Teaching the Art of the American West

These educational on line study units are written for middle school students and teachers as a way for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to deliver curricular materials to classrooms for those schools unable to complete a field trip to the Museum.
  Walter Ufer: Rise, Fall, Resurrection
February 7 - May 11, 2014

Organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and guest curator Dean Porter, this is the most significant exhibition of work by Taos Society artist Walter Ufer (1876-1936) ever presented. Here you can experience an in-depth look at an artist whose fall from fame long overshadowed his remarkable achievements as painter and humanitarian during a short career.

This Activity Worksheet is suitable for middle school grade levels and older, and is intended to encourage discussions and to provide a deeper look into Walter Ufer's art. Print and bring it with you to tour the exhibit. Copies also will be available at the exhibit entrance."

  Allan Houser and His Students
On exhibit August 30, 2013 - May 11, 2014


In the exhibit, "Allan Houser and His Students," The National Cowboy & Western Museum examines Houser as artist, teacher and mentor. He has been referred to as the "Grandfather of Contemporary Native American sculpture." He has-without question-had the most influence in establishing the canons of Native sculpture. Houser passed on his unique talents, vision and passion for pushing the boundaries of American Indian art to countless students. Use this Activity Guide to learn more.
Emigrants Crossing the Plains

Emigrants Crossing the Plains carries out Bierstadt's tradition of oversized painting, reflecting the grandiose size and spectacle of the American West.
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End of the Trail

Focusing on the life and works of award winning western artist James Earle Fraser and his sculpture, The End of the Trail.
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Previous Exhibit Education Guides

National Geographic: Greatest Photographs of the American West
On exhibit October 27, 2012 - January 06, 2013

The American West has been photographed countless times. The subject has continued to fascinate people and has defines a national sense of identity. Curriculum guides for middle and high school students in the areas of geography, history, science, language arts and arts will aid educators in presenting the material to students. Learn about different themes of the exhibit and topics that relate to the West.

Pueblo to Pueblo: the Legacy of Southwest Indian Pottery
On exhibit January 28, 2012 - April 8, 2012

The Pre- and Post-Visit Lesson Plan is designed as introductory learning activities for teachers interested in taking their students to see Pueblo to Pueblo: the Legacy of Southwest Indian Pottery. These lesson plans can be adapted to many age groups, but they are primarily designed for middle school and high school groups. For use alongside the lesson plans is a Pueblo to Pueblo PowerPoint.
Also available is an Activity Guide suitable for ages 8+.
Pre- and Post-Visit Lesson Plan
Pueblo to Pueblo PowerPoint for use with the Lesson Plan
Activity Guide
Family Gallery Guide

Allen True's West Allen True's West
On exhibit February 4, 2011 - May 15, 2011

Allen True is regarded as Colorado’s premier native-born artist of the early 20th century. He was noted for having three distinct phases in his long and distinguished artistic career: first as an illustrator, then as an easel painter, and finally as a muralist. Use the Curriculum Guide to learn more.

To Picture the Words To Picture the Words: Illustrators of the American West
On exhibit January 21, 2011 - May 15, 2011

This exhibit highlights the Museum's rich collections of original and published works by Western illustrators. Several of the books highlighted in the exhibit can be found in your local library, book store or online. The youth oriented stories included illustrations by renowned western artists in their original printing. The reading list provides boys and girls an opportunity to explore the wild West through the eyes of young adventurers.

American Indian Printmakers American Indian Printmakers
On exhibit October 1, 2010 - May 8, 2011

Printmaking underwent drastic changes in the 20th century. Reflecting the artists’ connections with the contemporary art scene between the 1930s and the 1990s, and their Native American heritage, these prints demonstrate diverse experiences in a wide variety of styles and subjects. Use this Curriculum Guide to delve deeper into the art of printmaking.

The Guitar:Art, Artist and Artisans

The guitar is the world's most popular instrument. From its historical roots in Europe, the instrument became popular throughout the American West, evolving into an icon of cowboy music. Often a stunning visual art from, the guitar is the star of this exhibit. Use this Curriculum Guide to take a closer look at the Gibson "Tribute to the 20th Century" Guitar. The artwork and imagery used spans 100 years of history.

The Power of Music: Photographic Portraits of Americans and their Musical Instruments, 1860-1915

This exhibition provides a rare insight into the prevalence of performed music among 19th century Americans. With the birth of photography, many musicians were able to pose with their favorite instruments to show their pride and love of music. This Resource Guide is provided by the exhibit's creator, Smith Kramer.

"Arte en la Charrería: The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture"

The very essence of the Mexican experience is exemplified by the culture of the charro, or Mexican cowboy. It is a rich legacy of tradition and valor, of honor and custom, of war and peace.
Educational Guide
Exhibit Images

Craft in America--Expanding Traditions

The mission of Craft in America is to document and advance original handcrafted work through programs in all media. Companion Educator Guides written for teachers support each of the three episodes-Memory, Landscape and Community. Content can be modified for students of all ages and different educational settings. The guides can be used in any order or stand alone and used independent of the others.
PDF Icon Community Guide PDF Icon Landscape Guide PDF Icon Memory Guide