Seeing America — all works

Seeing America was created by Smarthistory with 17 leading museum collections and examines the long history of the United States, from before European settlers to the modern era.

Vertis Hayes, <em>The Lynchers</em>
Vertis Hayes, The Lynchers

A horrifying painting of racial violence that can help us see where we are and where we need to be in terms of tolerance and empathy

Public art, politics, and the banishing of Civic Virtue
Public art, politics, and the banishing of Civic Virtue

How a statue representing well-functioning government ended up in a cemetery

Photographing the Battle of Gettysburg: Timothy O’Sullivan’s <em>A Harvest of Death</em>
Photographing the Battle of Gettysburg: Timothy O’Sullivan’s A Harvest of Death

One of the most famous landscape photographs showing the horrible aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Nativism and the Know-Nothing Party: American Art in Context
Nativism and the Know-Nothing Party: American Art in Context

The Know-Nothings: a short-lived party with long-term influence.

Soaring upward, Louis Sullivan and the invention of the skyscraper
Soaring upward, Louis Sullivan and the invention of the skyscraper

A miracle on Bleecker Street, ornament, invention, and one of the great early skyscrapers

The Missouri Compromise and the dangerous precedent of appeasement: American Art in Context
The Missouri Compromise and the dangerous precedent of appeasement: American Art in Context

Historians celebrated these compromises as valiant efforts to save the union, but recently historians have questioned whether they should instead be seen as appeasements of slaveholders.

John Brown’s “tragic prelude” to the U.S. Civil War
John Brown’s “tragic prelude” to the U.S. Civil War

Martyr. Murderer. Prophet. Madman. All of these words have been used to describe John Brown, the fiery abolitionist.

The Mexican-American War
The Mexican-American War

There is no memorial to the Mexican-American War in Washington, D.C.—a war in which more than 15,000 American soldiers lost their lives.

Finding meaning in abstraction
Finding meaning in abstraction

Does abstract art mean something? How can a viewer approach such a work of art?

Thinking about cultures
Thinking about cultures

This jug is one of the earliest known alkaline-glazed stoneware face vessels made by enslaved people or their descendants in the Edgefield District of South Carolina.

Revisiting a frozen sea
Revisiting a frozen sea

A Hudson River School artist looks north

An American Story
An American Story

The Wyeths have a long history of painting the American story

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.