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American Art

Grades 4 through 12

How does art send messages about a nation and its identity? During this field trip, students explore the historical and cultural connections among selected works of American art.

Looking and Learning Skills

During four or five field trip stops in the galleries, students engage in activities—such as looking exercises, and working in small groups—that foster conversations about works of art. On this field trip, students will practice the following skills:
• Using works of art as primary sources on American art and society.
• Making and articulating careful observations.
• Formulating questions that demonstrate curiosity and engagement.
• Comparing and connecting different works of art.
• Connecting new ideas learned from the field trip to prior knowledge and experience.

Examples of Works Featured on this Field Trip

Logistical Information

Group Size: Up to 90 students (12:30 p.m. field trip); up to 60 students (2:15 p.m. field trip)
Length: 75 minutes for grades 4 through 12
Meeting Location: West Building Rotunda

Additional Gallery Resources

Art in the Classroom Poster

The Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial, 1900 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Download poster (PDF 685KB)

The poster offers information and activities to encourage students to consider the perspectives of a famous regiment of African American Civil War soldiers through careful looking at art images and use of creative-writing prompts. It explores the artistic challenges of creating a meaningful memorial and tasks students with conceptualizing their own memorials.

Learn more about how the poster links to Common Core State Standards (PDF 71KB).