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Educator Tools and Events (American Folk Art Museum)

found in: arts; social studies; preK-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12

The American Folk Art Museum’s Educator Tools and Events  is a collection of free units and guides with images, background information on artists to bring folk art into the classroom. More guides can be found at Resources.

Quilts ( PDF, 49.7 MB, 60 pgs.) is a K-12 unit that explores the museum’s quilt collection. Included are images, 9 lesson plans, glossary, and an annotated bibliography of print and online resources. New York State Standards in the arts; social studies; English language arts; math, science, and technology, and the New York City for teaching and Learning in the Arts are listed. In addition to the lessons, 7 possible preparatory activities are described. Lesson 1, Sarah Ann Garges Appliqué Bedcover (p.14) includes an full-color image of a quilt made in 1853 celebrating the engagement of
Sarah Ann Garges. There are separate sections for elementary and middle/high school levels that include questions for careful viewing, question for further discussion, questions for context, and suggested activities. One activity for elementary students is to use paper collage techniques to create a quilt square with elements of the classroom, school environment, or community.

In the Realms of Henry Darger  ( PDF, 3.9 MB, 56 pgs.) is a grade 9-12 unit that examines six themes in the work of a 20th-century self-taught artist. The themes are the artist and society; children and adults; forces of nature; heroes, heroines, and gender; good and evil; and fantasy and reality. Each theme has 2-3 lessons. In the unit, Forces of Nature, (p. 26) students identify Darger’s techniques for depicting weather and make connections between his weather journal and his drawings. Standards for art and language arts are listed.

NOTE: Henry Darger sometimes used provocative and disturbing imagery in his posthumously discovered 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy epic: The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, also known as In the Realms of the Unreal.


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