The five years of the Civil War are quite rightly considered a period of ordnance and artillery experimentation, development, and transition. The work of one man led, in fact, to the casting of one of the biggest guns ever built, even to the present day--a monstrous 20-inch muzzzleloader that fired a 1000 pound solid shot
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.
Context: A lesson for a U.S. History/American Literature humanities class. This lesson will come towards the end of our study of the Revolutionary period.
Essential Question: What does it mean to be an American in 1782?
- How does Crevecoeur define an American here? How accurate is his definition for that time period?
- To whom is Crevecouer making this appeal? What sort of person would be motivated by these passages?
- Who is included in Crevecoeur's appeal? Who is left out?
- How is "this new man" different?
- How does Crevecoeur help build the ideals and myths of America?
- How does this letter build on the idea of American Exceptionalism? America as the land of "new and improved"?
Students will have read Letter III before class.
Using the Smithsonian Learning Lab and the text excerpts below (or the entire text of Letter III), students will identify three key quotes or words and find artwork that connects to chosen text. Three total text excerpts and three works of art. The works of art can support, refute, or simply connect to some aspect of the quote and the idea of what it means to be an American.
Students will share their chosen artworks and quotes via the class Google classroom.
We will use the images as the basis for a class discussion on what it means to be an American.
After the class discussion, students will write a short paper on "What is an American?"
1.. Using the Smithsonian Learning Lab and the text excerpts below (or the entire text of Letter III), identify three key quotes or words and find artwork that connects to chosen text. You can use the images below as a starting point, but don't feel limited to these. The Smithsonian has an amazing and extensive collection. Take time to use the search function and explore the collection. You have all period to do so. Be original.
2. By class tomorrow, post on the google classroom your text excerpts and accompanying three works of art. The text can be a whole sentence or just a few key words. The works of art can support, refute, or simply connect to some aspect of the text and the idea of what it means to be an American. Be sure to include the title, artist, and date for each artwork. Your artwork doesn't have to come from the Revolutionary time period. The important thing is that you use your critical reading and thinking skills to make a connection between the text and the art work.
3. Tomorrow we will have a class discussion based on the images and excerpts. Be prepared to share your thinking on your choices with the class.
As always, remember to consider speaker, audience, and purpose. Who is speaking? To whom is he appealing? Why?
Not sure where to start? Find what you think are the ten most important words in the passage. Narrow it down to the top three.
Based on our studies so far, what are the different groups, ethnicities, races, religious affiliations make up the population at this time? Which of these does Crevecouer include? Leave out?
How did these people come to be in America? Does that matter in Crevecouer's writing?
by J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur
"What then is the American, this new man?...He is an American, who, leaving
behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new
mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. He has
become an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater.
Here individuals of all races are melted into a new race of man, whose labors
and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world. Americans are the
"After a foreigner from any part of Europe is arrived, and become a citizen; let him devoutly listen to the voice of our great parent, which says to him, "Welcome to my shores, distressed European; bless the hour in which thou didst see my verdant fields, my fair navigable rivers, and my green mountains!--If thou wilt work, I have bread for thee; if thou wilt be honest, sober, and industrious, I have greater rewards to confer on thee--ease and independence. I will give thee fields to feed and clothe thee; a comfortable fireside to sit by, and tell thy children by what means thou hast prospered; and a decent bed to repose on. I shall endow thee beside with the immunities of a freeman. If thou wilt carefully educate thy children, teach them gratitude to God, and reverence to that government, that philanthropic government, which has collected here so many men and made them happy. I will also provide for thy progeny; and to every good man this ought to be the most holy, the most powerful, the most earnest wish he can possibly form, as well as the most consolatory prospect when he dies. Go thou and work and till; thou shalt prosper, provided thou be just, grateful, and industrious" (Letter III, 1782).
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."
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).
This curriculum pack was produced by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and includes everything you need to teach about the town of Homestead and how it reflects changes in American society. The student text includes readings that you can give directly to your students, and the info tab includes suggested teaching activities. Primary sources and biographies with suggested activities are also included (be sure to click on the paper clip and/or info icon on each item to find out more about it).
This is a collection that allows students to examine the role of the worker in the American Experience and how it has changed over time. #SAAMteach
This lesson will teach students about the bracero guest worker program, as well as painting, photograph, and textual analysis. Students will use the Domingo Ulloa painting as a jumping off point for an analysis of working and living conditions of migrant Mexican workers in the United States. Photographs from the American history collection will show workers's lives in America, while a primary source will show the effects of the bracero program on an individual. Finally, students will connect the bracero program of 1942-1964 to immigration issues of today by analyzing statements made by Donald Trump in the context of the bracero program.
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.
Marquis de Lafayette, Thaddeus (Tadeusz) Kosciuszko, Bernardo de Galvez, and Wilhelm von Steuben
Many modern Native Alaskans share their cultural traditions through dance, textiles, song and art. As you watch each of the three short videos, think about the following questions:
1. What do you see?
2. What do you think about that?
3. What does it make you wonder?
In this activity, you will explore the Yup'ik gut parka, a type of garment created from the intestines of sea mammals to protect sea hunters from wind, rain, and stormy seas. The Yup'ik, native to Alaska and coastal Canada, used these not only for hunting but also spiritual occasions, such as religious ceremonies. The gallery includes: two parkas, one for hunting and one for ceremonies; a map of the geographic boundaries of the Yup'ik before the arrival of Euro-American settlers; and a video of modern Yup'ik discussing the traditional process of creating these garments and the importance of conserving and continuing this tradtion today.
Shirley Chisholm's 1972 presidential campaign poster and paraphernalia
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.
Sonia Sotomayor was the first Latina justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. This collection was created for the Learning to Look workshop for teachers offered @NPG. The collection is intended to enhance a unit in which students will read excerpts of My Beloved World, the autobiography of Sotomayor, and Facing the Lion, the autobiography of Joseph Lekuton. The students will compare common values in both autobiographies. The activity described in this collection will help students understand Sotomayor as a person and also infer what values she is expressing in portraits.
Wilma Rudolph defied the odds and paved the way for African American female athletes. Discover her strength and courage.
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery’s 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.
TAGS: #NPGteach, portrait, learning to look, National Portrait Gallery
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.
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 was a period of Athenian political power, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens with the later part The Age of Pericles.
In this collection, students will answer the question "What Makes a First Lady?" by comparing and analyzing images of various First Ladies. They will also think critically about their definition of the First Lady as compared to that of the President and the differences in medium (painting, photography, video) artists use to represent a First Lady. One of the final activities will require students to find an image of a First Lady not shown in the collection to test their definitions.
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.
Charles Messier was an eighteenth century astronomer whose specialty was searching for comets. He observed at an observatory atop the Hotel Cluny which was financed by the French Navy.
A collection of objects to analyze the compelling question "Was the American Civil War inevitable?"
Explain the differences between the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Missouri Compromise
How was the institution of slavery protected in the Constitution?
How were the institution of slavery, the cotton industry, and the industrialization of the North connected?
Did you know that quilts are also historical artifacts? Use this collection to learn more about how curators investigate quilts to learn about their origins, and then explore a variety of different quilts that tell us important things about the time in which they were made and the crafters who made them. Finally, make your own quilt depicting an important historical moment.
tags: quilt, craft, activity, review