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Found 21 Collections


Geometry in Buildings

This is a virtual field trip for students to see points, lines, line segments, rays, and angles.

Linda Jaeger

Photographer: Noggle, Anne


This is a collection of four panorama photographs by photographer Anne Noggle made in the 1960s of a kitchen, a cafe lunch counter, a row of mailboxes, and a neighborhood street corner.  

Keywords: women, aging, panoramic photo, panorama photography, neighborhood, mailboxes

Anne Noggle was born in 1922 in Evanston, IL and spent her formative years living there with her mother and sister—two women who would become important characters in Noggle’s photography. 

Prior to her photography career, Noggle led a markedly different life.  In 1940, with her student pilot license in hand, Anne Noggle became a pilot and eventually a flight instructor as a Women’s Air Force Service Pilot (WASP) in World War II.  At the conclusion of the war, Anne taught flying, joined an aerial circus, and worked as a crop duster.  Art grabbed Noggle’s attention while she was on active duty in the air force in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  Stationed in Paris, she spent much of her free time at the Louvre.  Forced into early retirement due to emphysema caused by crop dusting, Noggle registered for college as an art history major at the University of New Mexico in 1959.  She was thirty-eight years old. 

Anne Noggle’s early photographs utilize the 35mm Panon camera.  Most of these 140° photographs are of an aging woman and her surroundings.  In Janice Zita Grover’s introduction to Silver Lining:  Photographs by Anne Noggle, she writes, about the panoramic format, that it is characteristic “to distort space in such a way that subjects distant from the lens appear flattened against deep space; between this effect and the necessity for reading the image side to side, the format gets as close as the still camera can to the implied narrative unfolding of a panoramic opening shot in a film . Noggle’s Panon images of her mother’s circle in Santa Fe have exactly these qualities, as if a newly landed observer…were scrutinizing these women, their curious rites and settings, for the first time.” 

By the early 1970s, however, Noggle moved on to wide-angle portraits featuring herself, her mother, sister, and her mother’s friends.  It is for these photographs that Noggle is most known.  Her interest in women and the aging process is exemplified by self-portraits of Noggle’s own face-lifts and images of her aging body. 

Noggle has been granted two NEA grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Major holdings of Anne Noggle’s work can be found at:  the Northlight Gallery at Arizona State University, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, University of New Mexico—University Art Museum, and the Museum of New Mexico Photographic Archives.  In Washington, DC, American Art has one photograph from Noggle’s Agnes series of two women playing croquet.

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Muybridge, Eadweard

Photographic History Collection: Eadweard Muybridge


This is a small sampling of Eadweard Muybridge Collections in the Photographic History Collection.  The collection contains stereoviews, a Yosemite portfolio printed by Chicago Albumen Works, collotypes, cyanotype proof prints, glass plate positives, Zoopraxiscope glass plates, lantern slides, a timing device, a patent model, shutter, and more.

For more, search 

Keywords:  stop action, stop motion, freeze frame, motion picture, cyanotypes, stereographs, Yosemite, Modoc Wars, California history, University of Pennsylvania, science and photography

See also the online exhibition at the National Museum of American History, Freeze Frame,

Expatriate Englishman Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), a brilliant and eccentric photographer, gained worldwide fame photographing animal and human movement imperceptible to the human eye. Hired by railroad baron Leland Stanford in 1872, Muybridge used photography to prove that there was a moment in a horse’s gallop when all four hooves were off the ground at once. He spent much of his later career at the University of Pennsylvania, producing thousands of images that capture progressive movements within fractions of a second.

By the 1860s, Eadweard Muybridge, born Edward James Muggeridge in Kingston-upon-Thames, England, had reinvented himself as Helios, one of San Francisco’s most important landscape photographers. His fame brought him to the attention of Leland Stanford, former governor of California, who hired Muybridge to get a picture that would settle a hotly debated issue: Is there a moment in a horse’s gait when all four hooves are off the ground at once? Muybridge took up the challenge in 1872. In 1878, he succeeded in taking a sequence of photographs with 12 cameras that captured the moment when the animal’s hooves were tucked under its belly. Publication of these photographs made Muybridge an international celebrity.

It took six years to produce the photographs Stanford sought. Muybridge’s experiments were interrupted in 1874 when he went on trial for the murder of his wife’s lover. Acquitted on grounds of justifiable homicide, he spent two years photographing in Central America before returning to Stanford’s farm. In 1878, Muybridge finally succeeded in photographing the horse in motion.

Muybridge used the wet plate process, a relatively slow method of photography. The resulting images were hardly more than silhouettes, but they showed what had never before been seen by the unaided eye.

Eadweard Muybridge traveled to Europe for a lecture tour in the fall of 1881. In Paris, Etienne-Jules Marey introduced him to the artistic and scientific luminaries of the age. This triumphal tour inspired Muybridge to seek additional funding to undertake an even more complex investigation into animal and human locomotion.

In the summer of 1883, the University of Pennsylvania agreed to fund such a project. University Provost Dr. William Pepper placed the grounds of the new Veterinary Department at Muybridge’s disposal, and a university committee was formed to oversee the project. Muybridge began making photographs in the spring of 1884.

Muybridge photographed his subjects moving in front of a black wall marked off with a grid of white threads. He used up to 36 lenses with 12 to 24 cameras, placed at 30-, 60-, and 90-degree angles to his subjects. The two cameras placed at 30- and 60-degrees were able to hold up to 12 lenses each. The 90-degree angle was known as the lateral, or parallel, view, while the others Muybridge referred to as the front and rear foreshortenings. With this set-up, a successful session could result in as many as 36 negatives.

The Cyanotypes
Muybridge’s cyanotypes are working proofs, the contact prints he made from the more than 20,000 negatives he took at the University of Pennsylvania. Since the original negatives no longer exist, the cyanotypes provide us with the opportunity to see the pictures Muybridge really made, before he edited and cropped them for publication.

The Process Muybridge used up to 36 lenses with 12 to 24 cameras, placed at 30-, 60-, and 90-degree angles to his subjects. The two cameras placed at 30- and 60-degrees were able to hold up to 12 lenses each. The 90-degree angle was known as the lateral, or parallel, view, while the others Muybridge referred to as the front and rear foreshortenings. With this set-up, a successful session could result in as many as 36 negatives.

Muybridge contact-printed his negatives as cyanotypes, the working proofs.

Using these cyanotypes as his guide, he enlarged each negative onto a separate piece of glass and assembled these positives into large glass plate composites (C). From these composites, the Photogravure Company, New York, produced a gelatin negative. The final print, called a collotype, was printed in ink from a plate prepared from this negative.

Over 800 sets of proofs exist in the unique collection found in the Photographic History Collection of the National Museum of American History. Comparisons between Muybridge’s working cyanotype proofs and his final collotype prints prove that he freely reprinted, cropped, deleted, or substituted negatives to make the assemblage of 781 collotypes in the portfolio Animal Locomotion. The Muybridge cyanotypes may be found in the online exhibit Freeze Frame: Eadweard Muybridge’s Photography of Motion.

The collection also includes prints from Muybridge’s five-month trip to the Yosemite Valley in 1867, which yielded 260 published views, 160 of them stereographs. His were among the most celebrated images taken of the Valley. By the late 1860s, the widespread circulation of Yosemite images had made the region a mythic American landscape, redolent of the grandeur, expansiveness, and power Americans had come to associate with the West and, by extension, the nation as a whole.

For more information on Eadweard Muybridge in the Smithsonian Collection see:

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Key Moments in WWII: What makes you say that?

Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will investigate two photographs, taken from different angles, of Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri as they signed the surrender that would officially end WWII.

Keywords: world war 2, world war ii, general macarthur, carl mydans, primary source, ww2, japanese instrument of surrender, potsdam declaration, inquiry strategy, japan


Tess Porter

Textiles in Math

Use this collection of textiles as part of a geometry unit. After reviewing shapes, lines, and angles, students can focus on how the patterns repeat, flip, slide, and turn. Once students have had the chance to investigate some textiles, they can use Tinkercad to create their own design that will be come a stamp when 3D printed. The final step is for students to reflect on their design and printing by doing the following:

  • One stamped design on the page
  • Draw lines of symmetry on it
  • Label the shapes used in the design
  • Tell what kind of pattern used on felt rectangle - Dot, Stripe, Block
  • Tell is there is rotation (turn), reflection (flip), translation (slide)

Thank you to Learning Lab contributor, Christopher Sweeney, for inspiring me while designing this unit!

Eveleen Eaton

The Value of a Sketch

A design project’s aesthetics and cultural impact are usually the primary consideration as to the effectiveness and quality of a designer's approach to problem-solving. What is often overlooked in these perspectives are the various preliminary approaches that designers employ—how do we visualize and ultimately share our ideas with others?

Within design education, projects are usually conceived to help expose students to the “design process,” an often-complex journey of experiments and discoveries. This process helps guide students in the creation of future successful design solutions. With the progress of the digital experience (PowerPoint presentations, iPhone apps, and Virtual Reality), the art of the sketch seems to be a casualty of the current state of the design process.

What can we learn from a sketch? Is the sketch a dead art form, forever packed away in folders or archives never to be seen again? Or, can we reevaluate its historical contributions in the design process and creation of artful typographic syntax and hierarchy, image creation, and narrative development?

 Most often, these small, thumbnail sketches speak only to a limited audience (Art Directors, other designers, or only the designer themselves) and, therefore, usually have a limited impact. But, in the hands of a skilled and creative designer, these sketches can mean the difference between success or failure, the green light, or the idea being squashed.

As a supplement to several educational design projects, this collection attempts to expose students to the value of the simple pencil sketch. How can we use the sketching process to encourage young designers to visualize away from the computer and avoid the digital “sameness” pervasive in our visual world?

This collection attempts to chronicle the process of various designers and their projects (both large and small, complex, and simple) and presents their approach to preliminary ideation through the sketching process. The collection includes thumbnails, photographs, color studies, line reductions as well as the completed project in hopes of revealing The Value of a Simple Sketch.

Designers/Artist included:

Willi Kunz, (1943 - )  Swiss-born Kunz, played a significant role in the introduction of the new typography developed from Basel to the United States, where he currently lives and works.

Dan Friedman, (1945–1995) noted American graphic and furniture designer and educator. One of the significant contributors to the New Wave typography movement.

Painter Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) was the leader of the Dutch De Stijl movement, where he implemented an extreme visual vocabulary consisting of planes of primary colors, simplified right angles, and linear accents.

Tom Engeman, (1934 - ), American designer and Illustrator who has designed and illustrated several stamps for the United States Postal Service, including the Flags of Our Nation forever stamps and the 150th Anniversary of the Smithsonian commemorative stamp.

Ned Drew

Climates of Inequality: Design Interventions

Humanities Action Lab (HAL), currently hosted by Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N), is a coalition of universities, issue organizations, and public spaces, that collaborate to produce community-curated public humanities projects on urgent social issues. HAL’s current project, Climates of Inequality, explores climate and environmental justice in 23 localities around the world. RU-N's Graphic Design | Senior Seminar I partners with the Newark iteration, focusing on the (current) Newark Water Crisis.

Student are asked to respond to the escalating public health crisis— elevated levels of lead in Newark’s water. How can we, as designers, assist in this conversation? Teams design participatory experiences to engage Newark residents and RU-N students in order to create awareness about the crisis. Projects may include collecting and visualizing data, an action (prompted by elements of a campaign), a toolkit, among other design tactics. These projects are prototyped in support of the Climates of Inequalities exhibition at Express Newark, opening October 3, 2019.

This learning labs collection focuses on the design process and research components, that introduce the public rhetoric surrounding the 2019 Newark Water Crisis. Design students, investigate the social, historic and political contexts surrounding the crisis, study various sources of news media coverage and focus their research and engagement approaches based on conversations with Newark residents affected by the lead contamination, the RU-N student body, as well as community individuals and organizations working to manage the crises, raise awareness and proposing solutions.

In addition to media coverage and community insights, student investigate creative methods for public engagement, participatory and experience design examples, public art intervention to reference materials/media, communication strategies, language, a visual expression/solutions. 

The design process focuses on the human-centered design (HCD) model, but is rooted in self-reflection, to sensibly define the designer’s role in this conversation before proposing design interventions. The process also considers the "launch" of the project part of the "testing" phase, and involves reflection, before refining and re-packaging their design approaches.

Additional resources in this collection offer design project examples, ethnographic research approaches/definitions (ways to engage the audience), HCD & Design-Thinking resources, and more. 


FORMULATE: Frame the challenge. Research and Ideate.
+ Understand the challenge based on the project brief, scope, timeline and initial information provided. Ideate and research further to explore directions/angles of the challenge. 
+ Involve self reflection. What is the designer’s role in this conversation. From where you stand (your background, affiliations, skills) what can you do/make? How can you help? 
+ (RE)Frame the challenge.  

EMPATHIZE & DEFINE: Understand the User/Audience
+ Observe the Audience/Stakeholders/Community. 
+ Collect stories. 
+ Examine the larger picture: human needs, barriers & constraints. Define and shape your approach to the challenge.

BRAINSTORM: Diverge and Converge
The design thinking process is ultimately a divergent and convergent thinking process. Through the exercises of evaluation, comparison, and consolidation, a limited number of solutions are selected for prototyping and testing. The final solution sometimes merges the merits of several alternatives.” —Jasper Liu
+ Based on intellectual & experiential understanding of the challenge (Divergence), map the problem and define approach for your intervention (convergence). What is the right solution? 
+ Ideate forms of engagement. Create valuable, compelling and educational experiences for others. How is the medium relevant and accessible, to best communicate-with, educate and/or empower the audience? 

PROTOTYPE: Bring Ideas to Life
There are no perfect solutions, only trade-offs. Iterations are indispensable.”  —Jasper Liu
+ Generate an abundance of rough and rapid visuals to test, transform, and polish. 
+ Gauge final design directions based on feedback.
+ Produce well executed/functional prototypes for soft launch.

TEST/LAUNCH: Learn and Refine – Share with User
+ Produce all required artwork (prepped for print and/or digital formats). 
+ Test design & document interactions.
+ Gather findings and articulate effectiveness or non-fulfillment.

+ Revise project, perfect, re-produce for travel.  
+ Measure Impact


Chantal Fischzang
Assistant Professor
Department of Arts, Culture & Media
Rutgers University-Newark

Design Consortium
Visual Means


Rebecca Pauline Jampol
Visiting Professor
Department of Arts, Culture & Media
Rutgers University-Newark

Co-Founder & Co-Director
Project for Empty Space


Chantal Fischzang

Women of Japan

Time- 2 class periods


Using the Project Zero Design Thinking routines  "Parts, People, Interaction", this activity provides an understanding of the system of gender power at stake in the representation of Chapter 34 of Tales of Genji - Kashiwagi catches sight of the third Princess.  It then looks at a modernization of the illustrations and offers a reflection on what the new feminine contemporary perspective brings to the interpretation of the Third princess story. 

In exploring the representations of the tales of Genji, students have the opportunity to discover tales that have become a standard for Japanese culture. They look at the first known literature piece written by a woman, who shares a rare and intimate perspective of a woman on a world governed by men.  Students compare the representation of the tales from the XVIth century with one from the XXth century to identify in what ways they have been interpreted.

Day 1:

Step 1: Have students sketch The tale of Genji, chapter 34; Kashiwagi catches sight of the third Princess

Step 2: Debrief as a whole group

Discuss what the students have noticed.  Do not show the caption to the students yet. The observational drawing is good to help students pay attention to details and unveil the artist's choices. It also encourages them to initiate a first interpretation.

Step 3: Parts, People, Interaction

Once students have discussed the painting, guide them through the routine "Parts, People, Interaction". 

"This thinking routine helps students slow down and look closely at a system ( here the system of gender power.) In doing so, young people are able to situate objects within systems and recognize the various people who participate—either directly or indirectly—within a particular system. 

Students also notice that a change in one aspect of the system may have both intended and unintended effects on another aspect of the system. When considering the parts, people, and interactions within a system, young people begin to notice the multitude of subsystems within systems. 

This thinking routine helps stimulate curiosity, raises questions, surfaces areas for further inquiry, and introduces systems thinking." (PZ)

Step 4: Read the PDF "More about Chapter 34" and go back to the questions 

Have students read the caption, go back and look at the painting and ask them to take notes on how their understanding has shifted from their initial interpretation.

Step 5: Debrief the "Parts, People and Interaction" routine as a whole group:

During the discussion, here are some specific question students may want to address:  

  • What does the illustration of Chapter 34, Kashiwagi catches sight of the third Princess says about the system of power gender in place at the Japanese court in the XIth century? 
  • To what extent the architecture in the painting play a role in facilitating the superiority of men? 
  • How does the system in place impact relationship between men and women?

Day 2:

Step 1: "See, Think, Wonder" - The third princess with her pet cat, Yamato Maki, 1987

Have them do a quick "See, Think, Wonder" to encourages them to reactivate prior knowledge, pay attention to details and reflect on the effects of the modernization of the illustration of The tales of Genji though manga. Identify the audience and the context of the illustration.

Step 2: Read the caption as a group - notice what is important.

Step 3: "Layers"

This routine will encourage students to refine their first analysis of the illustration by looking at it through different angles (Aesthetic, Mechanical, Connections, Narrative, Dynamic). It will allow them to draw upon their prior knowledge and consider the impact of modernization of art on the public. 

Students can work in small group and cover between 3 and 5 of the categories.

Step 4: Each group of students present their learning to the class 

Anne Leflot

From a Different Point of View

This collection will focus on various perspectives and the viewer will discuss the significances of seeing art at all angles.
Renee Mills

Access Series: Great Face! Portraits and Photo Composition

Taking a great portrait is more than just taking a quick snap of a face. It requires thoughtful contemplation and a variety of choices by the photographer. This is a collection of photographs that illustrate various principles of portrait photography: angles (eye-level, high angle, low angle, and bird's eye), light and shadow, framing, and shot length (long-shot, medium-shot, close-up, & extreme close-up); As well as mood--capturing a feeling or emotion in a photograph; scale--how big or small subjects look; and sense of place--capturing the feeling of a place. Click into each photo and on the "paper clip" annotation icon to read more information and complete challenges.

Tags: portrait photography, decision-making, self-determination, student empowerment, disability, All Access Digital Arts Program

Tracie Spinale

Triumph and Tragedy: Pittsburgh's History of Innovation in Science

This collection connects the 2019 National History Day theme of "Triumph and Tragedy in History" to a selection of topics related to Western Pennsylvania, science, and innovation. This region’s history features many stories of triumph over tragedy, including two key events: the creation of the polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh, and Rachel Carson’s fight against the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment.

The first half of the collection focuses on the story of the polio vaccine, including context on the polio virus, movements to raise money for a cure, and Salk's work in Pittsburgh. It also mentions Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were used without permission for a range of medical advancements, including the polio vaccine.

The second half of the collection highlights Rachel Carson, her talent for writing and interest in animals as a child, how she came to be interested in the effects of DDT, and her legacy as an environmentalist. 

These objects, images, and sources can be used to help form an idea for a project, provide a new angle on an existing project idea, or lead to new ways of including primary sources into NHD projects. They are drawn from a range of primary source repositories, which can be helpful sources of information for students working on these topics. 

#NHD2019 #NHD 


Upward Bound Tech & Tour - Intro to the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access' Learning Lab

Taking a great portrait is more than just taking a quick snap of a face. It requires thoughtful contemplation and a variety of choices by the photographer. We'll examine a collection of photographs that illustrate various principles of portrait photography and that will help students to understand the parts of a digital artifact. 

LENS 1 | One lens to consider when looking at an artifact is its context and the impression it gives you. Using "see, think, wonder" strategies, we consider:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think about it?
  • What makes you say that -- what evidence is there for that - on what are you basing your opinion?
  • What does it make you wonder?
  • Why does something look the way it does or the way it is?

LENS 2 | Analyzing great photographs to provide inspiration for your own photography pursuits 

What makes a strong image?

  • angles (eye-level, high angle, low angle, and bird's eye);
  • light and shadow;
  • framing;
  • shot length (long-shot, medium-shot, close-up, & extreme close-up);
  • mood--capturing a feeling or emotion in a photograph; 
  • scale--how big or small subjects look; and
  • sense of place--capturing the feeling of a place. 

Click into each photo and on the "paper clip" annotation icon to read more information (metadata!)

We will then discuss publishing guidelines and other policies that will help students make their best collections.

Tags: portrait photography, decision-making, self-determination, student empowerment, Project Zero

Tracie Spinale

Caught in the Folds

Students will look at geometry in origami as an inspiration to art, design, and innovations in science.

Using selected Issey Miyake’s fashion designs and connections to origami this Learning Lab Collection will highlight artworks that are designed in two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) forms, how to plan/engineer for complexity, and how combinations make a difference in the end product.


Student Instructions

Teacher Notes

Slide 1: Collections in Motion: Folding Miyake Tank

Watch the video, then answer the questions in the quiz

Encourage students to watch the video more than once.

Slide 2: 2D paper crane

Read about history of the paper crane and cultural significance.

These two slides are visualizations that can help students make connections between origami and Miyake’s work.

Slide 3: 3D paper crane

Slide 4: Origami instructions for paper crane.

Make the crane twice.

One version keep in the 3D form

Second version: Unfold and analyze the line features. If you need to you can use a ruler to accent the lines.

Identify the parallel line properties, types of angles, and any special features of the folds.

Extensions: Make connections between the folds and the aspects of the crane.

Slide 5: Collections in Motion: Folding Miyake Long Skirt

Watch the video, then answer the questions in the quiz, and sketch a rough draft of the 2D plan for the skirt.

Students can watch the video of the skirt a couple of times, answer the questions in the quiz and sketch the skirt. Remind the students that it does not have to be perfect. The goal is to identify the shapes used.

Slide 6: In-Ei Mendori

Students will interview each other and make predictions of what the 2D version of the sculpture will look like.

It is important that they complete the quiz before advancing to the next slide.

Slide 7: In-Ei Mendori

Students will evaluate their prediction of the sculpture.

Possible point for class discussion.

Slide 8: Thinking routine

With your group members answer the questions for one of the Miyake designs.

Slide 9: 40 under 40: Erik Demaine

Watch the video of folding.

Read Erik Dermaine’s short biography and research interests

Students will read about Dermaine’s interests and do some research on the applications of geometry.

Slide 10: Science Innovations

Watch the video on science innovations.

Lead a discussion on the aspects of origami and the importance in problem solving in science.


Slide 11: Fold it website

Connections between biology and origami.

Read through the website and use the folding tool.

Students could make proteins with origami paper and analyse the different line properties and relationships that are on the paper after unfolded.

Additional resources

Documentary on origami- teachers can watch for more background information or use clips during the lesson. 



Amanda Riske

Conflict and Compromise: Pittsburgh's Labor History

This collection connects the 2018 National History Day theme of "Conflict and Compromise in History" to a selection of labor strikes that occurred in Western Pennsylvania. This region has a long history of labor strikes,  some of which led to successful negotiations, while others led to violence. The collection also includes information about the Pittsburgh Survey to illuminate the living and working conditions that were often the reasons that compelled workers to strike.

These objects, images, and sources can be used to help form an idea for a project, provide a new angle on an existing project idea, or lead to new ways of including primary sources into NHD projects. The Heinz History Center blog features additional information about the Homestead Strike and Railroad Strike images.

#NHD2018 #NHD


Key Moments in WWII: What makes you say that?

Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will investigate two photographs, taken from different angles, of Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri as they signed the surrender that would officially end WWII.

Tags: world war 2; world war ii; general macarthur; carl mydans; primary source; ww2; japanese instrument of surrender; potsdam declaration; inquiry strategy

Emily Collins

Navigation: Past and Present -- Lesson Plans and Information

By the dawn of the sixteenth century, the ancient art of navigation had begun to develop rapidly in response to  new advancements that enabled oceanic explorers to more accurately locate their positions without landmarks, to determine the locations of their discoveries, and to establish routes between the new-found lands and home. Although the relationship of certain heavenly bodies to time of day and terrestrial directions had been known since ancient times, the first two decades of the sixteenth century saw the rigorous application of astronomy and mathematics to navigation.

Navigation is based largely on the spherical coordinates latitude -angular distance north or south of the equator - and longitude - angular distance east or west of a generally accepted reference location, such as the Greenwich Observatory in London, United Kingdom.  Finding longitude requires  measuring the angle contained between the meridian of a particular place and some prime meridian, that was located in Greenwich, England, and expressed either in degrees or by some corresponding differences in time.  Mechanical time-pieces existed in the Elizabethan era, but until the late eighteenth century they had to be corrected frequently by sun sightings and were therefore almost useless aboard ship. Measuring latitude, on the other hand, does not require an accurate time-piece. Refinement of instruments enabled sixteenth-century mariners to determine latitude with reasonable accuracy. 

Michele Hubert

Geometry and Islamic Art

This is a collection of artifacts representing geometric motifs in Islamic art. Students will learn why these complex patterns are so prevalent in Islamic art, practice spotting different types of patterns, and begin to create their own, using just a ruler and a compass. They will also have an opportunity to explore the concept of tessellation using an interactive tool.

tags: geometry, circle, angle, star, mosque, mihrab, tile, Muslim, Islam, religion

Kim Sigle

James Turrell, The Light-Bender®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=collection&

Recently, The Massachusettes Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) decided to expand the facility by 250,000 square feet to feature many new and exciting exhibits. Nine of these new exhibits are light-centered environments created by the renowned artist, James Turrell. Turrell is known best for using lighting,curved walls, and warm colors to trick the observers into thinking that they're in more open spaces than they actually are. Turrell's work mostly concerns light and space and he is fascinated with the way that light can be manipulated to deceive people in regards to available space. The artist is obsessed with creating a sense of openness with curved angles and light to make the viewer feel calm and tricked into thinking they're in a huge room, when in reality, they're really not. Turrell even admits that it is the viewer's sight that matters more than his, meaning that without people to observe these endless rooms, his visions would be pointless. He is most well-known for replicating "Ganzfelds," which is a German word that describes the phenomenon of the complete loss of depth-perception, as in a white out. These works of art allow spectators to experience almost complete sensory deprivation and it usually allows them to feel a certain sense of serenity. Anyone who wishes to experience Turrell's magnificent,new installations can view them in North Adams, Massachusettes. The Museum of Contemporary Arts has embraced these exiting exhibits with open arms and hopes that it will draw crowds from all over the world and receive the attention that they deserve.

Tristan Adams

Geometry and Islamic Art

This is a collection of artifacts representing geometric motifs in Islamic art. Students will learn why these complex patterns are so prevalent in Islamic art, practice spotting different types of patterns, and begin to create their own, using just a ruler and a compass. They will also have an opportunity to explore the concept of tessellation using an interactive tool.

tags: geometry, circle, angle, star, mosque, mihrab, tile, Muslim, Islam, religion

Kate Harris

Robert Irwin - All The Rules Will Change 2016 Highlight Tour

Robert Irwin is a California based artist working directly with the idea of optical perception in art. Born in 1928 in Long Beach California, he worked alongside many other artists dealing with groundbreaking works in what was called the "Light and Space" movement of the 60's. Irwin began his career in the 50's and continues working until this day, at 87 years old. This major retrospective of the artist shows the changes and development in his work. Each work we will look at shows that Irwin is concerned with the conscious act of looking, and questioning the nature of art itself.

Starting out with the handheld paintings, which were done in the late 50's, Irwin is working alongside the abstract expressionists. This includes famous modern artists like Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Willem De Kooning. Abstract expressionism is characterized by action packed, gestural marks that focus on color and form rather than representation of a tangible subject. The movement was concerned with emotion, catharsis, and the actual process behind the work, almost like a performance. The finished piece was a remnant of bodily expression. (See - "Lavender Mist"by Jackson Pollock, 1950.) Irwin, already a free thinker from the beginning of his career, decides to create abstract expressionist works that are considerably smaller than other artists working at the time, noting their "unfashionably small scale." Most artists were working large scale in an effort to use most of their body in the process. He creates a more intimate, personal aspect to the pieces, calling them "handheld" paintings. Obviously, since we are in a museum setting, they are displayed under glass for us to look at. However, in their original context, they are meant to be physically handled, turned, and looked at closely with a connection to our bodies. Each work is composed of dense, swirling oil paint in different shapes and formations. If we look at "Untitled", which seems to be mostly black, we can see many subtle different layers of color if we spend some time with it. Hues of orange and blue come to the muddy surface upon close looking. The wooden frames were built by Irwin himself, with the painting emerging above them, almost like a topographic map. The frame becomes a compositional element within itself, setting the painting in something definite. The works are heavily textural and almost three dimensional. Irwin is building up paint in certain areas, and scratching into it in others. He claimed that many of these pieces were completed in just one session, which was typical of abstract expressionist practices. In their original context, these works establish a relationship with the painting and the viewer. Viewing them at different angles, we can continue to pick out many different nuances in each work. Irwin was influenced by Zen Buddhist principles as well as many other American avant - garde artists, which influenced his acutely deliberate decisions and awareness in his work.

Moving on to the late line paintings, and passing through the early line paintings, we can see Irwin has abandoned his abstract expressionist style of working. He is interested in the simplification of a painting, reducing it to figure ground relationships established by the horizontal line. This reduction completely strips the painting of any representational subject, and introduces color and line. The paint is much thinner, with no textural definition. He lessens his emphasis on brushstroke which was implemented in the earlier line paintings. Now, we have no external associations to liken the painting to. While many of the earlier line paintings have titles, ("Crazy Otto") he decides to completely rid his work of any associations. Each painting depicts parallel lines, with usually only two colors. While the early line paintings had evidence of brushstroke in the background, the late line paintings are more refined. They have also increased in size, dominating our field of vision, and lack a frame. When actively looking at these, your eyes are continuously shifting focus, because holding both lines in your vision is impossible. Irwin was known to experiment with different colored strips of tape in varied lengths, to visualize different combinations. The last piece displayed in the gallery of "late line paintings" appears to be completely orange at first glance, but is subtly marked with two lines of another shade of orange. Large enough to consume our peripheral vision, it's an interesting optical experience as our eyes shift around the work. It's important to note that Irwin has dropped the use of the frame, and is exposing raw canvas on the sides for the first time.

In the next gallery, we jump to an incredible advancement in his artistic career: the dot painting. Upon entering the gallery, it appears to be a blank, aged canvas hanging on the wall. Walking a little bit closer, there appears to be a circular haze of light or energy emanating from the piece: in yellow, pink, and maybe purple. If we walk up to the line, and look closely, we will see hundreds of tiny dots in blue and faint red covering the canvas. The dots are more concentrated towards the center, and fade out towards the edges, with only the red continuing into the corners. The edges are left blank, which makes it appear to recede backwards. Irwin is using complementary colors that nearly cancel each other out the farther we step back from the piece. One thing to notice is that the canvas is shaped in a convex form, with the center bulging outwards towards the viewer. This emphasizes the vague, circular form of the piece when we view it from the middle of the gallery. Coinciding with the lack of dots on the edges, the shaped canvas brings the center into our field of vision while the edges hold back. The canvas is mounted onto a piece that elevates it off of the wall. The viewer's experience is directly influenced by the movement of their body within the space, and the amount of time they spend with the piece. Advancing into his career, Irwin decides to leave many of his pieces untitled, so they aren't associated with anything specific. By doing this, he leaves the interpretation of the piece up to the viewer's direct connection with it. This is also the first time that he shapes the canvas, giving a more sculptural element to the piece, which precedents the series of discs he creates afterwards.

The dot painting is a great precedent for the discs, as it introduces the convex circular form, and the obvious optical illusion that changes according to where you're standing in the gallery. For this tour, I'm focusing specifically on the "Untitled" piece from 1969. Irwin is using hand hammered acrylic to create a sculptural work, finally abandoning traditional painting in a bold step forward. We can also observe that Irwin isn't concerned with making a work that resembles a representational subject. We are confronted by a simple, pure, circular form that seems to blend in and out of it's surroundings. Irwin is carefully applying the paint in a gradient like form around the circular shape, with the disc laying horizontally on a lazy susan. The lazy susan ensured that Irwin was applying even layers of paint in concentric circles of varying colors. He used a paint gun that sprayed the acrylic paint on in a subtle, matte texture. The band in the center appears to be darker towards the middle of the piece, with the edges blurring into the background. The piece is backlit by a strong white fluorescent background, as well as another powerful light above it. When looking at "Untitled" straight on, we are unaware that it's sculptural at first. It seems to float in an indiscernible space, receding backwards yet also hovering towards us. When viewing the piece from the side, Irwin's entire illusion explains itself: the piece is mounted on an acrylic tube, attached to the wall behind it, propelling the disc forward. The entire room acts as a backdrop for the piece in this sense: the walls are bright, blank and sterile, the focal point of the entire gallery being the piece itself. Many of the wall texts are difficult to find throughout these rooms, because they were purposely set aside from the piece, in small text on a wall opposite from it. This decision was made to avoid detracting from the work itself.

Irwin's use of the distortion of space was implemented in his next artistic decision: abandoning his studio and working with installation and site specific pieces. For our last piece, we enter what seems to be an entirely blank room. With careful looking and movement throughout the space, we are able to make out what seems to be a straight wall, with a strange sense of depth to it. From looking one way, it's perceived as flat, but approaching it straight on, it seems as if we can jump right into the space. This is a piece created specifically for the Hirshhorn Museum, titled "Square the Circle." The Hirshhorn is a circular institution, and he is simply drawing a line through it, altering our perception of the space.The piece is composed of 120 feet of white transparent fabric called "scrim". This is a lightweight, fragile material that is generally used in theatre production. It is attached to a thin wooden framework with staples, weaving in between the ceiling. Looking into the corners of the room, we can see a dizzying void of white space. We are unsure of it's dimensions, where it starts and where it ends. Irwin plays on the viewer's expectations of art, creating a highly sophisticated work that seems to be hidden within the walls of the galleries, waiting to be found with patience and time.
Alexandra Baran

Angles in Motion

Students will first observe the portrait of Martha Graham, and figure out who she is based on what it communicates about her. Then the observation of the angles in her pose will help students create a scale drawing of this piece. This activity combines thinking routines about looking at a portrait with the mathematical concepts of angles and scale.

Created for the National Portrait Gallery Learning to Look Summer Institute, 2016 #NPGteach
Rachel Slezak