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Kenneth O'Regan

American Art - 2 views

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    This is the front page of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This website is a lot more than just the site for an art museum. Inside, you can find information about current exhibits, collections, upcoming events, teacher resources, and much more. Over the next few months there are also some special events for high school teachers, including one on October 16th titled "Teaching History through Art." I think it is easy, in most high schools, to forget the importance of art in our society and how it can give a glimpse of our cultural history.
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    How might teachers use this site?
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    Art can define elements of our history. I would probably be better able to answer this question if I could attend the seminar on October 16th. Taking a look at a few of the featured exhibitions on the main page of the site, we can already make some history connections. Consider the current Norman Rockwell exhibition. Rockwell provides excellent visualizations of idealized, traditional American society in a broad period, roughly 1913 to shortly before his death in 1978. Rockwell paintings could be used in any kind of lesson plan dealing with either of the World Wars, the Boy Scouts, or the rise of middle-class America in the 1950s. Another lead exhibit on the page is titled The Pond, by an artist whose name currently escapes me. Taking a look at the photos of a pond somewhere in Maryland in the 1980s, the pictures tell a story of forgotten parts of the American wild that are surrounded by urbanization and industry.
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