Smithsonian National Museum Of The American Indians Teachers Sheet


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Smithsonian National Museum Of The American Indians Teachers Sheet

  1. 1. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN SMITHSONIAN Washington, DC and New York, NY PRE-VIEWING The teacher asks the whole class the following questions: 1. What do you take into consideration when you buy domestic objects? (Price? Beauty? Size? Origin? Usefulness? Material? Texture?) 2. Do you prefer to buy modern objects or antiques to decorate your house? Every culture has its own way of looking at the world and representing it. The artists express themselves taking the surrounding world into consideration. The National Museum of the American Indian is privileged to have an extraordinary collection based on Charles and Valerie Diker’s love of beautiful objects. WHILE-VIEWING The teacher selects some museum pictures of domestic Indian items, household objects for everyday use, or shows available realia. The teacher has whole- class discussion by asking the questions below: 1. What were they used for? 2. What were they made of? 3. How were they made? 4. How were made personal, identifiable to the person who produced them? 5. How much labor went into their production? 6. When they became commercially negotiable, how was their value determined? After students talk about the questions above, the teacher displays pictures or realia of modern versions of the objects mentioned. The students work in pairs and answer the questions below in a moving-paper activity. Today 1. Are the majority of these items important personally or functionally? 2. What determines their commercial value? 3. What determines their commercial value? 4. What determines our willingness to pay for, or our choices between one type or another of a similar object? 5. What is the estimated life expectancy of most of these items?
  2. 2. 6. How do any of these items earn regard as being “traditional” or “antique”? 7. What is our “relationship” to most of these items? 8. What inspires a deeper relationship in some cases? 9. How much of our individuality is reflected in our choice and treatment of these objects? 10. How does the existence of these objects affect the ecological balance in the so-called “developed” societies? 11. How “developed” is the result of mass-produced factory-made objects of today? AFTER-VIEWING 1. Each student chooses any object (picture or realia) from the table to describe as his/her favorite possession. 2. The student defends his/her relationship to it from the angle of any of the considerations above and makes a list of these considerations. 3. Each student writes a paragraph describing the object and its importance to him/her. 4. Finally, students work in groups to share their writings with peers. Visit the National Museum of the American Indian at: Visit the “First American Art – The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art, an online exhibition, at: