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American Connections

Grades 6 through 12

Students will consider works of art as primary sources that illuminate American history and culture, looking carefully at and exploring landscapes, portraits, and scenes of everyday life. The tour includes three to four stops, during which students will actively engage with work of art through discussion, creative writing, and sketching. This tour can be tailored to connect with different periods in American history.

Looking and Learning Skills

Students will practice these looking and learning skills:

• Making and articulating careful observations;
• Formulating questions that demonstrate curiosity and engagement;
• Comparing and connecting different works of art;
• Connecting new ideas learned on the tour to prior knowledge about American history and culture;
• Interpreting works of art as primary sources about American art and society.

Logistical Information

Length: 30, 45, or 60 minutes

Examples of Works Featured on Tour

Additional Resources

Uncovering America

Art in the Classroom Poster
"The Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial," 1900, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Download poster (PDF 685KB)

Images and creative-writing prompts will encourage students to consider the perspectives of a famous regiment of African American Civil War soldiers. This poster 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).

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 an email confirmation in 10 business days.

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 is available to answer questions on Monday through Wednesday between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. (September through May). Please contact her at (202) 842-6249 [email protected].

Also see our Frequently Asked Questions about School Tours.

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