We’re embarking on a multi-year journey to tell a more inclusive story about “who we were” and “who we are.” With partners anchored in communities all across the country, with expertise that ranges from immigrant experiences to the Revolutionary War to the Civil Rights Movement and everything in between, Made By Us creates opportunities for informed civic participation that links our past, present and future.
Like our democracy itself, Made By Us is an ongoing experiment that is shaped by the people involved. Want to join us? Sign up for emails to stay in the loop, join our BFF list, or have your organization explore becoming an Anchor Partner.
The Civic Season: Summer 2021
As an example of putting our commitment into action, we’re teaming up with our partners at Civics Unplugged to build the inaugural Civic Season held from Juneteenth to July 4th, 2021. Designed to inspire young people to get involved in creating our nation’s democracy, the Civic Season mobilizes us all to Rewind: engage with our past; Reflect: take action in the present, and Reimagine: shape the future, through activations in our neighborhoods, cities, towns and social spaces. Got an event or program that might be right for Civic Season and want to get involved? We invite you to submit using this form.
Here are some of the ways we’ve begun to build the go-to resource for connecting young people with the nation’s cultural institutions and all they have to offer:
- My Wish For U.S. – Share our vision for America’s future and explore wishes from across the nation
- The Future Made By Us workshops – Sharing mindsets and skillsets to help you shape the future
- You Are the Primary Source – We’re living through history – how will we document it?
- In Conversation – Discussions and programs lending context to what’s happening now
- Our Takes – Op-eds and writing about history, civic engagement and young-people-power
- #MBUMonday – Weekly series on people powering the future with history
- Press – Made By Us in the news
- Follow Us – Never miss a moment!
My Wish For U.S. invites anyone and everyone to voice their hopes and dreams for the future of the United States, as we approach the nation’s 250th anniversary. This is our first step – by articulating the kind of nation we want to build, we can inspire each other to take action. My Wish For U.S. has been named the first program officially recognized by America250, the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission coordinating the largest, most inclusive commemoration of U.S. history yet – our 250th anniversary in 2026.
Growing Readers and Leaders
Through a collaboration with First Book and AMERICAN HERITAGE Chocolate, we gave away 45,000 books nationwide to Title 1 teachers who shared their vision at MyWishForUS.com.
Throughout 2020, we hosted “The Future Made By Us” virtual workshop series. In each of these interactive, online sessions, we shared a different technique that futurists and innovators use to connect a vision for tomorrow with actions you can take today. Together, we explored Backcasting; Ecosystem Mapping and Power Mapping; and with Lisa Kay Solomon of the Stanford d.school, how to Vote By Design. With our partners at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina, we explored how to “argue better” about tech boom tensions thanks to a partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Better Arguments Project.
We’re living through history, and museums and cultural institutions are documenting and preserving it all. We launched a crowdsourced map listing over 500 such initiatives nationwide. View the map.
You can join in the #TrashOrTreasureChallenge, using our activity PDF for home or classroom – sharing what *you’d* save to remember from this time. Or, see what objects our museum partners selected, like this old ventilator machine, left, from the Tallahassee Museum which will be rebuilt for use in today’s crisis.
Transforming the American Table with Andrew Zimmern
CBS This Morning: Preserving pandemic history with Made By Us
GOTV: The Role of Art in Democracy (with JANM and MOCA)
Civics Made By Us with Reagan Institute Summit on Education
Ask a Historian: Pandemics and Public Health with HistoryMiami's Dr. George
Misinformation & American Democracy, Past and Present
Land of the Free: with Kidada Williams
When You Can't Put Turkey on the Table: The Past and Present of Food Justice
Four Inspiring Young Black Women Stepping Into Their Power
The past is present. These women are shaping the future, using history as a tool to guide and inspire.
Our Past, My Future: Growing Up Black in America
As we look back, we must also look around. In honor of Black History Month, we asked several young Americans how their experience growing up Black in America has been shaped by history, both lived and learned. History is a collection of experiences remembered. By amplifying the voices of young Black Americans today, their words become a powerful record for future generations.
Nanyehi “Nancy” Ward Helped Lead the Cherokee Nation As a Teenager
It’s more than apparent that the future is female — but let’s not forget that the past is female too. We draw inspiration from the stories of Native women leaders like Nanyehi “Nancy” Ward, a member of the Cherokee Nation who believed that women would be critical to establishing peace with white settlers.
The First Step To A Better Future? Having Difficult Conversations About The Past
Without a broad and accurate grasp on the origin of today’s issues, we cannot appropriately resolve them, much less build a stronger America for all. That’s why prioritizing education inside and outside the classroom is the first step in creating a better America.
Gen Z's Wish for America
Young people have always driven change; after all, we have to live the longest with the outcomes of the decisions happening now. When we asked our Gen Z fellows their wish for the future of the United States, what they decided on is a statement that might just help us all.
Who Tells Your Story? Tips for Capturing Your Personal Past — and Present
Need some inspo to get started? Meet the world’s youngest certified genealogist, Alex Trapps-Chabala.
Gen Z is leaning in. Are museums ready to make room?
For museums, this kind of engagement is encouraging; it’s an opportunity to provide trusted expertise, sources and scholarly context. But to join their conversation, we have to make room at our decision-making tables for Gen Z leaders and creators, embracing the accountability they’re putting in place.
History can help shape the future. But first, we need to get comfortable with complexity
Across the country, over the last few weeks, people tuned into reports from D.C., Minneapolis, Atlanta and Los Angeles with emotions running high. One common reaction wove its way through the clutter of news articles, opinion pieces and tweets: a craving for history to help us understand how we got to where we are, and how to find a way forward.
Collaboration for justice: How history's more inclusive past foretells our future
If we had a wish, it would be, like our ancestors Ida B. Wells and Madam C.J. Walker, that the opportunity to have a voice in politics as both voters and public servants truly made available to all.
Frederick Douglass found hope in our Declaration of Independence. So can we.
Rodney E. Slater, vice chair of the National Archives Foundation Board of Directors, partner at Squire Patton Boggs, and a former secretary of transportation, reflects on the founding promise stated in our most treasured documents – and the work, and faith, required to make it real.
Books Can Teach Empathy and Connect Past, Present & Future. That’s Why We’re Helping Teachers Fill Their Classroom Libraries
Books can open our eyes to new circumstances, but they can also help us develop a radical empathy for others and for the ties that bind us to the past, present and future. They put us in the story and connect us to our shared humanity.
Our Hidden Superpower: The Sum of our Parts
The challenges we face now are unique and devastating, but the way to tackle them is the same: let us band together, share what we have and what we know, and grow our capacity to thrive among new-ness. That’s the engine that powers Made By Us, and we’d like to invite you to join us for the ride.
Reading Lists Aren’t Just For Summer — These Books Inspire Year-Round
We turned to our partners to create a crowdsourced, digital version of an annotated bookshelf.
Curious about who is making history everyday in cities across the U.S.? #MBUMonday is where you can find changemakers and projects that are serving up history to the people, and sharing fun, creative and meaningful ways you can get involved in your community to make the future.
If you’re a member of the media interested in receiving our press kit or getting more information, please reach out to Valerie Donati at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- June 15, 2020
Made By Us Launches Its First Interactive Experience: My Wish For U.S., Inviting Everyone To Share Their Vision For The Future
- September 10, 2020
Made By Us, First Book and AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate Launch the Wishes For Books Giveaway, Inviting Teachers to Submit Their Classroom’s Wishes for the Future of the Country
- October 28, 2020
My Wish For U.S. is the First America 250 Program Officially Recognized by the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission
In the News
- Authority Magazine
Young Changemakers: How Caroline Klibanoff of “Made By Us” is helping to make a difference in our world
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Heinz History Center is part of national collaboration for ‘Made By Us’ initiative
Life Interrupted, Panel with Made By Us, Engine Group, AdWeek, EY and Snap
- Metro Philly
Carpenters’ Hall creates connections from the past to the present
“Wishes for Books” program is giving 20,000 books to classrooms across America
- Times of San Diego
Want to help make history while creating the future? We’ve got just the thing. Sign up to be the first to know about the latest experiments, experiences and ways to participate with Made By Us.