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Classroom Activities

National History Day 2007–2008
Finding Information on Our Site

Painting by John Mix Stanley

Are you looking for text as well as images? Follow the instructions under "Searching the Site" to find Web pages related to your topic. If you have time to browse, see "Exploring the Site."

Searching the Smithsonian American Art Museum Web Site

Type a search term in the "Search the Site" box at the top of any Web page and click on the arrow or hit "Enter." The returns will be sorted into groups so you can easily find the kinds of pages most useful to you. For example, if you search on "civil war," you will get a list of pages found—including 22 pages in Art Information Resources, 94 in Collections and Exhibitions, and 26 artworks from our collection. Click on these links to find text or more images that relate to your historical topic.

Exploring the Site

Online Exhibitions


The Smithsonian American Art Museum Web site has thirty-three virtual exhibitions. In addition to information about artists and artworks, these exhibitions often provide historical context. For example, the "Impact" section of Posters American Style explores U.S. military involvement in Vietnam and civil rights movements in the 1960s.


Director's Choice


Smithsonian American Art Museum Director Elizabeth Broun shares her thoughts about thirteen personal favorites from the museum's collection. She reveals how artists use their tools to convey meaning. Broun often provides insight into the historical circumstances of the time.

One of these, Interior with Portraits by Thomas LeClear, is featured in the magazine Smithsonian in Your Classroom. In Every Picture has a Story, a two part lesson produced by the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, students make observations and inferences about pictures and use their predicting skills to try to determine the chronological order of the pictures.


Classroom Resources


Online resources such as Pueblo Indian Watercolors and The Art and Life of William H. Johnson explore the meaning of artworks within their cultural context.


Campfire Stories with George Catlin: An Encounter of Two Cultures


Learn about Native American individuals, customs, and landscapes using Catlin's art and writings as departure points. This Web site presents and interprets hundreds of Catlin's artworks as well as primary source documents-his handwritten sketchbook and his 1841 publication Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North American Indians.



Pictured: John Mix Stanley, 1869, The Trial of Red Jacket, oil, 23 1/2 x 36 1/8 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of George M. Stanley (grandson of the artist) and family and museum purchase, 1990.34