Calling All Teachers: Create an Identity-Themed Lesson

The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access invite K-12 teachers to create lessons exploring identity. The mission of the Portrait Gallery, since our opening in 1968, is to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development and culture. As we get ready to celebrate our 50th anniversary, we thought what better way to celebrate than to invite teachers to submit lessons exploring identity, whether that is personal identity, community identity, national identity, etc.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab is the digital platform by which teachers will submit their lesson, by creating a Learning Lab collection.

The Portrait Gallery’s Teacher Advisory Board will review the lessons, and will choose a select few to be highlighted on the Portrait Gallery’s web site, on our newly expanded Classroom Resources page and a featured blog post during the our 50th anniversary year.  In addition, the teachers with lessons selected will receive a package of Portrait Gallery resources for your classroom and a certificate of lesson publication.

Teachers submitting lessons must use the National Portrait Gallery’s collection as the foundation for this object-based lesson and the Learning Lab as the digital platform.

Guidelines for Lesson:

  • At least one portrait in the Portrait Gallery’s collection must serve as the foundation for the lesson
  • Student-centered objectives
  • Grade level
  • Relevant subject areas (lesson must be interdisciplinary in nature)
  • Procedure

Guidelines for Learning Lab Submission:

  • “About Collection” section must be fully completed (title, description, subjects, age levels, educational features, standards)
  • Include portrait(s) resources
  • Include Standalone Tool which includes lesson procedure
  • Include Quiz Questions, Image Hotspots and/or Sorting Activity in lesson
  • Tag your collection in the Learning Lab with #NPGteach.

The deadline for submitting lessons is COB, Friday, March 16th. Questions regarding this call for lessons should be directed to

Submit Your Identity-Themed Lesson

1 Start 2 Complete
First and last name.
So we can contact you.

For more about Learning Lab, download a tutorial (PDF). See lesson plans that follow the above guidelines:


The National Portrait Gallery will highlight the lessons on the Classroom Resources page of its web site, until the next call for lessons is announced. Information collected by the Smithsonian is used in accordance with the Smithsonian Institution's Privacy Statement.  For more information about the terms of use, visit the Smithsonian Institution's Terms of Use page.