By incorporating these archival records into lesson plans, students will be able to think critically about the immigrant experience. Furthermore, working directly with primary sources will enable students to practice and develop research skills that will become increasingly important as they progress in their studies.

Festival of Nations
Culture and Arts
Civic Engagement and Americanization
Festival organizers   
Nationality tradition 
English language class


To discover more digital records for use in K-12 lesson plans, visit the IHRC’s portal for digital resources via the University of Minnesota’s UMedia Archive:

Click here for additional resources.


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