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Education Office

Painting by Jacob Lawerence

American art is our foundation and inspiration.

The purpose of the Education Office of the Smithsonian American Art Museum is to excite, challenge, and delight all learners. We strive to provide substantive opportunities and resources to build bridges between our local and distant learners and our collections. We endeavor to introduce American history—our ingenuity, ideals, creativity, and diversity—as revealed in American art. We seek to foster critical thinking skills, to heighten awareness of individual strengths and differences, and to create an environment in which learning and all learners can flourish.

The Education Office:

  • Pursues excellence in our programs and publications
  • Excites curiosity in our audiences—including local and distant, formal and informal learners
  • Challenges staff, docents, and learners to consider American art from many perspectives
  • Cultivates an engaged, diverse and responsive audience

Art is a special record of experience that shapes understanding and offers new insights. The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection spans more than three centuries and tells stories of the United States and its people.

To learn more about our programs, to schedule a visit, and to contact us, please email us at

Pictured: Jacob Lawrence, "Men exist for the sake of one another. Teach them then or bear with them."—Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations, VIII:59. From the series "Great Ideas of Western Man," 1958, oil, 20 3/4 x 16 3/4 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Container Corporation of America