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Panama and the Canal at UF: Educational Outreach

This guide discusses the Smather's Libraries holdings for the Panama Canal Zone, including digital collections.

Recent Presentations

13th International Conference on Caribbean Literature (ICCL)—Panama in the Caribbean: The Caribbean in Panama. University of Panama, Panama City, November 13-16, 2013.

This paper was part of the panel that introduced a collaborative, digital humanities course entitled “Panama Silver, Asian Gold: Migration, Money, and the Making of Modern Caribbean Literature,” and illuminated the significance of West Indians in Panama for the formation of Caribbean literature.


Southeastern Conference on Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) 2013; see:

UF Digital Resources

See the University of Florida Digital Collections, “dLOC”:  The Digital Library of the Caribbean, especially the:

Some selected items::

Resource Materials: Educational Films and Documentaries

Documentaries held by George A. Smathers Libraries:

Panama Canal (American Experience, PBS):  see "Lesson Plans: Grades 10 - 12"

"Virtual Field Trip: The Panama Canal," COBB Communicator, also includes with historic photos and docuemtns (Internet advertising included)

Theodore Roosevelt's Arrival in Panama, November 1906

The Story of the Panama Canal [1] / [Roosevelt Film Library]

Panama Canal Locks

Resource Materials: Newspapers

Newspapers from Panama in the Panama and the Canal Collection

Diario de Panama, 1915 - 1917

The Canal, 1881

The Evening Telegram, 1886

Panama American, 1950-1955

Panama Herald, 1851 – 1854

Panama Mercantile Chronicle, 1865 – 1868

Panama Star, Panama Daily Star and Panama Weekly Star, 1849 - 1853, 1853-1854

Panama Star & Herald, 1854-1890

Panama Star & Herald Steamer Edition, 1857-1875

Panama Star & Herald Weekly Edition, 1877-1890

Panama Star & Herald, 1919-1922  

Panama Workman, 1919-1930 (forthcoming)

Spillway, 1957-1963 and 1963-1999

Tropic Times, 1988-1999 (incomplete) 

Panama and the Canal Digital Collection

Panama and the Canal Collection:

The Panama Canal Museum Collection: provides online access to yearbooks, oral histories, and materials, which include objects, photographs, newspapers, etc.

The Leonard Carpenter Panama Canal Collection provides photographs, publications, artifacts, notes, correspondence dating from 1887

Documents of the Panama Canal Commission and Its Predecessor Agencies: a Federal Depository Library that provides approximately 1,500 items published by the Federal Government relating to the planning for, building of, and ongoing operation of the Panama Canal.

Newspapers from Panama

Panama Canal Authority / Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP) Panama Canal Expansion Project: provides information regarding the project including live webcam of the project progress.

Related News and Publications: provides miscellaneous information relevant to the Panama Canal.



Lesson Plans: K - 12

Panama Canal Educational Outreach – Lesson Plans to Consider from the Internet

Grades 10 – 12:

Teacher’s Guide:  “Panama Canal,” PBS American Experience film (90 min, available for viewing online):  This guide has been created to accompany Panama Canal, a 90-minute AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentary that tells the epic story of one of the most innovative engineering feats of all time - and one of the most expensive in terms of both lives and money. It is a story of the triumph of technology over nature; a chronicle of America's emergence as a global power; and a prism through which to view President Theodore Roosevelt's maverick approach to governance. Simultaneously, it is a case study in segregation, racism, and social inequity.  With learning objectives, discussion guides, etc.  Website also includes links to valuable learning objects, e.g., maps, “working on the canal” photos, creating the canal, yellow fever, the workers, the engineers, Roosevelt’s message to congress, and TEACHER’S GUIDE.

 “The Two Oceans Meet”:  Lesson Authors: Kevin Bartell and Elizabeth Haberland; Mapped to Virginia Standard of Learning for 11th grade,

  • Key Curriculum Words: Globalism, Panama Canal, Theodore Roosevelt
  • Grade Level: 11th 
  • Time Allotted: 90 min.
  • Purpose/Rationale for teaching this Lesson (So what?):  The digging of the Panama Canal was a monumental event of the early 20th century and was a big step towards America becoming a world power. Often, many students do not realize the innovation and struggle associated with building of the canal; some students do not even the location of the canal.  

"Dredging Up the Future:  What Dredging Requirements Might Be ....", math,  science, and technology lesson plan.

Grades 9 – 12:

“The World’s Greatest Shortcut” for grades 9 – 12 by Tom Baker, Middletown High School, Middletown, Delaware; correlates to the National Geography Standards “Environment and Society” 14 – 16, and the Delaware Geography Standard Two 9-12.

Middle School (grades 6 – 8):

“A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama":  Drama-based teaching from the University of Texas-Austin, for middle-school.  

Grades 6-7:

“A Trip Through the Panama Canal,” lesson plan for social studies, grades 6 – 7, with learning objectives, activities, links, etc.; cites the expansion but needs updating, from Mississippi Department of Education, State Library Alliance, and State University, and other state agencies.   

Resources4Educators: Portal to Texas History: " The Panama Canal”:  4th grade & 7th grade with learning objectives power point slides, vocabulary, activities, and games and puzzles; from UNT Libraries;  see:  

Grades 3 - 5:

"TLC Elementary School Leson Plan:  Geography of Mexico and Central America" 

All grades

 "Central America:  Panama Canal," Intermediate Lesson (Arizona State Standards)

Resource Materials: Books

Burton, Anthony, The Canal Builders (Eyre Methuen, London, 1972).  Location: FLARE -- Request via UBorrow -- 386.46B974c  Click here.  

Greene, Julie, The Canal Builders:  Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal (Penguin Press, NY, 2009).  Location:   UF SMATHERS, Latin America General Collection -- F1569.C2G74 2010 and F1569.C2G66 2009. Click here.

McCullough, David G., The Paths Between the Sea:  The Creation of the Panal Canal, 1870 - 1914 (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1977).  Location:  UF MEAD LIBRARY General Collection -- 972.87McC, and UF LIBRARY WEST General Collection -- F1569.C2M33 1977.  Click here.  

Parker, Matthew, Panama Fever:  The Epic Story of One of the Greatest Human Achievements of All Time--the Building of the Panama Canal (Doubleday, New York, 2007).  Location: UF SMATHERS, Latin America General Collection -- F1569.C2P368 2007.  Click here.   

Vander Hook, Sue, Building the Panama Canal (ABDO Pub. Co., Edina, Minn., 2010).  Location:  UF SMATHERS, Latin America General Collection -- F1569.C2V36 2010.  Click here.  

Resource People

For general contact information and questions about the Panama Canal Museum Collection, click here.  

Exhibits of Interest

Make the Dirt Fly”:  a Smithsonian exhibition and story of various aspects of the Panama Canal


Resource Materials: Government Publications

See the "Centers of Excellence" tab in this Guide or visit the Government Documents Department.

Resource Materials: Early Photographs

See the Panama Canal Early Stereographs, at: 

Resource Materials: Oral Histories

The Panama and the Canal Oral History Project will include oral histories about Panama and the Canal, as part of the Panama and the Canal Digital Collection.  See:

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