Local historic artifacts can be located in your town’s historical society or historical museum. Other period-appropriate examples are collected at institutions where images of their artifacts can be viewed online. These institutions include Historic New England (SPNEA), the Bostonian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Worcester Art Museum, the Concord Museum, the Smithsonian, and the Library of Congress.
The Smithsonian Education website offers an article on interpreting artifacts, entitled “Looking at Artifacts, Thinking About History,” by Steven Lubar and Kathleen Kendrick. In part it points out that artifacts are: “the objects we make and use [that] continually assert their presence simultaneously as material force and symbol. Each artifact, with its many stories, [holds] diverse meanings for different people, past and present. Think of them as bits of contested history. Looking closely at artifacts, putting them into historical context, and using them to understand the past, is exactly the kind of work that goes on in a museum. [There are] five ways to think about artifacts in history: Artifacts tell their own stories, connect people, mean many things, capture moments, reflect change.”