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Found 57 Collections

 

Exploring Mickalene Thomas's Portrait of Mnonja

In this activity, students will explore Mickalene Thomas's process, artistic influences, and art historical context. Students will examine Thomas's Portrait of Mnonja (2010, Smithsonian American Art Museum) in depth, and use three supporting resources to build context.

1. Have students look at Mickalene Thomas's Portrait of Mnonja. Give them 2-3 minutes to do a quick sketch of the painting.

2. Next, ask them to note the part of the painting their eye went to first on their sketch with a star.

3. Next, ask students to draw a line through their sketch to show the path their eye used to travel through the painting. Use arrows to indicate direction.

4. In pairs or as a class, ask students to share where their eye went first, and why they think it went there. Was it the color? Light? Lines? The placement in the composition?

5. Next, students should write a list of 8-10 words and phrases describing the painting. Ask for volunteers to share out.

6. As a group, discuss students' impressions of the painting. Ask for visual evidence to back up claims. (e.g. A student says, "she looks powerful." You ask, "what do you see that makes you say she's powerful?")

7. To further the conversation, share some background information about the painting: the title, the date, and the artist. Explain a little about Mickalene Thomas's process: posing live models in sets with props and furniture, taking photographs, then painting from the photographs.

8. Next, break students into small groups. Each group should receive a printout of ONE of the three supporting resources in this collection. Ask them to compare and contrast their image with Portrait of Mnonja.

9. After 4-5 minutes, ask each group to share out the main idea from what they discussed. The teacher should add additional information as it is useful.

a. Mickalene Thomas set photograph: Shows the artist's process, how she uses real models and sets. Note patterns and 1970s motifs.

b. Romare Bearden collage: Thomas has cited Bearden as one of her artistic influences. Students should note similarities in color, pattern, and flatness.

c. John Collier painting: An example from the early 1900s of the "reclining woman" in art history. Students should discuss the passiveness/agency of each of these women, and how a male artist's depiction of a woman differs from a female artist's in this case. Thomas was well versed in art history and was consciously making reference to precedents like this.

10. Writing Activity: In small groups, have students write a dialogue between Mnonja and someone else. It could be the artist, the viewer, or someone from one of the supporting resources.


Optional: Have students view one or both of the short videos of Mickalene Thomas discussing Portrait of Mnonja

#BecauseOfHerStory

Phoebe Hillemann
6
 

Women in Baseball and the Post Office

Issues of gender inequality have had profound effects on all aspects of American society and its many institutions. In conjunction with the National Postal Museum’s upcoming exhibition Baseball: America’s Home Run, this collection will assist teachers in examining this issue with their students through two important institutions of the 20th Century: Major League Baseball and the United States Postal Service. The collection explores this essential question: How was the changing status of women in American society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries represented in professional baseball and the United States Postal Service? In small groups, students will discuss this underlying question through the variety of resources in this collection, examining the historical access women have had to these institutions, their divergent experiences compared to their male counterparts, and how women have historically been depicted on USPS stamps. Some supporting questions to scaffold inquiry can be found in the “Notes to Other Users” section.

#BecauseOfHerStory

National Postal Museum
31
 

Dolores Huerta: Images, Videos, and "One Life" Exhibition

This topical collection explores the contributions to American history and society of Civil Rights activist Dolores Huerta, the "co-architect" with Cesar Chavez of the American Farm Workers Movement. The images and resources can be used as discussion or writing prompts in a variety of courses, including history, culture, language, and literature. Included in this collection are images from the exhibition, "One Life: Dolores Huerta," a bilingual video with National Portrait Gallery curator Taína Caragol, footage of an interview program with Dolores Huerta at the museum, and an NPR interview with Dolores Huerta in January 2017.

#LatinoHAC #BecauseOfHerStory

Philippa Rappoport
19
 

Civil Rights Sculpture: Claim Support Question

Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "Claim Support Question," a routine for clarifying truth claims, students will examine a portrait of Rosa Parks, a prominent civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger prompted the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott. After discussing the portrait with their peers, students will learn more about the arrest this sculpture depicts by reading the original police report, with notes by a Smithsonian curator.

Created for the 2016 National Portrait Gallery Summer Teacher Institute.

Keywords: african-american, black, civil rights movement, female, woman, women, segregation, NAACP, justice, arrest, #BecauseOfHerStory

Tess Porter
2
 

Eudora Welty: Examining Portraiture

This teacher's guide provides a portrait and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Eudora Welty, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author known for her evocative novels and short stories set in the American South. Includes the video "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" and the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators, both of which provide suggestions and questions for analyzing portraiture.  Also includes a video and blog post that look closely at this portrait, as well as a related article about Mississippi's new writers trail that may be used as a lesson extension.

Consider:

  • How is this portrait both fact and fiction?
  • How does this portrait reflect how Eudora Welty wanted to be seen, or how others wanted her to be seen? Consider for what purpose this portrait was created.
  • Having read one of her stories, does the portrait capture your image of Eudora Welty? Why, or why not?
  • If you were creating your own portrait of Eudora Welty, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?

Keywords: mississippi, ms, story, optimist's daughter, writer, #BecauseOfHerStory

Tess Porter
6
 

Who is Frances Mary Albrier?

This is a collection of items belonging to, or about, Frances M. Albrier. Although an important female leader and activist during the mid-20th century, many students may not have heard of Ms. Albrier. Encourage students to act as history detectives, exploring the collection to determine why this woman's belongings are in the collections of the Smithsonian.

Some questions to consider:

  • What are Albrier's main accomplishments? What types of occupations did she have?
  • Based on these, what values do you think were important to her?
  • How does Albrier's life reflect major changes for women during the 20th century? Changes for African-Americans?
  • What do these items tell us about challenges facing African-American women in the mid-century?
  • What remains unknown about Albrier based on this collection? Where else could you go to look for more information?
  • Look at an encyclopedia entry for Ms. Albrier. Are there any events mentioned not covered in this collection? What might be a good item to add in order to better show her life?


tags: activism, civil rights, union, labor, voter registration, 60s, world war II, shipyards, WW2, nursing, Red Cross, National Council of Negro Women, Nigeria, independence, peace, moral rearmament, #BecauseOfHerStory

Kate Harris
15
 

Portrait Analysis: Lili'oukalani

In this activity, students will analyze a portrait of Lili'oukalani (1838-1917), the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  Queen Lili'uokalani came to the throne after her brother's death in 1891 and ruled until 1893 when, to avoid bloodshed, she surrendered to a coup led by American business leaders.  Opportunities to learn more include other portraits of Lili'uokalani, including one taken when she was 15, an article about her life and the annexation of Hawaii, and more.

This activity can be used as an entry point into studying Lili'uokalani's life and achievements, Hawaiian annexation, 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: liliuokalani, hawai'i, polynesian, pacific islander

#APA2018 #BecauseOfHerStory

Tess Porter
11
 

Zora Neale Hurston: Author, Anthropologist and Folklore Researcher

This teaching collection includes introductory resources to begin a study of Zora Neale Hurston, as an author, anthropologist and folklore researcher during the Harlem Renaissance.

#BecauseOfHerStory

Ashley Naranjo
11
 

Rachel Carson: Innovator

In what ways was Rachel Carson an innovator? She diligently pursued her goals as a female scientist and author and sparked the environmental movement with her book "Silent Spring." As you look through this collection, consider the characteristics of innovators. What innovative characteristics do you share with her?

For more on the characteristics that make up an innovator, look at the Heinz History Center website. You can even take a quiz and find out what innovator you are most like:

http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/education/school...

tags: Pittsburgh, science, environment,Silent Spring, Chatham, Maine, Fish and Wildlife Service, #BecauseOfHerStory

Kate Harris
15
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