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Lesson Plan Table of Contents

Connecting with the Past: Making a Memory Box

Objectives: Students will be able to:

  • Represent an event, thought, emotion, or idea in a creative visual form.
  • See the importance of connections between past and present in the life of George Catlin and its relation to their own experience through the creation of a memory box.
  • Gain insight into George Catlin's motives for creating his "Indian Gallery."

Standards: U.S. History, Visual Arts.

Skills Addressed: Intrapersonal, Linguistic, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Spatial.

Interdisciplinary Connections: Anthropology, Archaeology, English/Language Arts, History, Visual Arts.

Length: Five to seven fifty-minute class periods.

Materials: Internet access, found objects (made of paper, wood, cloth, etc), substances (such as coffee, glue, mud, paint), scissors and other tools.

Products: A personal memory box.

Content Introduction: Artists across cultures and throughout time have sought to incorporate the multifaceted connections between past and present in their artworks. In many ways, Catlin's lifelong quest and the eventual creation of his "Indian Gallery" can be seen as an attempt to connect what he felt to be the "past" of American Indian society to the "present" of nineteenth-century westward expansion by European Americans. As is evident today, Native American culture is very much alive and present in the fabric of America. Catlin, however, made it clear that he viewed his subjects as a "vanishing race" and sought to preserve their images for future generations. In this activity, students will create their own memory box, linking the past and the present, and in doing so examine Catlin's ideas and motives.

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Lesson Plan Table of Contents

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