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Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950
Grades 6 through 12

Requests for winter/spring tours (January 7 – May 31, 2019) will be accepted from December 3, 2018 – May 3, 2019.

How did Gordon Parks, a pioneering African American photographer, use his works of art to represent social injustice in mid-20th-century America? Students will explore how Parks addressed racism, poverty, and economic inequality in his photographs. In the galleries, students will engage in discussion, small group work, and a writing activity inspired by Parks’s powerful images. This tour will be offered from November 26 – December 7, 2018 and January 7 – February 15, 2019.

Looking and Learning Skills

During four tour stops in the galleries, students engage in activities—such as writing exercises and small group work—that foster conversations about works of art.

On this tour, students will practice the following skills:
• using works of art as primary source materials on American history.
• making and articulating careful observations.
• formulating questions that demonstrate curiosity and engagement.
• comparing and connecting different works of art.
• linking new ideas learned from the tour to prior knowledge and experience.

Logistical Information

Group Size: Up to 60 students
Length: 75 minutes; only offered at 10:30 a.m.
Meeting Location: West Building Rotunda

Gordon Parks, Trapped in abandoned building by a rival gang on street, Red Jackson ponders his next move, 1948

Gordon Parks, Trapped in abandoned building by a rival gang on street, Red Jackson ponders his next move, 1948, gelatin silver print, Corcoran Collection (The Gordon Parks Collection), 2015.19.4605

Tour Request Form

Important Information

Tours must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance. Groups must contain at least 15 students.

Once your tour has been scheduled, you will receive a confirmation letter via mail in 10 business days (14 days for Spanish-language tours).

Pre-Visit Information

Watch a video (grades 1-4) or download a presentation (grades 4-12) (PPT, 4MB) to show your students what to expect on their tour. Please review museum policies, location, parking, accessibility, security, lunch options, and other important visitor information.


Our tour scheduler, Jennifer Cross, is available to answer questions Monday through Wednesday (September through May). Please contact her at (202) 842-6249 or [email protected].

Also see our Frequently Asked Questions about School Tours.


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