Explore resources for educators created during our Teaching with Primary Sources workshops.
Teaching with Primary Sources
The Archives of American Art’s Teaching with Primary Sources program offers workshops and professional development fellowships that foster new approaches to teaching the history of art by engaging with primary sources.
Learn about upcoming workshop opportunities and previous Teaching with Primary Sources participants.
What is a primary source?
A primary source is a first-hand account of history. The papers of artists, curators and critics, gallery records and arts organizations, among others, tell the story of the visual arts in the United States from diverse perspectives through letters, diaries, photographs, drawings and sketchbooks, sales information and gallery inventories, ephemera, and audio-visual material. Our oral history program, with more than 2,500 interviews, delves into narrators’ biographies, working methods, and remembrances of their experiences and key figures in the art world.
Why primary sources?
Primary sources offer students the opportunity to directly encounter the “raw data” of history while fostering valuable lifelong skills, including information literacy, critical thinking, close reading, active reading, reading against the grain, and creative problem solving. Working with archival evidence offers insight into the perspectives and experiences of others and deepens our understanding and appreciation of the past and its complexities.
To support teaching with primary sources, the Archives of American Art has developed a dedicated program for educators teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level. The aim is to enhance student engagement with these materials while developing essential skills and supporting educators in exploring and applying new approaches to teaching and learning.
If you are interested in using the primary sources of the Archives of American Art in your teaching, and would like help accessing our collections, please visit Research and Reference Services.
Internship, fellowship, and volunteer opportunities provide students and lifelong learners with the ability to contribute to the study and preservation of visual arts records in America.
A virtual repository of a substantial cross-section of the Archives' most significant collections.