The National Gallery of Art now provides a phenomenal lending library of art materials that any homeschooler can borrow through the mail for free, including teaching packets, DVDs, art reproductions and more. Individuals, educational institutions and other groups throughout the United States can borrow their teaching packets and DVDs for up to nine months at a time. Not only that, but you can also access dozens of lessons & activities and interactives on their website and order free posters.
The Gallery explains:
The education division at the National Gallery of Art provides more than 100 free loan teaching packets with image CDs, DVDs, and video programs to millions of viewers in thousands of communities across the country. These programs are intended to foster awareness of the visual arts and make Gallery collections accessible to a broad audience beyond the Gallery’s walls.
All of the Gallery’s teaching packets are included in their free loan program, with many available for immediate PDF download and most also available to borrow through the mail. They include a printed booklet with in-depth background information, suggestions for student activities, supplemental image CDs or slides, and often with color study prints, timelines and bibliographies.
Some examples of the diverse range of available teaching packets include:
- Italian Renaissance Learning Resources
- Art Nouveau, 1890–1914
- Edo: Art in Japan, 1615–1868
- I Am Still Learning: Late Works by Masters
- Islamic Art and Culture
- Vincent van Gogh
- Ancient Art of the American Woodland Indian
- The Easter Story in Art
- Plus many others!
As an example of the sort of materials available in each packet, here is what is included in the Picturing France loan packet:
- a 159-page booklet, with background information and a glossary of important terms and historical figures and events, as well as a bibliography and an index
- a separate 138-page classroom guide with activities, student handouts, a timeline, and resource information
- 20 color reproductions
- an image CD of all National Gallery works reproduced in this booklet, plus additional images for use in conjunction with some teaching activities or 40 slides
- a map of France.
Artists included in this packet are Eugène Boudin, Gustave Caillebotte, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courbet, Charles-François Daubigny, Edgar Degas, Narcisse Virgilio Dïaz de la Peña, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Odilon Redon, Auguste Renoir, Théodore Rousseau, Paul Sérusier, Georges Seurat, Alfred Sisley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Édouard Vuillard.
This packet is available for a 9 month loan period.
In addition, all of the following video collections are available to borrow:
- 20th-Century American Art
- 20th-Century European Art
- American Art, 1785–1926: Seven Artist Profiles
- Ancient Egyptian and Greek Art
- Art from Asia
- European Art
- Late Nineteenth-Century European Art
- Making Art
- New World Archaeology
- Programs about the National Gallery of Art
- A Place To Be: The Construction of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, 1968–1978
- All About Prints
- Arcimboldo: Nature and Fantasy
- Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929
- Edward Hopper
- El Greco, An Artist’s Odyssey
- From Impressionism To Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection
- Gauguin: Maker of Myth
- George Bellows
- Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape
- Pompeii and the Roman Villa
- Seeing Color: Object, Light, Observer
- J. M. W. Turner
Each video collection contains multiple DVDs on the topic.
The Gallery explains the lending process:
Borrowers should return the programs to the Gallery by their due date (varies from one to nine months); borrowers pay only for return postage (media mail rate). Returned programs are inspected upon receipt at the Gallery, in preparation for their shipment to other borrowers.
The gallery also provides three posters which you can download or request free through the mail. These include The Farm (La masía) by Joan Miró, Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and The Railway by Edouard Manet.
Lessons & Activities available on the site include:
- The Elements of Art (Grade Level: K–4)
- Who Am I?: Self-Portraits in Art & Writing (Grade Level: 5–8)_
- Counting on Art (Grade Level: K–8)
- New Angles on Art (Grade Level: 5–12)
- Greco-Roman Origin Myths (Grade Level: 5–8)
- Art & Ecology (Grade Level: 5–8)
- 19th-Century America in Art & Literature (Grade Level: 5–8)
- Heroes & Heroines (Grade Level: 5–8)
These lessons incorporate all different subjects in addition to visual art, including geometry, mathematical formulas, Greek myths, poetry, geography, climate, economics, politics and more, in addition to teaching important elements of art.
NGAkids Art Zone also contains over a dozen wonderful interactive art activities, including:
- SwatchBox is a painting tool that lets you mix millions of colors. Experiment with different hues, shades, and values, then combine your favorites to create your own color palette.
- Pixelface lets you design a moving sculpture and take it for a spin. Try to balance the shapes and colors.
- Mobile is an interactive portrait maker has 49 colors and 24 brushes. Draw freehand or use the AUTO mode for surprising effects.
- Photo Op is a two-part interactive introduction to digital photography. Snap some pictures, then use the image editing software to add kaleidoscopic special effects, warps, and blends.
- Still Life helps you create an interactive still life that mirrors the paintings of the old masters.
- Dutch House lets you decorate a 17th-century dollhouse as you explore the kitchen, living quarters, artist’s studio, and courtyard of a make-believe Dutch house.
This is a fantastic resource for homeschoolers that is sure to add to any art education program.