We all understand how useful images can be as part of history instruction. Photographs, paintings and graphics create powerful emotions in the brains of our students and help them connect with content. The problem can sometimes be finding images related to our content.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is there to help. For several years, NEH has maintained a site called Picturing America that features 41 photos, paintings and images of art. The 41 pieces range from a portrait of Paul Revere to a photograph of the civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama.

Great art speaks powerfully, inspires fresh thinking, and connects us to our past.

Picturing America, an exciting new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, brings masterpieces of American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide. Through this innovative program, students and citizens will gain a deeper appreciation of our country’s history and character through the study and understanding of its art.

The images themselves are incredibly useful and are presented in a handy online gallery. You could use the gallery view and project the appropriate images for your instruction directly from the site. Search by artist or by theme. When you click a specific image, you also get info about the artist as well as a variety of online and print resources directly related to that image. These include lesson plans from the great EDSITEment site and supporting documents.

And while the images almost speak for themselves, the NEH people have put together a 100+ page teaching guide to help you integrate them into your instruction. You can also download a PowerPoint file that has all 41 images embedded ready for easy use.

The more images we use, the smarter our kids get. Picturing America just made that easier!

UPDATE Oct 27 — Joe Phelan from EDSITEment, host of Picturing America, let me know that there are still a few Picturing America sets available to schools. The sets are large reproductions of the images featured on the PA site.  Find out more about how to get a set by going to the EDSITEment homepage or by contacting Joe.

Joe also highlighted the EDSITEment lessons based on the PA images. He also posted links to EDSITEment social media and newsletter info. Check out the comments below for those goodies.

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