School and Teacher Programs / Classroom Resources
School Programs for 2012-2013:
Delve into history! This engaging and highly interactive program brings young students face to face with significant Americans. From discussing a portrait and listening to an age-appropriate biography to creating a related hands-on art activity, students gain firsthand knowledge about fascinating individuals.
Portrait Stories programs are 60 or 90 minutes long. The 60-minute Portrait Stories program is for groups of 10–30 students and includes looking at ONE portrait, reading the biography, and completing the art activity. The 90-minute extended program is for groups of 10–60 students and includes the above as well as looking at an additional FIVE portraits in the collection.
Highlights of NPG
Who invented the light bulb? Who founded the Special Olympics? Who coined the term “The Gilded Age”? Visit the National Portrait Gallery to find out. Bring your students in to learn more about those individuals who shaped America with this interactive tour.
Work with us to identify the most relevant individuals for your class.
The National Portrait Gallery is proud to hold the only national collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. The images in this exhibition lie at the very heart of the Portrait Gallery’s mission to tell the stories of those who have shaped America’s story. This program explores how presidential portraiture has changed since George Washington’s time.
Movers and Shapers: Early America to the Civil War
From the colonial era to the end of the Civil War, individuals made significant and diverse contributions to our society. This program introduces some of the politicians, reformers, inventors, authors, soldiers, and others who changed the course of American history.
The teacher may choose to have a 60-minute or a 90-minute tour.
Portraiture continues to be a thriving art form in America. This program will take a look at three of the Portrait Gallery’s exhibitions dedicated to contemporary portraiture—“Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter,” “Twentieth-Century Americans,” and “The Black List: Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.” Students will examine the art in these exhibitions and discuss the artists’ different approaches to their subject matter.
The Struggle for Justice
This program showcases major cultural and political figures—from key nineteenth-century historical figures to contemporary leaders—who struggled to achieve civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups.
Civil War Stories
Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by exploring the stories of individuals who shaped the era. Students will be introduced to a variety of key figures, including soldiers, politicians, abolitionists, nurses, and inventors.
Modern American Writers
“America is a poem in our eyes” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. This program explores the special exhibition “Poetic Likeness: Modern American Poets” and the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection. Students will take a look at American history and culture through the lens of its modern and contemporary literary figures.
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Phone: (202) 633-8500
FAX: (202) 633-8521
Office of Education
National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C. 20013-0712
Please use the printable registration and chaperone information sheet for all school programs. Be sure to include all required information The application should be emailed to the address above.
Registration guide (pdf)
Is your class studying a particular era or individual that you don't see offered? If yes, please call or email; we will work with you to develop a program appropriate to your teaching objectives.
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Take a look at past issues
of this NPG newsletter for
ideas on how to integrate portraiture into the classroom.