A Head Start on Picturing America

A Head Start on Picturing America was developed to help Head Start staff and families share the world of art with children. It includes 40 images of American artwork, crafts, and architecture. The images are available on large, laminated posters. A resource guide offers tips for how to introduce the art and enhance discussions about the images. Find suggestions for books, art station activities, and ideas for families. Picturing America offers a chance to address children's school readiness, family literacy, and parent involvement goals.

  • Picturing America item

    Pottery and Baskets (c. 1100 to c. 1960)
    Years ago, American Indians used plants, bone, skin, earth, and stone to make pots, baskets, arrowheads, and other objects they needed for everyday life.

    Download
    [PDF, 405KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, 1755
    This watercolor of a 250-year-old mission is located in what is now San Antonio, Texas.

    Download
    [PDF, 287KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Paul Revere, 1768
    This portrait of Paul Revere captures an important moment in his work as a silversmith.

    Download
    [PDF, 337KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Silver of the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries
    These silver teapots by three different artists all have a different style.

    Download
    [PDF, 453KB]

  • Picturing America item

    The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, 1931
    This oil painting tells the story of Paul Revere's ride from Boston, Massachusetts, to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn people that the British invaders were headed their way.

    Download
    [PDF, 294KB]

  • Picturing America item

    George Washington (the Lansdowne Portrait), 1796
    This life-sized portrait shows George Washington as a great leader and the father of his country, the United States of America.

    Download
    [PDF, 292KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851
    People who view the painting are about the same size as the people in the painting, making the action in the picture seem very close.

    Download
    [PDF, 189KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Benjamin Franklin, 1862
    This is a larger-than-life sized sculpture of Benjamin Franklin, probably the most important person of his day, during the creation of the United States of America.

    Download
    [PDF, 195KB]

  • Picturing America item

    View from Mount Holyoke, Northhampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm - The Oxbow, 1836
    The painting has a gloomy, wild, natural side, complete with very large tree trunks, rocky cliffs, and dark storm clouds.

    Download
    [PDF, 165KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Cover illustration for the Last of the Mohicans, 1919
    This is a painting of an American Indian the way Americans thought of American Indians in the 1800s.

    Download
    [PDF, 171KB]

  • Picturing America item

    American Flamingo, 1838
    American Flamingo is one of 435 hand-colored engravings made from John James Audubon's original watercolor paintings.

    Download
    [PDF, 173KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Catlin Painting the Portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa — Mandan, 1861/1869
    The portrait is of a very important Indian chief. We know this because he is wearing horns on his headdress, decorated buffalo skin robes, and is holding a spear.

    Download
    [PDF, 175KB]

  • Picturing America item

    State Capitol, Columbus, Ohio, 1838-1861
    The photograph of Ohio's state capitol imitates Greek architecture. It was designed mostly by an artist named Thomas Cole.

    Download
    [PDF, 170KB]

  • Picturing America item

    The County Election, 1852
    The artist himself appears in this painting in a stovepipe hat, sitting on the courthouse steps.

    Download
    [PDF, 172KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, 1865
    At a time when few Americans other than American Indians had gone west of the Mississippi River, this painting gave people a picture of one of the natural wonders on the other side of the country.

    Download
    [PDF, 173KB]

  • Picturing America item

    “Sans Arc Lakota” Ledger Book, 1880-1881
    In this drawing, the artist tried to record the customs and ceremonies of the Lakota Indian tribe.

    Download
    [PDF, 175KB]

  • Picturing America item

    The Veteran in a New Field, 1865
    The soldier in the painting has returned home and is harvesting grain in the midday sun.

    Download
    [PDF, 168KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Abraham Lincoln, February 5, 1865
    This work of art is a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln taken on Feb. 5, 1865.

    Download
    [PDF, 172KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial, 1884-1897
    This memorial honors the bravery of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the first unit of African Americans who fought in the Civil War.

    Download
    [PDF, 198KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Quilts of the 19th and 20th centuries
    The quilts were designed and sewn by different women at different times. Quilting involves sewing together different pieces of material to make blankets or clothing.

    Download
    [PDF, 420KB]

  • Picturing America item

    John Biglin in a Single Scull, c. 1873
    This watercolor painting shows a man, John Biglin, rowing by himself in a scull, a light, narrow racing boat, in calm water.

    Download
    [PDF, 231KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, 1876-1877
    The Peacock Room is the dining room of a rich British ship owner named Fredrick Richards Leyland.

    Download
    [PDF, 248KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Portrait of a Boy, 1890
    This portrait was done for the boy's father, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a sculptor and friend of the artist, John Singer Sargent, in exchange for a bronze sculpture of Sargent's sister. The boy is the main focus of the picture.

    Download
    [PDF, 232KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Allies Day, May 1917, 1917
    The flags are from countries that became partners during World War I. The flags show that these nations were friends and fought together as allies for democracy.

    Download
    [PDF, 246KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Brooklyn Bridge, New York, 1929
    In this black-and-white photograph, the very large piers and arches of the Brooklyn Bridge appear through a spider web of steel cables.

    Download
    [PDF, 240KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Autumn Landscape, 1923-1924
    A rich businessman hired the artist Louis Comfort Tiffany to make this stained glass window for his home in Boson, Massachusetts. Stained glass windows are a form of art in which an artist arranges pieces of glass in different sizes and colors to create a picture.

    Download
    [PDF, 356KB]

  • Picturing America item

    The Boating Party, 1893/1894
    The Boating Party, which pictures a woman, baby, and man in a sailboat, was done in the late 1880s.

    Download
    [PDF, 183KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Brooklyn Bridge, c. 1919-1920
    Joseph Stella painted this picture of the Brooklyn Bridge on canvas with oil paints. He created the painting in a special style called Futurism, which was a new, more modern way of thinking about art that began in Italy.

    Download
    [PDF, 256KB]

  • Picturing America item

    American Landscape, 1930
    A man crossing the railroad tracks is the only person visible in the painting. The man looks like he is frozen in time, which makes this painting resemble a photograph.

    Download
    [PDF, 174KB]

  • Picturing America item

    The Chrysler Building, 1926-1930
    At 77 stories high, this skyscraper was the tallest building in the world. The building gets smaller at the top to allow sunlight to reach the streets.

    Download
    [PDF, 191KB]

  • Picturing America item

    House by the Railroad, 1925
    Edward Hopper used oil-based paint on canvas to create this picture of an old, gray, French-style house in 1925. The big house is Victorian-style.

    Download
    [PDF, 182KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Fallingwater, 1935-1939
    Frank Lloyd Wright designed the house to be suspended above the waterfall and nestled into the side of a mountain so that it would look like part of nature itself.

    Download
    [PDF, 187KB]

  • Picturing America item

    The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 57, 1940-1941
    The artist, Jacob Lawrence, used his own mother as a model for the woman in the painting doing laundry.

    Download
    [PDF, 189KB]

  • Picturing America item

    The Dove, 1964
    The Dove is a collage made of cut-up pictures, newspaper and magazine clippings, and colored paper glued to cardboard. Collage is another medium artists can use to create their art.

    Download
    [PDF, 267KB]

  • Picturing America item

    The Sources of Country Music, 1975
    This mural was painted by Thomas Hart Benton to capture an image of American folk music that was disappearing.

    Download
    [PDF, 845KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Migrant Mother and Children, 1936
    The picture captures how the mother feels by the look on her face, which shows that she is tired and maybe hungry and worried too. Her face also shows that she is strong and determined as she supports herself and her children on the bench.

    Download
    [PDF, 178KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Freedom of Speech, The Saturday Evening Post 1943
    This illustration by Norman Rockwell, a famous American illustrator, was created for a popular magazine of the mid 1900's.

    Download
    [PDF, 188KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965
    This photograph taken by the photographer James Karales documents an important civil rights march.

    Download
    [PDF, 180KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Cityscape l, 1963
    This painting is a landscape influenced by the northern part of California. It is divided into colorful rectangles and stripes.

    Download
    [PDF, 174KB]

  • Picturing America item

    Ladder for Booker T. Washington, 1996
    This work of art is a wood sculpture of a ladder. The ladder looks very different from a regular ladder.

    Download
    [PDF, 172KB]

A Head Start on Picturing America can be a practical tool to enrich your preschool curriculum. Learn to use the art in a way that engages children and adds excitement to their learning. Check out the tips for conversations and teaching activities for each picture in the resource guide. Hang one of the pictures in the classroom and encourage children to share their ideas and feelings about the art. Introduce new vocabulary. Ask questions to foster children's thinking and make connections to their own experiences. You also can select images related to a particular theme the class is exploring or to expand on a topic in which children have expressed an interest.

Ignite the Spark: Facilitator's Toolkits

Explore the resources in the Facilitator's Toolkit to support staff and enhance their skills when working with parents and families.

Last Reviewed: August 2010

Last Updated: January 23, 2015