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Interpreting the Evidence

The Interior of a Smithy, Painting by Gabriel Metsu, 1657

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Colonial America (1630s - 1760)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Colonial America

  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load The Interior of a Smithy, Painting by Gabriel Metsu, 1657 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
The Interior of a Smithy by Gabriel Metsu, 1657
Historical Context
Blacksmiths played a key role in the development and success of colonial communities. Blacksmiths were responsible for producing most iron objects like horse shoes, hinges, locks, nails, and keys. In addition to production, these metal workers also were hired to repair items like wagons and sleighs. Individuals learned the blacksmith trade through apprenticeships which they entered into in their early teenage years.
Essential Question
How did blacksmiths contribute to the growth and success of the colony?
Check for Understanding
Using the painting ‘The Interior of a Smithy’ write an essay describing the life of a Smithy.  Would you have enjoyed an apprenticeship learning the blacksmith trade (state examples why or why not? Answer the question in paragraph form.