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School and Teacher Programs / Classroom Resources


Teacher Programs for 2014-2015:

The National Portrait Gallery provides professional development workshops throughout the academic year to teachers. Integrating portraiture into the classroom can provide exciting opportunities to connect students with history, biography, visual art, and many other subjects. Some workshops focus on specific exhibition themes, while others take a broader look at the museum’s collection. All workshops require preregistration and include interactive tours of a selected exhibition, hands-on components, and take-away resources that provide teachers with innovative ideas and techniques they can adapt for classroom use. All programs take place in the National Portrait Gallery’s Education Center, Room E151, in the “American Origins” exhibition on the first floor.

Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

James Baldwin“Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction” features mid-twentieth century artists who were reinventing portraiture at a moment when most agreed that figuration was dead as a progressive art form. With more than fifty paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture from approximately 1945 to 1975, “Face Value” highlights the innovations of American portraiture hiding behind the vogue for abstraction. Explore the exhibition with Wendy Wick Reaves, senior curator for prints and drawings; collaborate to develop ways of incorporating the exhibition into classroom lessons; and receive teaching resources.

Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inauguration: The Importance of Place
Workshop presented with the National Park Service

Saturday, November 1, 2014
9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Grand Reception

Make history come alive for your students! Inspired by the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural on March 4, 2015, this program will help teachers consider the importance of place in teaching history. Participants will visit both the National Portrait Gallery and the Lincoln Memorial and consider how to incorporate these special places into their Civil War curriculum.

Be the Curator: Using the Collections of the Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum
Workshop presented with the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Saturday, January 24, 2015
9:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m

SteinMuseum curators communicate ideas through exhibitions. Join educators from the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum for a daylong workshop on incorporating exhibitions into classroom teaching.

Discover how curators make their decisions—including selecting artworks on a certain theme, arranging them to tell a story, and writing labels to accompany them. Participants will then place themselves in a curatorial role and create their own exhibition, using works in both collections. Participants will also brainstorm about ways of incorporating a ŇBe the CuratorÓ activity into their classroom lessons and receive teaching resources.

Embracing the Common Core with Art
Workshop presented with the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Saturday, February 21, 2015
9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

Thomas Edison

Have you considered using art and portraiture as text in the classroom to teach the Common Core? Art museums are poised to support classroom educators as you adapt to the new integrated approach. Join museum educators from the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum to explore the connections among social studies, English language arts, and visual arts. In this workshop, participants will read objects as text-determining the main idea, identifying the purpose, and revealing the artist's point of view.

Ways to Engage: One Size Fits All?

Saturday, March 21, 2015
9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

bethuneAre you interested in new ways to engage your students? Join educators from the National Portrait Gallery as we consider three approaches to exploring portraiture—museum-focused, object/inquiry-based, and learning-theory-centered. Teachers will then discuss how to adapt these approaches for classroom instruction.

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Phone: (202) 633-8500
FAX: (202) 633-8521
Mailing Address:
Office of Education
National Portrait Gallery
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, D.C. 20013-0712



Please use the printable application for the Summer Teacher Institute, and be sure to include all required information. The application should be emailed to the address above.

 Application (pdf)



Please use the printable registration for all teacher workshops, and be sure to include all required information. The application should be emailed to the address above.

 Registration (pdf)


In addition to our scheduled professional development workshops, we are able to accommodate groups for customized workshops or in-service days. Please call or email; we will work with you to develop a program appropriate for your group.



Take a look at past issues
of this NPG newsletter for
ideas on how to integrate portraiture into the classroom.

Winter 2014
Fall 2013
Winter 2013
Fall 2012
Spring 2012
Fall 2011
Spring 2011
Fall 2010
Spring 2010
Fall 2009
Winter 2009
Fall 2008
Spring 2008
Fall 2007
Fall 2005
Spring 2005
Winter 2004-05
Fall 2004