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NHD 2020: Breaking Barriers with American Art

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Social Studies +2 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection is designed to support teachers and students exploring the 2020 National History Day theme: Breaking Barriers in History. Included in this collection are five prospective topics aligned with the NHD theme, for each of which we have supplied American artworks that could be used as primary source texts and/or inspiration for further research.

How did the invention of photography break down the barrier between ordinary Americans and the battlefield during the Civil War? 

What barriers, both geographic and social, did the invention and expansion of the subway break for New Yorkers? 

How did James Van Der Zee's Harlem photography studio help a rising middle class African American community break barriers?

How have American Indians overcome barriers to tribal sovereignty, and what barriers still exist?

How did abstract painter Alma Thomas break gender and racial barriers in the art world?

#NHD2020 #NHD #BecauseOfHerStory

Intro Slide

Phoebe Hillemann

Civil War Photography

Phoebe Hillemann

Incidents of the War: A Harvest of Death

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Sick Soldier

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The New York Subway

Phoebe Hillemann

Subway

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Subway

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bracings, Subway Excavation

Smithsonian American Art Museum

James Van Der Zee

Phoebe Hillemann

James Van Der Zee, age 90

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Evening Attire

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Studio Portrait of Young Man with Telephone

Smithsonian American Art Museum

GGG Photo Studio at Christmas

Smithsonian American Art Museum

State Names

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Meet Jaune Quick-To-See Smith

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Indian Self-Rule Portfolio

David W. Wharton

Untitled, from the portfolio Indian Self-Rule

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Alma Thomas

Phoebe Hillemann

Red Abstraction

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Light Blue Nursery

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Eclipse

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Snoopy--Early Sun Display on Earth

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Celestial Fantasy

Smithsonian American Art Museum