Classroom Resources

Interested in the presidents and the role of the presidency in the United States? Want to learn more about the lives of remarkable Americans, past and present, who have contributed to the nation’s history and culture? The Portrait Gallery has a variety of resources for the classroom that have been developed to complement our exhibitions.

 

colorful landscape as learning lab homepage

Learning Lab Collections

The National Portrait Gallery is meeting teachers and students where they are! Check out more than 125 Learning Lab collections created by Portrait Gallery educators and classroom teachers. The Learning Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources, creating content with online tools, and sharing in the Smithsonian's expansive community of knowledge and learning.

>> Visit the Learning Lab

portrait of a woman in a straw hat and red dress

Teacher Playlist on YouTube

Integrating portraiture into the classroom can provide exciting opportunities to connect students with history, biography, visual art, and many other subjects. Check out the Teacher Playlist on the National Portrait Gallery’s YouTube channel for videos highlighting strategies on how to "read" artworks and ways of bringing portraiture into the classroom.

>> View the playlist on YouTube

View and print our online materials or download them as PDF files. Visit our online collections to search, browse, and augment your lesson plans.

Portrait “reading” encourages the visual analysis of a piece of art as if it were a historical document.
Do you teach about the US Presidents in your classroom? Visit the America’s Presidents online exhibition and discover the breadth of the museum’s collection of portraits of the Presidents.
Learn how to analyze a portrait by observing various elements
Through activities, games, and puzzles, this Teacher Resource Guide will introduce students to the Presidents and the role of the presidency in American history.
This guide will help you facilitate Reading Portraiture experiences and Looking Strategies with your students as you explore our collection.
This guide will help you and your students think about how we perceive and commemorate people from our history and will ask you to consider how portraiture has changed and remained the same over the past two centuries using highlights from the National Po
This guide will help you facilitate a rich gallery visit that supports English Language Arts standards of learning.
This guide will help you facilitate “Reading Portraiture” experiences with your students as you explore our American Origins and America’s Presidents exhibitions.
This guide will help you facilitate “Reading Portraiture” experiences with your students as you explore The Struggle for Justice and 20th Century Americans
This guide will help you facilitate Reading Portraiture experiences and Looking Strategies with your students as you explore our collection.
7 creative ways to vew a portrait.
This thinking routine helps students develop thoughtful interpretations by encouraging them to reason with evidence.
Use the Venn diagram to compare and contrast two different portraits.
Complete the Top Hat using two different portraits in the same gallery
Find a portrait that fascinates you, that “tickles your fancy.”
Find a portrait. If you could jump into this portrait, where would you like to be?
Learn the key terms that are used to describe a work of art in a museum
Choose an artwork and pretend to step inside it.
A fantastic routine to start with – works with any portrait!
Use the worksheet to reflect on your visit to the National Portrait Gallery
The memoir should teach the reader about the sitter’s contributions, significance, era, appearance, emotions, or actions.
Use this worksheet to think about the portraits you have seen
Find portraits that interest you in a variety time periods.
This close-looking activity allows the viewer to uncover the many layers of meaning in an artwork.
Lesson plan for grades 4–12
Students are introduced to the role of a curator in a museum..
Lesson plan for grades 4–12
How do we define community today? Each of the three painters selected for “Portraiture Now: Communities” has explored this question through a series of related portraits of friends, townspeople, or families.
Lesson plan for grades 7–12
"The Struggle for Justice” showcases major cultural and political figures—from key 19th-century historical figures to contemporary leaders—who struggled to achieve civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups.
Lesson plan for grades 4–12
Write a museum label that clearly communicates select information appropriate to a specific task.