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George Washington: A National Treasure
Comprehensive study of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington. Features an interactive guide pointing to the symbolic, biographic, and artistic elements of the painting, a biography of Washington’s life, kids’ activities, teachers’ guides, family tips, and tour details.
Provider: National Portrait Gallery
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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Arts of the Islamic World Teacher's Guide
This downloadable guide introduces the Islamic world through art. Includes an overview of Islamic beliefs and holidays; and a look at the art of calligraphy, architectural objects, and everyday objects of trade and culture. Includes lesson plans by grade level and suggestions for additional resources.
Provider: Freer and Sackler Galleries
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): All grades
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60-30-10
Lesson in which students investigate how designers use percentages by designing and decorating a room using three different color ratios.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8
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Cai Guo-Qiang: Traveler
This online exhibition features two installation works by artist Cai Guo-Qiang, who integrates aspects of Eastern history into contemporary contexts. Includes an interview with the artist.
Provider: Freer and Sackler Galleries
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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How does design solve everyday problems?
From the chair in which you’re sitting to the town in which you live, everything around you is the result of the work of designers. Some of it is successful and some of it isn’t, but it all exists to fulfill human needs. In this webinar, curator Ellen Lupton and educator Caroline Payson look at the ideas behind cutting-edge household items, from a glow-in-the-dark electrical cord to a camera for the blind. Discover how designers came up with these wild ideas and how you and your class might follow their lead.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Instrument of Change: Jim Schoppert
Retrospective exhibition of Tlingit artist Jim Schoppert (1947-1992), one of the most prodigious and influential Alaskan artists. He is known for repurposing Native images to go beyond their original design and purpose. Includes large woodcarvings, masks and poetry.
Provider: National Museum of the American Indian
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Grade(s): General audience
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Navigating the Mekong
Website has visitors click on a map to read journals of young people who journeyed by boat through China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. Includes lessons, regional recipes, and traditional music. Targets grades 6-10.
Provider: Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Owney the Dog! A Curriculum Guide for Teachers
Interdisciplinary lessons based on the travels of a dog named Owney who became a mascot for the Railway Mail Service in the 1880s and for the National Postal Museum today. Designed for second-grade classes, it includes lessons for students with special needs in reading, math, and writing.
Provider: National Postal Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): PreK–3
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Rebel Music: A Musical Tour of the Maroon Communities
Focuses on the music of the ex-slave communities in the Americas. Songs reflect the influence of African, Native American, and European music. Includes music samples and videos of performances.
Provider: Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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Saris, Kimonos, Togas & Smocks: Exploring Clothing Across Cultures (4-8)
Activity in which students conduct collaborative Internet research on the social purposes of clothing, learn about different types of clothing, and create a presentation.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8
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Smithsonian Affiliations
Links to Smithsonian Affiliate museums across the nation. Find out if there is an Affiliate near you.
Provider: Smithsonian Affiliations
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Grade(s): All grades
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Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Webpage of Folkways Recordings. Explore, research, order, and download recordings from the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian. Includes music from the United States and around the world. Search by album, artist, country, or genre.
Provider: Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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Speaking of Pictures: John Quidor’s The Headless Horseman
Roll over this artwork to read excerpts from the famous Halloween tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
Provider: Smithsonian American Art Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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The Rainforest
Ecology-based teaching kit provides a unique look at a popular subject. Through Lynne Cherry’s The Great Kapok Tree, children explore artists’ perspectives on the rainforest by investigating their works. Lesson plans include language, science, music, and motor activities as well as extensive art enrichment. Based on the philosophy and approach of the Smithsonian’s museum lab school.
Provider: Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
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Grade(s): PreK–3
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Women Breaking Musical Barriers: She Isn’t Supposed to Play That
Website traces the history and diversity of women in music through text, video recordings, and audio recordings.
Provider: Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
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Grade(s): General audience
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Women of Our Time
Interactive gallery displaying photographs of some of twentieth-century America’s most famous and influential women. Includes audio commentary by the exhibit’s curator and documentary video about the evolution of photographic portraiture.
Provider: National Portrait Gallery
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Grade(s): General audience
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Yesterday’s Tomorrows: Past Visions of an American Future Teaching Guide
Six lessons on the “history of the future” (how we have envisioned the future). Imagine and plan a future city, explore aspects of heritage to pass on to the future, and analyze how the design of the built environment will shape life in the future.
Provider: Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
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Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits
Lesson plan has students study portraits of famous African Americans in history, explain the social and political impact of each portrait sitter, and discuss what it means to take a stand. Targets grades 3-6.
Provider: National Museum of African American History and Culture
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Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
Overall Rating:  
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Big/Small
Online exhibition illustrating how African artists use size and scale—both literally and metaphorically—to communicate ideas.
Provider: National Museum of African Art
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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ArtLab+
ArtLab+ is a digital media studio that gives Washington, D.C.-area teenagers the opportunity to become integral members of a design team. They create new visitor experiences at the museum, taking their inspiration from its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. ArtLab+ designers hone crucial twenty-first century skills as they make videos, animations, wikis, games, podcasts, and more. After-school, weekend, and weeklong ArtLab+ workshops are held year-round to accommodate a wide variety of schedules.
Provider: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 9–12
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Smithsonian Education Online Conference: Problem Solving with Smithsonian Experts
This archived online conference features live presentations, moderated forums, and demonstrations of how Smithsonian specialists use critical thinking skills to solve problems in their areas of expertise. The website includes session recordings, topic discussions, and related resources. The conference covers four areas of exploration: Understanding the American Experience, Valuing World Cultures, Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe, and Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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Animation Flip Books
Lesson introducing students to basic elements of animation. While learning about the role of design in entertainment from classic cartoons, students create a “bouncing ball” flip book to demonstrate knowledge of sequential motion.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
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Grade(s): PreK–3, 4–8
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User Comments: Read the first 3 reviews | Read all 4 reviews

Doghouses, Doors & Design (PreK-1)
Lesson engaging students in active problem solving as they create a design for a doghouse. Involves work in collaborative groups, exploring numerical problems, and explaining strategy. Targets grades preK-1.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
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Grade(s): PreK–3
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Musical Math-terpiece: The Art of Piet Mondrian
Lesson in which students learn about the jazz-inspired life and art of Piet Mondrian to create their own Mondrian-style paintings. They do internet research, create a computer art piece using grid patterns of repeating shapes, and paint their own music-inspired painting. Examines both geometrical shapes and painting.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8
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Creativity & Resistance: Maroon Cultures in the Americas
Online exhibition highlighting the history and cultural traditions of Maroons, descendants of Africans who freed themselves from captivity in the Americas. Contains exhibit description, virtual tour, and teaching guides that can be utilized to create lesson plans covering topics relevant to slavery, culture, migration, and language.
Provider: Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Discovery Theater
Website for the Discovery Theater at the S. Dillon Ripley Center on the National Mall includes announcements of live theatrical performances at the Smithsonian for young people and their families. Productions vary from puppet shows and storytelling to dances and original plays. Learning guides complement the performances. Group ticket discounts available.
Provider: The Smithsonian Associates
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Grade(s): General audience
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Gallery Guide: Royal Riches
Gallery guide discussing art and culture in the Ancient Near East, the region from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to present-day Afghanistan. Includes a history of Near Eastern art and additional resources.
Provider: Freer and Sackler Galleries
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Latino Center Kids Corner
Interactive site for students to learn about prominent Latino figures in a virtual gallery, listen to Latino music, and explore Latin American history and holidays.
Provider: Smithsonian Latino Center
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Totally Cool Toys
Lesson plan exploring the history of toy design that compares “folk art” toys to modern ones. Students design their own toys and present their product to the class.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): PreK–3
Overall Rating:  
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Ancient Mexican Art
Online exhibit illustrating the cultural and historical continuity of Mexican art from ancient times to the colonial era and the present. Uses pieces from a variety of media. Bilingual English/Spanish.
Provider: National Museum of the American Indian
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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Art to Zoo: “Blacks in the Westward Movement,” “What Can You Do with a Portrait?” and “Of Beetles, Worms, and Leaves of Grass” (1976)
Premier issue of Art to Zoo, containing three sections: experiences of African Americans in westward expansion, the use of portrait art in the classroom, and the ordinary lawn as a habitat for plants and animals.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): PreK–3, 4–8
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Smithsonian in Your Classroom: The Music in Poetry
Lessons introducing students to the rhythms of poetry. The focus in on two poetic forms that originated as forms of song: the ballad stanza, found throughout British and American literature, and the blues stanzas of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Poetry is taken off the page and put into terms of movement, physical space, and, finally, music.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
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Grade(s): PreK–3, 4–8, 9–12
Overall Rating:  
User Comments: Read the first 3 reviews | Read all 5 reviews

Color My World
Lesson using the scientific method to explore how to make different colors with paint, then using the paint to create a "Colors of the Season" book.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): PreK–3
Overall Rating:  
User Comments: Read the first 3 reviews | Read all 6 reviews

Pueblo Indian Watercolors
Teacher guide beginning with the history of the Pueblo Indians and using watercolor paintings to highlight aspects of Pueblo culture.
Provider: Smithsonian American Art Museum
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Grade(s): PreK–3, 4–8, 9–12
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Smithsonian in Your Classroom: Every Picture Tells a Story
Lesson plan that focuses on important steps in the development of photography in the nineteenth century. Students make observations and inferences about historical photos, then use deductive skills to place photographs in a historical context.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
Overall Rating:  
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The Art and Archaeology of Ancient China Teacher's Guide
Teacher's guide introducing important aspects of ancient Chinese art and society. Includes images of objects, background information, lesson plans by teachers, examples of student work, gallery guides, and extensive resource lists. Objects focus on personal adornment, food preparation, ceremonies, writing, industry, and architecture. Teacher's Guide is available in three parts as a PDF file.
Provider: Freer and Sackler Galleries
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Smithsonian in Your Classroom: Making Friends with Franklin
Lesson plans in which portraits of Benjamin Franklin introduce his writings and scientific experiments. Students do their own writing and conduct their own experiments. In addition, they learn about the international scientific community in which Franklin was a prominent member.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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The Total Package
Lesson plan using the design process to solve a packaging problem. After learning about the environmental and economic impact of product packaging, students gather information about a product with excess packaging, create a new design for it, and generate a report on their design’s environmental friendliness.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
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Grade(s): 9–12
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Office of Visitor Services
Main information page for people visiting the Smithsonian museums. Includes events calendar, hours, visitor guides, foreign language guides, exhibit highlights, museum information, Smithsonian news, tips on visiting with children, locations and maps, and information on tours, dining, and security policies.
Provider: Office of Visitor Services
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Grade(s): General audience
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Air is All Around Us!
Lesson plan helps children understand that which is ubiquitous yet invisible—air. Begins with a visual demonstration to illustrate the existence of air. Students then brainstorm, design, and create an invention that shows air.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): PreK–3, 4–8
Overall Rating:  

Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance
Website of exhibit featuring innovations in technical textiles. Shows new materials revolutionizing the fields of architecture, apparel, medicine, transportation, aerospace, and the environment. Includes game and videos of textiles in use.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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Radio Africa
Free streams of the sounds that make up the diverse music of Africa including complete tracks from the collections of Smithsonian Folkways. From the rhythms of Benin to the wedding music of Ethiopia to the traditional Zulu music of South Africa to the parade music of Senegal, you'll never know what you'll hear next. Includes podcasts of talks, interviews, story-reading.
Provider: National Museum of African Art
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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Tête à Tête: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lesson plan introducing students to the art of photography through Cartier-Bresson’s most memorable photographs. Includes images from the exhibit on Cartier-Bresson, a biography, and additional primary and secondary resources.
Provider: National Portrait Gallery
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 9–12
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Agayuliyararput: Our Way of Making Prayer
Native Alaskan Yup´ik material presented from a Yup´ik perspective. Highlights 27 Yup´ik objects. Includes background essay, images of masks and costumes, and videos of performances.
Provider: National Museum of Natural History
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Artists and Environmental Sustainability: Video Art, Ecology and the Work of Paul Ryan
Webinar in which Smithsonian archivist Charles Duncan discusses the emergence of video as a medium and how it has been used by such environmentally minded artists as Paul Ryan.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8, 9–12
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Blast from the Past
Lesson plan looking at design as both the product created and the process of its creation. Students examine the design of past products and how these products served a past era, then imagine how life would be impacted if these tools had never been made.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 4–8
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Chairs, Chairs Everywhere…
Lesson designed to help students become aware of the multitude of design variations in everyday objects by conducting surveys, collecting information, and creating a catalog of chairs. Students reflect on design elements at a mock design show with awards for chairs based on different design criteria.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 9–12
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Frontier Photographer: Edward Curtis
Online exhibition on the photos of frontier photographer Edward Curtis. His work was an attempt to capture images of American Indians as they lived before contact with Anglo cultures. Includes biographic details, images, and accompanying primary document quotes.
Provider: Smithsonian Institution Libraries
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Grade(s): General audience
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Na Leo Hawai’i: Musics of Hawai’i
Webpage showcases music's defining role in the history and identity of Hawaiians. Offers video and audio recording of Hawaiian musical performance, from mele to slack-key guitar.
Provider: Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): General audience
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Smart Growth: Reshaping Communities
Lesson introducing students to smart growth (community development that serves the economy, the community, and the environment) as they explore a model community, plan a smart growth community, and present their designs.
Provider: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): 9–12
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Smithsonian Associates
Website for the Smithsonian Associates, a cultural, educational, and membership division of the Smithsonian Institution, recognized as the largest and most esteemed museum-based continuing education program in the nation. Register for lectures, performances, studio arts, museum sleepovers, and more. Registration and fee required for most programs.
Provider: The Smithsonian Associates
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Grade(s): 9–12
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The Art and Life of William H. Johnson
Students examine works by African American painter William H. Johnson to learn about his milieu as well as his style. This set of lessons is divided into grades K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12. Younger students list the elements of the pictures, identifying colors and shapes and such objects as farm equipment, crops, and animals. Older students compare Johnson’s work with that of painter Allan Rohan Crite.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
State Standards: View state standards for this resource
Grade(s): All grades
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Top Rated Resources
George Washington: A National Treasure
National Portrait Gallery
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Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
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Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

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