Teacher Guides and Resources

Discover how to integrate American art into your classroom

Teacher Guides

Museum educator speaking to students

Teacher Guides are listed with corresponding standards and grade levels; most are in PDF format. Student worksheets and other printable resources are also available. Be sure to check back periodically or sign up for our Teacher Resources e-mail list (select "Teacher Resources" checkbox).

These features contain interactive or media-rich content. In addition, we'd encourage you to explore our Current ExhibitionsPast Exhibitions, and Videos for primary source content such as artist interviews, that may be relevant or useful to you, whatever subject you teach. For additional Smithsonian resources, see the Smithsonian Learning Lab.

The American Experience in the Classroom

Using art to teach key moments in our nation’s history, from the emergence of our nation to contemporary life.

John Singleton Copley, Mrs. George Watson, 1765, oil on canvas

Investigate paired works of art that bring to life key moments in our nation's history. Explore the thematic threads that connect artworks across historical eras.

Primary Subject and Grade: US History 5-12 Primary Subjects and Grades: US History 5-12, Language Arts 5-12, Visual Arts 9-12, Civics 9-12
Components: Contextual Essays, Primary Sources, Literary Connections, Observation and Interpretation Activity, Media, Interactive Timeline, Glossary, Curriculum Connections, Core Concepts
Standards: U.S. History Content Standards, Common Core Standards – English Language Arts, Historical Thinking Standards

Oh Freedom!

African American Civil Rights In American Art

James VanDerZee, Evening Attire, 1922, gelatin silver print

Drawing connections among art, history, and social change, Oh Freedom! provides educators with tools to help students re-imagine and re-interpret the long struggle for civil rights, justice, and equality in fresh ways.

Primary Subject and Grade: US History 5-12
Secondary Subject and Grade: Civics 9-12, Language Arts 5-12, Visual Arts K-12
Components: Images, Background Contextual Information, Artist Bios, Audio/Video, Interactive Timeline, Lesson Plans, Glossary, Bibliographies
Standards: U.S. History, Civics, Language Arts, Visual Arts

Meet the Artist: Video Series