Pick two objects. Compare/Contrast the two objects you chose.
Why are they in a collection together? Why is the title of this collection "portraits"?
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.
Students will begin by examining Tooker's "The Waiting Room" using the "See/Think/Wonder" methodology. Then, they will examine five poems and argue (using evidence from their chosen poem as well as the painting) which poem is closest in tone and theme to the painting. I've included additional images to further the discussion.
This collection is for use with an introductory lesson for a 12th-grade rhetoric course's unit on "arguments to meditate," which are defined in the text "Everything's an Argument" by Andrea Lunsford and John Ruszkiewicz as, to paraphrase, those arguments which are abstract and/or which lack a clear, explicitly stated thesis and that therefore depend on thoughtful meditation by the audience to arrive at an understanding of the rhetorician's intent. The purpose of this lesson is to (1) establish students' understanding of the definition of an argument to meditate and (2) provide students with a beginning ability to assess the thesis and supporting ideas that comprise arguments to meditate in the form of American Art. The details of the lesson itself are included in a document within the collection.
This collection includes a multi-day lesson plan built around Childe Hassam's Tanagra (The Builders, New York), 1918, and is designed to explore the effect that gender inequality can have on identity. Lessons are designed for an eleventh-grade, American Studies, Humanities-style course, and the historical context is the Gilded Age and the Women's Suffrage Movement. The plan for this mini-unit includes the analysis of visual, literary, and historical texts, and while it has a historical context, the goal is also to make connections to American life today. The essential question for this mini-unit is this: How can unfair gender norms affect what it feels like to be a human being? Included, you will find a lesson plan as well as digital versions of the artistic, literary, and historical texts needed to execute that plan. #SAAMteach
Examine your portrait with your partner. Answer the three questions in your writer's notebook, being sure to write the portrait's name and artist in your notebook for reference! What OBSERVATIONS have you made? What INFERENCES have you made?
Be prepared to courageously share your findings with your classmates!
Here is your challenge for the day.
You are going to look at a series of photos today taken at the same location over multiple years. The photos are in chronological order. Take your time to look at each photo carefully to spot the changes that you see. Look at each photo individually and then look at the series as a whole. At the end of the series, I want you to write down some of the ways in which the series of photos reflects the characters, plot, and/or major themes of Never Let Me Go. Be prepared to share with your neighbors some of what you experienced.
If you finish early, take a look at the painting titled "Waiting Room." What parallels do you see between Never Let Me Go and the thematic elements present in the painting? Be prepared to share.
Artworks to be used to with Black Boy, by Richard Wright, his autobiography which chronicles his search for identity while growing up in the Jim Crow South.
This collection presents three different liberty bonds primary sources dating from 1918: a postcard, sheet music/song, and a celebrity aviator's brochure. With these resources students will explore Liberty Bonds, also called war bonds or liberty loans, which were essentially loans from the American people to the U.S. government to fund the Allies' involvement in World War I. Many public campaigns presented purchasing bonds as the patriotic way to support the war from the home front. Carefully chosen words and imagery conveyed this message and persuaded Americans to act quickly, through both subtle and direct messaging.
Essential questions: What role did Liberty Bonds play in financing the U.S. WWI effort? How did persuasive language techniques and visuals lead many Americans to see Liberty Bonds as part of their patriotic duty on the home front?
Keywords: primary source, secondary source, soldiers, World War I, Great War, Ruth Law, "What are you going to do to help the boys?", army, military, Uncle Sam, WWI, persuasion, advertising
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Postal Museum's "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" teacher workshop (July 19, 2017). It focuses on one of the many postcards from this topical collection to demonstrate its use in the secondary classroom. #NPMTeacherPrograms
This unit explores different historical artifacts and the stories they tell. Students will investigate a range of objects, ranging from prescriptions to buffalo hides sourced from different Smithsonian collections.
Guiding Questions: How do humans shape the narrative of History? Whose History is being told? Is it possible to have multiple versions of the “past”?
The collection consists of 5 sets of artifacts, connected by some aspect such as culture, time period, event or movement. However, these objects each tell a very different story.
Working individually, in pairs or in small groups, students choose a set to explore. The students spend time quietly and carefully looking at the sources and investigate what they can tell us about our world, both locally and globally. This activity encourages students to reveal the multiple layers of meaning in an artifact from the most visible story to what it helps us to understand about the lives of our fellow human beings.
Students can share their ideas in pairs, or small groups, before coming together as whole class to share their findings.
Time: 40-60 minutes
As a follow up activity, students reflect on what new connections and information they discovered, new ideas that came to light, and what they found puzzling.
Students can complete the handout individually, in pairs or groups.
Time: 30-50 minutes depending on the length of the follow up discussion.
It might be interesting for students to watch the brief video included, where anthropologist Candace Green and curator Emil Her Many Horses, discuss the Lakota Winter Count as a form of historical record.
The duration of the video is just under 5 minutes.
For more information about the thinking routines visit:
In this collection, there are multiple images of objects that have been considered to be iconic in society. The objective of this collection is for students to look at the objects and research the significance of those objects. For this exercise, students will look over the images and write about those objects. This will allow students to use factual information that they look up, process the information, and use it to complete a writing assignment. They could write a fictional story having to do with the object of choice or they could write about a time when they have used the object during their day to day lives.
Tags: technology; toys; apparel; iconic;
Marian Anderson faced many challenges during her career making her a hero to many. Facing discrimination with dignity and grace endeared her to her fans and generations yet to come.
Introduction. In this unit, students investigate literature and art by individuals who, through their work, reflect on the U.S.-American experience. Is it the role of the artist and the writer to make us more reflective? If so, to what end? If we look at a startling image or read an inspiring story, is it a momentary thing? Do we go on unaffected or are we somehow changed? Are we supposed to do more than reflect? Are we supposed to rethink the ways we interact with others? Revise the way we live? Are we meant to take action? Our answers to these questions help us to understand the role of the author and the artist in a society that is fraught with conflict and, in a sense, put on edge by questions of identity.
This collection previews the fifth and final seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, The Struggle for Justice. Two National Portrait Gallery staff members will lead this event: David Ward and Briana Zavadil White.
Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore and consider before the seminar itself.
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2017 Learning to look Summer Teacher Institute. The activities, which should take 1 hour over two class days, use two photographs for student visual analysis, as well as a short reading on feminist history, to help students investigate context to further their understanding of characterization, theme, and plot elements in Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. A page of teacher notes is included at the end of the collection, outlining suggested uses of the slides.
TAGS: #NPGteach, portrait, learning to look, National Portrait Gallery
All resources that I've gathered to teach Adiche 's novel in Fall 2017.I have also begun a collection specific to Smithsonian exhibits and resources.
This topical collection features more than a dozen postcards that were distributed during the World War I era. These postcards will serve as inspiration and a starting point for teacher-created Smithsonian Learning Lab collections during the National Postal Museum's workshop, "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" (July 2017).
In this collection, students will explore how portraits can be used to reveal biographical information about a subject and time period. This collection focuses on a few portraits of the monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawaii (1795-1893). Students will be asked to think critically about each portrait. This activity is based on the "Reading Portraiture" Guide for Educators created by the National Portrait Gallery. The guide can be found at the end of the collection. The collection also includes an article from Smithsonian magazine that provides a brief history of Hawaii to provide further context for the images.
One of the final activities requires students to compare the monarchs' portraits to contemporary images of Hawaii (after it became a part of the U.S.). Students will also be asked to find an image of a famous person from Hawaii to compare and contrast with the previous images. This assignment tasks the class to think critically about their preconceptions and background knowledge on this part of history.
Resources would work best in a social studies class (either U.S. or World History) in a unit focusing on Hawaii. This collection can also be revised to fit into an Art History class. To learn more about the theory behind this approach of analyzing portraits of a subject before reading their biography, please see the last resource "'Reading' Portraiture Guide for Educators."
Craft can be used to respond to and record events in the world. How can an artist successfully translate a personal or national reaction into a craft work? Which moments are “remembered” this way? Students will learn to analyze an object and explore the interconnected nature of moments in the past to better understand the complexities of today.
This collection has students compare and contrast two artistic representations of American writer Gertrude Stein, a sculpture and a lithograph/collage. Included for the teacher is the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading Portraiture Guide for Educators" from which the questions here were adapted.
Resources providing background information for students include a video about the importance of body position and an article revealing philosophical influences on Stein.
Use strategies suggested in the Guide, or the following questions, after students have read and reviewed the provided resources:
1. Look at the first image (titled "Gertrude") and the second image (titled "Daibutsu Great Buddha") in this collection and write down observations.
2. How are "Gertrude" and "Daibutsu Great Buddha" similar and different?
3. Watch the video and take note of the ways how the statue (titled "Gertrude Stein") represents Gertrude Stein. In what ways are "Gertrude Stein" similar and different to "Gertrude"?
4. In the article "A Sort of Modern Buddha: The Influence of of Yogic Philosophies on Gertrude Stein's Method of Writing" Marcie Bianco suggests in the second paragraph starting with, "What these philosopher's show..." that a statue of Stein was necessary to capture her character and personality. How do the ideas in this paragraph reflect how Stein is depicted in the "Gertrude"?
5. In the article paragraph eleven starting with "What these philosophers show..." the writer suggests how Gertrude Stein wrote poetry utilizing a mind-body connection. How does this idea connect to how she is depicted in "Gertrude"?
6. After completing these steps, type in "Gertrude Stein" in the Learning Lab search engine and look at other portraits of her. How is she represented in other portraits?
7. How are the portraits alike and different? Compare these portraits with "Gertrude," "Gertrude Stein," and "Daibutsu Great Buddha".
Tags: Gertrude Stein; poetry; American novelist; literature; Buddha; sculpture; visual art; portrait; analysis
This collection includes a video that presents the question: "What did the artist keep the same and what did he change? Why?" In this collection, there are multiple images of individuals who have made a strong contribution in society. The artists have placed emphasis on the hands of the sitters. The objective is for students to compare and contrast multiple paintings, with the goal of gaining insights into ways portraitists convey personality with details.
1. Watch the video and write down the similarities between the two paintings that are presented. What are some comments the narrator said about the people in the paintings?
2. The narrator says the hands of the people are given great importance. Why do you think so?
3. Write down the similarities of the people's hands in the portraits.
4. Using that information, create a T-Chart. On one side of the chart write the overall similarities of the people in the paintings (build upon the findings of the narrator) and on the other side, the differences.
5. Using that information compare and contrast the second image and third images with the two paintings in the video. Add another column to the T-Chart and write down your findings.
6. Discuss or write about your conclusions as to what the painters were trying to express about the sitters. Do you think they were effective?
Tags: una troubridge; statue; representation; character; photograph; painting; visual.
Dorothea Lange took images of the bread lines during the Great Depression, migrant workers displaced, destitute families, Japanese internment camps, and the removal of a town in Monicello, CA. Her work inspired others to put themselves in the shoes of the very poor and the displaced, humanizing their predicament, with the hope of leading to social justice and change.