Seeing America

Seeing America was created by Smarthistory with 16 leading museums and examines the long history of the United States, from before European settlers to the modern era.

All teaching guides

Guides to help your students explore works of art as primary documents (more coming soon).

All videos + essays

Florine Stettheimer, <em>Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz</em>
Florine Stettheimer, Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz

This portrait gives us a glimpse into the creative circle of Alfred Stieglitz in 1920s New York, with references to Georgia O'Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Henry McBride, and others.

The Chief Johnson Totem Pole
The Chief Johnson Totem Pole

Learn about the story of Fog Woman and Raven and the generations of this totem pole from the Tlingit

Henry Ossawa Tanner, <em>The Good Shepherd</em>
Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Good Shepherd

Painted after the end of World War I and amid pressure to "represent his race" as a Black man, Tanner brings biblical scenes into the modern world

Asher B. Durand, <em>Kindred Spirits</em>
Asher B. Durand, Kindred Spirits

One of the most recognized paintings in American history, this painting is an ode to friendship and nature

Edmonia Lewis, <em>The Old Arrow Maker</em>
Edmonia Lewis, The Old Arrow Maker

Edmonia Lewis, an artist of Black and Indigenous heritage, uses a neoclassical style to depict Indigenous subjects from a popular novel around the time of the U.S. Civil War

John Wesley Jarvis, <em>Black Hawk and His Son Whirling Thunder</em>
John Wesley Jarvis, Black Hawk and His Son Whirling Thunder

These Indigenous men sat for this portrait during a forced tour of U.S. eastern cities after they were incarcerated as political prisoners

Rosa Rolanda, <em>Self-Portrait</em>
Rosa Rolanda, Self-Portrait

Rolanda, a close friend of Frida Kahlo, explores her Mexican identity in the 1930s with surrealism and a volcano

Georgia O’Keeffe, <em>Radiator Building—Night, New York</em>
Georgia O’Keeffe, Radiator Building—Night, New York

O'Keeffe takes on the New York skyline in the 1920s

Amy Sherald, <em>Precious Jewels by the Sea</em>
Amy Sherald, Precious Jewels by the Sea

This monumental painting of Black people at the beach speaks to a dearth of Black figures in the art history canon

Teaching guide<br>The City Beautiful Movement
Teaching guide
The City Beautiful Movement

In the Progressive Era of the early 20th century, Progressives responded to political corruption, economic instability, and social concerns by calling for greater government action and other political and social measures.
APUSH: KC - 7.1.II

Teaching guide<br>Spiral: Black Art and the Civil Rights Movement
Teaching guide
Spiral: Black Art and the Civil Rights Movement

During and after World War II, civil rights activists and leaders, most notably Martin Luther King Jr., combated racial discrimination utilizing a vareity of strategies, including legal challenges, direct action, and nonviolent protest tactics.
APUSH KC - 8.2.1.A

Marilyn Spoon, <em>Bandolier Bag</em>
Marilyn Spoon, Bandolier Bag

This bandolier bag is the first of its kind from the Sac and Fox tribe in more than 20 years

Explore the diverse history of the United States through its art. Seeing America is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.