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Portrait Analysis: Duke Kahanamoku

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Cultures +2 Age Levels Primary (5 to 8 years old), Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

In this activity, students will analyze a stamp depicting Duke Kahanamoku to explore his significance in American history and culture. Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968) transformed the Polynesian pastime of surfing into a worldwide competitive sport.  He also won five Olympic medals in swimming, was an accomplished actor and businessman, and was re-elected sheriff of the city and county of Honolulu for thirteen consecutive terms.  Opportunities to learn more include a photograph of him with Amelia Earhart and her husband, a surfboard he carved, and a Google Doodle created for his 125th birthday.

This activity can be used as an entry point into studying Duke Kahanamoku's life and achievements, Hawaiian history and culture, and more.  This activity opens with questions from the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators and ends with a Project Zero Think / Puzzle / Explore routine; the full portraiture guide and routine instructions are located at the end of the collection.

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Keywords: surfer, pacific islander, athlete, hawaii, hawai'i