This help page provides information on how the site is structured, how the navigational system works, lists the technical requirements for the site, and describes the site's most useful features. In addition, this page details specific universal accessibility features that have been added to the site. A link to this page appears among the navigational links in the footer on each page of the ExplorePAhistory.com Web site. The title of the link is "Help." Use the following navigational link to jump directly to the universal accessibility section of the page: Universal Accessibility Features
The pages of the ExplorePAhistory.com Web site fall under the three themes:
- Explore PA History, which offers history-related stories.
- Visit PA Regions, which offers tourism information.
- Teach PA History, which offers lesson plans for educators.
Within each of these three themes, information is contained in three main sections:
- The primary navigation links: These navigational links are found at the beginning of every page and remain the same throughout the site.
- The content area: Immediately following the primary navigation is the content area, which contains the main information of the page.
- The footer navigation links: These navigation links follow the content area and remain the same throughout the site.
The ExplorePAhistory.com logo that appears on each page of the site functions as a link back to the home page.
The ExplorePAhistory.com Web site requires the following browser plug-ins in order to access all information, special multi-media features and design elements. The plug-ins are free downloads and are intended to enrich your overall online experience.
Downloading Flash will provide access to interactive multi-media elements on the Web site, such as audio, video and interactives. Follow the instructions on the Macromedia Web site to perform this free download.
Downloading Acrobat Reader will provide access to large informational documents on the Web site. Follow the instructions on the Adobe Web site to perform this free download.
ExplorePAhistory was designed to provide as much information as possible about the historical markers located across Pennsylvania and their related activities. Therefore, this Web site is an excellent resource for learning about and teaching Pennsylvania's historical events and the effects they had on the nation.
There are eleven main stories that can be found under "Explore PA History" in the primary navigation at the top of every page. Each of these main stories contains several sub-stories that delve into specific topics and provide greater detail. Tourism information and travel itineraries can be found under "Visit PA Regions" in the primary navigation. Lesson plans for the stories, topics, and locations mentioned in other areas of the site can be found under "Teach PA History" in the primary navigation.
Each story under "Explore PA History" and educational page under "Teach PA History" is readily accessible in print. Simply locate the "printer-friendly" icon at the bottom of each page. The link will open a new browser window in which the contents of the page are formatted in a manner suitable for printing.
Detailed information is devoted to many individual historical markers. Find this information by looking for the historical marker icon . Clicking on it will take you to a marker details page. The original document icon will provide you with the complete text from which pieces of information or excerpts are taken.
There are a number of historical markers featured on this Web site. There are thousands more in locations across Pennsylvania. For more information, contact:
Pennsylvania Historical Marker Commission
300 North Street
Harrisburg, PA, 17120
Links to multi-media features are located in the upper left-hand corner of the story pages under "Explore PA History." The links are entitled: Video, Audio, Map, Image Gallery, Interactive, and Virtual Tour. With some multi-media features you may click the "?" option to learn how to use it.
Links to the multi-media features will open in a new browser window. To return to the main ExplorePAhistory.com Web site, close the new browser window.
Explore PA History Story Pages
The first section of related information is subtitled according to the site's main themes of Explore, Visit and Teach. This section contains the following links to information that relates to the story:
- Links to the main story and all of the sub-stories
- A link to a list of the historical markers that appear in the story
- A link to all of the original documents that appear in the story
- A link to a bibliography for the story
- A "publication guide" link to a list of print resources that contain additional information relating to the story
- A "Web guide" link to a list of Web sites that contain additional information relating to the story
- A list of links to places and attractions in Pennsylvania that relate to the story
- A list of related lesson plans
The Related Information section appears on each story page. The format is consistent throughout the stories, but specific content relates to the story subject matter.
The second section contains the story content. On some story pages, there will be an image with a caption and credit. Click on the image to view a larger version of it.
Visit PA Region Pages
After selecting one of the eight regions from the main "Visit PA Region" page, all content presented on the page will relate to the region you have chosen. The first section of related information contains the following links to information that relate to the region:
- A link to a travel itinerary that tours the region.
- A link to a regional attractions search.
- A link to search for regional travel packages.
- A link to read about Heritage Parks in the region.
- A link to read about PA Trail of History attractions located in the region.
- A list of "Explore PA History" stories that relate to the region.
- A list of regional historical markers.
- A list of lesson plans from "Teach PA History" that relates to the region.
The second section contains the region's tourism information. There is also a photograph with a caption and a list of three upcoming regional events.
Keyword Search Form
A keyword search form is present on all pages of the site and is located in the first section of a site page after the primary navigation links.
The keyword search will search the entire ExplorePAhistory.com Web site and return the pages that match the word or words that you entered into the form. The results are ordered so the pages that most closely match your search criteria are listed first. If your search includes a large number of results, the results will be divided into several pages. Each page includes ten results. Each result is a hyperlink to the corresponding page on the site. Immediately following the link is a brief description of the page. This description will help you determine if the page includes the information you are searching for.
There is also a Search Tips link graphic on each page of the site immediately after the keyword search form. This links to a page providing information on how the keyword search works and tips to help you use it more effectively.
Lesson Plan Search Form
The Lesson Plan search form enables teachers to search for fully developed lesson plans that relate to the stories on the ExplorePAhistory.com Web site. The search form consists of two combo boxes.
Follow the link titled "For Teachers" in the primary navigation to access the search form.
Lesson Plan Section
Here, there are two main types of pages: Overview and Lesson Plan. These pages adhere to the same structure as the rest of the site, except that the main information for each type of page is divided into two sections.
The overview page lists lessons matching the selections that were made from the combo boxes in the Lesson Plan Search Form. The first section is titled "Related Lesson Plans." This section includes links to other lesson plans that are related to the current lesson plan.
The second section contains the links to the individual lessons, grouped by grade level: Elementary, Middle, and High School. Following each link is a description of the lesson plan. At the end of each section is a link titled "Printer-Friendly". This link will open a new browser window and load a version of the overview plan page formatted for printing.
Lesson Plan Page
The first section is titled "Lesson Plan Summary" and summarizes the lesson by including the following information:
- Grade level of the lesson
- Historical period the lesson covers
- Academic disciplines incorporated into the lesson
- Teaching time required to complete the lesson
- Materials that students will need to complete the lesson
- Links to the Historical Markers that are related to the lesson
The information format is consistent throughout the lessons, but specific content relates to the lesson subject matter.
The second section contains the lesson content. At the end of section is a link titled "Printer-Friendly." This link will open a new browser window and load a version of the lesson plan page formatted for printing.
In an effort to make the ExplorePAhistory.com Web site accessible to all users, the following features have been integrated. These features have been specifically designed to help users who employ screen readers and other assistive technologies to navigate more easily through the site and to provide access to all of the site's information and features.
Alternate text is provided for all link graphics and image graphics.
Hyperlinks to other Web sites will open in a new browser window.
To facilitate navigation through the stories, special links and content have been integrated. These links and content are accessible to users employing screen readers and other assistive technologies. The links and content are not visible to users employing standard browsers.
Hyperlinks to the multi-media features will open in a new browser window.
Text transcriptions are provided for all multi-media features. Each text version includes a link back to the corresponding multi-media feature.
Video Clips - A link to the text transcription for each video clip is provided within the content of the video page. The title of the link is "View Text Transcription."
Audio Clips - A link to the text transcription for each audio clip is provided at the beginning of the audio page. The title of the link will include the name of the audio clip, for example: "Text Transcription of the James Forten Audio."
Image Gallery - A link to the text transcription for each image gallery is provided at the beginning of the image gallery page. The title of the link will include the name of the image gallery, for example: "Text Transcription of the Striking Oil Image Gallery."
Interactive (Map and Diagram) - A link to the text transcription for each interactive feature is provided at the beginning of the interactive feature page. The title of the link will include the name of the interactive feature, for example: "Text Transcription of the Crossing the Alleghenies Interactive: Conestoga Wagon."