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National Portrait Gallery

Posted by on February 22, 2012

Field Trip: National Portrait Gallery
Location: 800 F Street NW
Washington DC
Contact: 202-633-8300
Grades: K and up
Admission: Free

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About the Museum:

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

Collections on View Include:

American Origins, 1600 – 1900:
Chronologically arranged to take the visitor from the days of contact between Native Americans and European explorers through the struggles of independence to the Gilded Age, visitors can explore 17 galleries and follow a “conversation about America”. Three of the galleries will be devoted exclusively to the Civil War, examining this conflict in depth.

”Jo Davidson: Biographer in Bronze”:
Fourteen portraits in bronze and terra-cotta made by renowned American sculptor Jo Davidson between 1908 and 1946 include depictions of Gertrude Stein, Franklin D. Roosevelt, artist John Marin and Lincoln Steffens.

“Twentieth-Century Americans”:
Four newly created galleries opening onto the museum’s magnificent third-floor Great Hall will showcase the major cultural, scientific and political figures of the 20th century. From the reform movements of the first two decades to the movements for social justice and civil rights of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and from the Great Depression to the Vietnam era and beyond, visitors can explore the never-ending struggle to attain the American goal of justice for all.

“Bravo!” will showcase the composers and performers who brought the performing arts to life from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Collaborative performances such as John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn in “Rooster Cogburn” and Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland in a People’s Concert are featured in a video component of the show.

A salute to the dynamic American sports figures whose impact has extended beyond their sports and made them a part of the larger story of our nation. A lively combination of portraits, artifacts and memorabilia and video will enhance the exhibition. Video clips of the famous athletes in the exhibit are narrated by Michael Wilbon of ESPN and The Washington Post

Through the Teacher Educator’s Portal, you can find an orientation video to watch with your kids before going to the museum, as well as free lessons and materials for teaching about the US Presidents.

The National Portrait Gallery is housed in the same building as the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum.

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