Learn from Home
Explore the Smithsonian American Art Museum's many online teaching resources and learning opportunities
Request free interactive videoconferences,
dynamic real-time discussions with SAAM presenters
Find digital teacher guides and resources
Access new distance learning lessons on "Seeking Community" and "Ecosystems & Food Webs"
Explore history, civil rights, and critical thinking
through American art
Watch Re:Frame, an interdisciplinary video series
featuring experts from across the Smithsonian
Printable Art Activities (English and Spanish)
Art to Go: Creativity Packets
Self-guided looking, writing, and drawing activities engage elementary and middle school aged students in creative and critical thinking. Explore artworks using routines from Harvard's Project Zero and connect with big ideas.
- Elementary School (Spanish) [PDF]
- Elementary School (English) [PDF]
- Middle School (Spanish) [PDF]
- Middle School (English) [PDF]
Look, Talk, Play!
These activities help young learners build skills in literacy, creativity, and communication while using everyday materials and exploring interesting topics. A series of five, each activity uses objects from across the Smithsonian as a jumping-off point for learning through play as well as tips for caregivers.
Smithsonian At-Home Activity Guides
"Summer Road Trip" is a 40-page activity guide that uses the vast collections and expertise of the Smithsonian to take learners on their own summer “road trip” of discovery. Through hands-on activities, puzzles and games, students will explore topics in STEM, history, and the arts.
“Winter at Home” is a 40-page activity guide that uses the vast collections and expertise of the Smithsonian to inspire K–8 learners, allowing them to see their homes and neighborhoods in new ways during the winter months. Chock-full of activities and stories, the guide will engage young minds with robust content in STEM, history, and the arts.
Contemporary Artist Interviews
Use these videos of artists sharing insights about their work in SAAM's collection to spark discussion and inspire further inquiry. Watch thematic playlists on the following topics:
- Because of Her Story: Featured Women Artists
- Artists Respond to Pivotal Events
- Artists Showcase Community and Place
- Artists Engage with the Environment
- Artists Explore Identity and Representation
Looking at Art: Five Ways to Engage
1) Spend one minute looking closely at this artwork. Touch every part with your eyes -- from top to bottom, left to right, and all around.
2) How would you describe this artwork to someone who isn't looking at it?
3) This artwork is made up of various objects that the artist found while taking walks. Can you identify three different objects that are part of this artwork?
4) Fill in the blank:
"This artwork makes me think about_________."
5) If you could add an object to this artwork, what would you include?
Now that you've looked closely, learn more about this artwork.
SAAM on Smarthistory's "Seeing America" Project
Includes videos, teaching guides, and quizzes
- Roger Shimomura, Diary: December 12, 1941
"Superman, World War II, and Japanese-American Experience"
- Millard Sheets, Tenement Flats
"American Resilience and the Great Depression"
- Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, State Names
"What's in a Map? Reading the United 'States'"
- Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
"The Painting That Inspired a National Park"
- Emmanuel Leutze, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (mural study for the United States Capitol building)
"Envisioning Manifest Destiny during the Civil War"
Archived Webinars for Teachers
A Woman's Place Is in the Curriculum: Women's History in American Art and Portraiture
A three-part webinar series facilitated by educators from SAAM and the National Portrait Gallery.
Social Studies Online with the Smithsonian
An online exploration into key social studies topics, featuring museum resources from the Smithsonian.
Easy PZ with the Smithsonian: How to Engage Your Students with Project Zero Thinking Routines
- April 1, 2020 webinar with featured artwork Iceman Crucified #4
- March 30, 2020 webinar with featured artwork Tenement Flats
Smithsonian Estudios Sociales en Línea (en español)
Through close examination of works of American art, SAAM's acting chief curator and curator of Latinx art E. Carmen Ramos examines the questions "Whose stories do we tell and who tells them?"
Get STEAMed: Art Conservation
An exploration of the STEAM-based classroom connections of art conservation, a blend of science, art, math, and history.