Find a Work of Art That…

Students will think about an artwork in relation to their own life. Students receive a prompt to help them find a work of art to connect with, and then share together why that work of art spoke to them. Print out the below prompts on slips of paper: Find a work of art that has… Read on

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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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Become Inspired

Using The Woodgatherer by Jules Bastien-Lepage, challenge students to create their own descriptive poem inspired by the painting. Have students: Start by listing colors the artist used in the painting. How would you describe these colors? Write descriptive names for the colors. For example, if one of the colors is green, is it forest green,… Read on

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Character Reference

Traditional Portraits Some of Thomas Sully’s earliest recorded portraits are his now-lost images of members of the Park Theatre in New York in various roles. When Sully had returned in 1810 to Philadelphia from a nine-month trip to England, he announced his artistic ambitions through a series of extraordinary theatrical portraits, arranged by patrons and… Read on

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Quotables: Respond and React

After viewing the exhibition with your students, use the quotes below by artists represented in 30 Americans as primary sources for a write-around activity. A write-around is a written discussion between four students. Divide your students into groups of four, and project one of the quotes and a work of art by the artist in… Read on

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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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In-depth Discussion: Joshua Reynolds

Unlike Thomas Gainsborough, who loved current affairs and fashions, Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) was interested in using the past to elevate contemporary portraiture. (In fact, Reynolds and Gainsborough were rivals.) Back then, the “highest” or most worthy types of painting were history or mythology paintings—those that told a legendary story, looked back to ancient Greek and… Read on

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Talk to Me

If works of art could talk, what would they say? Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: Treasures from Kenwood House, London features many portraits—all, of course, with their own personality. As your students walk through the exhibition, have them choose two works of art and figure out what they would say to each other. Their works of… Read on

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Act It Out

Have students choose two characters (or even objects) in a work of art and give them a voice. They should decide on personalities and write a dialogue between the two. You could also do this in the Museum galleries with multiple works of art—what might they say to each other? This is a great opportunity… Read on

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