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'Iolani School Archives: Cook Voyages

The ‘Iolani School Archives collects, organizes, preserves and provides access to historical records of ‘Iolani School.

Above steps by the National Archives

Teaching with Primary Sources

*Also see the Teaching and Primary Sources box in the Links tab of this guide.

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Cook Voyages

4th Grade Faculty!

Following the Captain Cook voyages classroom unit that is part of the 4th grade history of Hawai'i curriculum, students have the opportunity to visit the 'Iolani School Archives to view observations made by the crew. Students will be introduced to primary source images, encouraged to make observations, and analyze. The experience will improve visual literacy and introduce archives as a type of information resource.
The following is primarily intended to compliment your existing teaching units.


Grade: 4


Location: 'Iolani School Archives


Introduction Talking Points:
The Archivist will begin a discussion centered around introducing the students to the concept of an archive and archival collections.
The conversation will grow organically based on student responses with the goal of touching upon the following:

  • What is an archive?
  • What is a primary source?
  • How is history passed on?
  • Longevity of materials.


Closed Stacks Experience:
Students will have the opportunity to go into the closed stacks which is a controlled environment space. They will be encouraged to notice the difference in feeling of temperature and all the special boxes.


Viewing of the 1785 Cook Atlas:
A Voyage To The Pacific Ocean, For Making Discoveries In The Northern Hemisphere. Performed Under The Direction Of Captains Cook, Clerke, And Gore, In His Majesty's Ships The Resolution And Discovery; In The Years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, And 1780.
This oversize, 2nd edition (1785) atlas volume includes Captain Cooks third (last) voyage. It includes maps and visual observations drawn by voyage artist John Webber.
The Archivist will show select pages of the atlas and lead the students in discussion.
Discussion points:

  • Artist (drawing) vs photographer
  • Map plotting path, dates, written observations ex: "seagull seen"
  • Spelling of place names- What does that say about communication?
  • Observations related to clothing; transportation; etc.


After viewing the atlas volume, student will complete the following place names matching activity.

Hawai'i Resources

Hawai'i State Archives

University of Hawai'i

Ka'iwakīloumoku - Kamehameha Schools

Legislative Research

Primary Source Spotlight - Cook Voyages

For quick information about
Captain James Cook see
Villiers, Alan John. "James Cook". Encyclopedia Britannica, 7 May. 2021,

Important Questions

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)

Photographs / Images - Visual Literacy

Photograph Based Questions - Examining Primary Sources:

  • What do you see? / What do you notice?
  • What is the same as ___ (now, your classroom, etc.)?
  • What is different?
  • What seems important?
  • What seems unusual?
  • What do you think is happening in the photo?
  • What questions do you have about this photo?
  • What questions do you have for the person who took the photo?