What can art teach students about history? In the case of the painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” a close analysis reveals quite a bit about America’s early days. This interactive lesson from WGBH and Mount Vernon, the historic home of Washington, helps students improve their skills with art-based source material and deepens their understanding of the American Revolution.
Examining cultural understandings of Washington reveals a series of collective memories, hopes and fears of the American populace. This vivid and famous piece of artwork allows your class to explore the strengths and limitations of historical sources, both primary and secondary. They will also see how historical accounts of the American Revolution differ from the way this artist portrayed the events, and the reasons why the artist made some of those choices.