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Integrating portraiture into the classroom provides exciting opportunities to connect students with history, biography, and visual art. The portraits found in "One Life: The Mask of Lincoln" have useful classroom application as your students study Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.  Below are five lesson plans that can be used in conjunction with this online exhibition. All lessons are designed for grades 4 thru 12 in United States history classes.

Smithsonian Education held a live online conference about Abraham Lincoln, on February 4 and 5, 2009—you can view the archived recordings here. And see their website for additional lesson plans. In addition, the National Portrait Gallery partnered with Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) to produce a portfolio version of the exhibition, available here.




Abraham LincolnLincoln and Photography: A Closer Look
Target Grade Level:  412 in United States history classes.

  • Download Lesson (pdf)
  • Additional materials:
  • Abraham Lincoln by Mathew Brady
  • Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Gardner



  • Lincoln in RichmondLincoln in Richmond
    Target Grade Level:  412 in United States history classes.

  • Download Lesson (pdf)
  • Additional materials:
  • Lincoln in Richmond by Lambert Hollis




  • Lincoln by Leonard VolkThe Life Masks of Lincoln
    Target Grade Level:  412 in United States history classes.

  • Download Lesson (pdf)
  • Additional materials:
  • Abraham Lincoln by Leonard Volk
  • Abraham Lincoln by Clark Mills



  • First Reading of the Emancipation ProclamationFirst Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation
    Target Grade Level:  412 in United States history classes.

  • Download Lesson (pdf)
  • Additional materials:
  • First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Alexander Hay Ritchie


  • Whitman and LincolnLincoln and Whitman
    Target Grade Level:  412 in United States history classes.

  • Download Lesson (pdf)
  • This lesson was created in collaboration with The Choral Arts Society of Washington