Walk This Way

Walking sticks, or canes, are a common, recognized form. They function as physical supports, status symbols, and prestige items, often with elaborately carved narratives and personal insignia. The walking sticks in this exhibition demonstrate a wide range of designs that can be used to create a simple functional object. Each artist has conveyed his or… Read on

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Culture and Experience

Encourage students to compare the traditions of other ethnicities with their own culture and experience. What customs and rituals are similar, and which are different? Do any of the traditions overlap with their own? Teach respect for different ideas and people. Talk about the elements that are common to everyone. For example, people from different… Read on

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Practice Looking

Visit the Collections page on the Museum’s website for high-resolution images. Select 2–3 portraits and use discussion questions similar to what students may encounter on a tour. Without sharing any information about the painting, give students time to look closely at the work of art. Encourage them to explore every area of the image. After… Read on

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Strike a Pose

Have students pose like the sitter in the portrait. Ask students to consider what it feels like to pose like the sitter, wear his or her clothes, and be in the setting of the portrait. Have students write a postcard to a friend describing their portrait experience.

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Create a Classroom Magazine

This activity ties to social studies and news projects that you might be working on with your class, inspired by Color Rush: 75 Years of Color Photography in America. A major part of the exhibition focuses on magazines. Artists such as Nickolas Muray, Anton Bruehl, and Paul Outerbridge, Jr., used color to entice people to… Read on

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Portraits Today and Yesterday

The day before you do this activity, ask your students to bring in family portraits/photographs or portraits of them and/or their siblings. These could also be their school photos. In this activity, your students will think about the purpose(s) of portraits today, and then compare it to the role of portraits in the eighteenth century.… Read on

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In-depth Discussion: J. M. W. Turner

J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) is best known for his landscapes, evocative and powerful, of Europe on the brink of the industrial revolution. A Coast Scene with Fishermen Hauling a Boat Ashore (“The Iveagh Sea-Piece”) (ca. 1803–04) is an example of one of Turner’s favorite subjects, the sea—and how man fits within it. The sky… Read on

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In-depth Discussion: Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) was a painter who loved landscapes, but who made his money through portraiture. Mary, Countess Howe (ca. 1764) is commonly heralded as one of the great masterpieces of British painting. Gainsborough was paid to paint her portrait, along with that of her husband, Richard Howe, when he lived in Bath in the… Read on

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In-depth Discussion: Ferdinand Bol

Ferdinand Bol (1616–1680) was a student of Rembrandt—as you can probably tell from looking at this painting. In the 1600s (as well as before and after), master artists had many apprentice, or assistant, artists working with them. These younger artists would learn techniques from the master, and then go on to start their own careers—a… Read on

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The Similarities and Differences That Unite Us

Schedule time after the Museum tour for students to self-guide so that they can take pictures of works of art in the Museum galleries. Have students experiment with one of two Web 2.0 tools, Animoto or Glogster, to compare two works of art that they saw. Students should use their knowledge of the tool to… Read on

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