About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation’s first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience. The collection captures the aspirations, character and imagination of the American people throughout three centuries. The American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal key aspects of America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. More than 7,000 artists are represented in the collection, including major masters, such as John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Helen Frankenthaler, Christo, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Lee Friedlander, Nam June Paik, Martin Puryear, and Robert Rauschenberg.
Featured Exhibition: The Art of Gaman
The Art of Gaman showcases arts and crafts made by Japanese Americans in U.S. internment camps during World War II. These objects—tools, teapots, furniture, toys and games, musical instruments, pendants and pins, purses and ornamental displays—are physical manifestations of the art of gaman, a Japanese word that means to bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience.
More information and a slideshow of objects from the exhibition.
Virtual Exhibition: Communities Overcoming Adversity through Art
This virtual exhibition highlights artworks in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum that reflect experiences of hardship. Through expression, these artworks contributed to the ability of these communities to overcome the adversity.
The selection of artworks reflects the experiences of a diverse group of American individuals and communities. Each artwork is accompanied by background information and additional resources. Click any of thumbnails below to open a PDF version which you can download and print.
Other Recommended Resources
The American Art Museum web site provides electronic resources to schools and the public through an array of interactive activities featuring rich media assets that can easily be used by anyone.
Search the archive of over 41,000 works of American Art, including more than 22,000 that have been digitized in high-resolution.
Visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum without leaving your school! Free of charge, we offer videoconference field trips for students from first grade through high school.
Find out about professional development opportunities for teachers, including summer institutes, and sign up for the teacher e-newsletter.
Listen to student podcasts about artworks in the American Art Museum’s collection.
Explore a list of educational websites, online activities, and multimedia for students.
Download classroom resources such as teacher guides, student activities, and lesson plans.
Browse a large list of thematic exhibitions of American art.
Watch videos, listen to podcasts, and enjoy other multimedia resources.
Read blog posts about American art.