Portrait of Lisa Colt Curtis (detail), 1898. John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925). Oil on canvas; 219.3 x 104.8 cm. Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund 1998.168
  • Portrait of Lisa Colt Curtis (detail), 1898. John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925). Oil on canvas; 219.3 x 104.8 cm. Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund 1998.168
A

America Transforming, 1860-1918

Grade Level: 
9–12
Student Level: 
High School

By examining American art and artifacts from the museum's collection, this series promotes discussion of America's national character and heritage. All five lessons, developed by teams of teachers, are accompanied by reinforcement materials specifically designed to foster critical thinking skills. These programs may be scheduled individually.

America Transforming, the third lesson in this series, covers 1860-1918, including momentous social changes brought about by urbanization, industrialization, immigration, and technological inventions.

Program Format: 
  • Introduce major themes of the lesson.
  • Discuss technological innovations after the Civil War, using artworks from the museum.
  • Discuss social and economic effects of the Civil War, looking at paintings which introduce themes including Social Darwinism and the Gilded Age.
  • Image comparison activity.
  • 19th Century American Thinkers Table activity.
Objectives: 
  • Students will understand the many changes that took place in the United States between the Civil War and World War I, particularly in regard to industrialization, urbanization, technology, and social and economic disparities between wealthy and poor people.
  • Students will learn how America's ideals were shattered by the Civil War and Urbanization.