The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the story of America through the individuals who have shaped U.S. culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists who speak American history.
The One Life: The Mask of Lincoln exhibition concentrates on presidential portraits to show the changing face that Abraham Lincoln presented to the world as he led the fight for the Union. Shaping himself to the uncertainties of the present, mindful of his role as the heir to the Founding Fathers, Lincoln led the nation where it never intended to go: from a political crisis over states’ rights to the revolutionary act of abolishing slavery. What is uncanny is how Lincoln moved toward this conclusion in public, before an audience fascinated and yet bewildered by the workings of an extraordinary mind.
Featured Lincoln Resources:
- One Life: The Mask of Lincoln Online Exhibition
- One Life: The Mask of Lincoln Lesson Plans: Integrating portraiture into the classroom provides exciting opportunities to connect students with history, biography, and visual art. The portraits found in One Life: The Mask of Lincoln have incredibly useful classroom application as your students study Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. The National Portrait Gallery offers five lesson plans that can be used in conjunction with the One Life: The Mask of Lincoln exhibition. All lessons are designed for grades 4–12 in United States history classes.
- Sample Lesson: “Lincoln in Richmond”
- Audio Tour of One Life: The Mask of Lincoln provided by National Portrait Gallery Historian David Ward
- NPG Collections Search
Featured Educator Resources:
- “Reading Portraiture” Guide for Educators [PDF]: Learn how to use portraits as a tool to teach about significant individuals and the eras in which they lived.
- Posters to Go [PDF]: Interested in a set of teaching posters for your classroom? Check out the Posters to Go program.
- Online Education Resources: The Portrait Gallery has a variety of resources for school and community audiences that have been developed to complement our exhibitions. Resources can be viewed and printed online or downloaded as PDF files.