Students and Mrs. Bush Use Picturing America Images in History Lesson
WASHINGTON (August 14, 2008)—Mrs. Laura Bush visited Edna Karr Senior High School in New Orleans, La., today to celebrate its recent award of Picturing America, a new education initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Launched with the support of President and Mrs. Bush in February 2007, Picturing America is an innovative, free resource that provides educators with an engaging way to teach American history and other subjects through significant works of American art. Award recipients receive 40 reproductions of great American art and an illustrated teachers resource book with lesson plans. A comprehensive Web site, PicturingAmerica.neh.gov  offers additional resources and information about the artists, artwork, and more.
During an assembly, Mrs. Bush spoke to students about the importance of knowing the events and people that have shaped America’s history and explained Picturing America’s mission to tell the story of America through its art.
“America has a proud past and a bright future. But we must safeguard it by educating young people about the values that make us who we are,” said Mrs. Bush. “Picturing America is achieving this goal by making 40 iconic American images available to schools and libraries across the United States.”
Earlier this morning, members of Edna Karr’s senior class joined Mrs. Bush for a lesson demonstration with several well-known images in the Picturing America collection. Using notable American paintings such as Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware and Norman Rockwell’s Freedom of Speech, The Saturday Evening Post 1943 and photographs like James Karales’ Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965 and Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, students, led by their history and English teachers, discussed how themes such as courage, leadership, equality, and democracy have shaped America’s identity.
The lesson served as a preview of how Picturing America will enhance classroom activities at Edna Karr High School and 18 other New Orleans schools and public libraries this fall. In June, the NEH awarded Picturing America to more than 26,000 schools and public libraries nationwide, including 310 recipient institutions in Louisiana.
NEH Deputy Chairman Thomas K. Lindsay accompanied Mrs. Bush this morning to encourage other schools to apply for this free resource during the second application period currently taking place.
“Picturing America seeks to inspire learners of all ages to become more informed citizens and the Endowment would like to encourage teachers and librarians to apply,” said Dr. Lindsay. “The NEH wants every school and public library across the nation to receive this program, and we are offering a second application opportunity to bring us closer to achieving that goal.”
On Aug. 4, NEH announced the opening of its second application period for delivery of materials in spring 2009. All eligible schools (K-12, public, private, parochial, charter, and home school consortia) and public libraries that have not already received Picturing America may apply  for the program through October 31, 2008, at PicturingAmerica.neh.gov . Please note that previous recipients of the Picturing America collection are not eligible for a second award.
The NEH wishes to thank the following: the American Library Association (ALA); the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Department of Defense Educational Activity; the National Park Service; Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Smith; the History Channel; and the National Trust for the Humanities.
Picturing America is distributed by the NEH in cooperation with the ALA. For information about the ALA, please visit www.ala.org .
About Picturing America
Public, private, parochial, and charter and home school consortia (K-12), as well as public libraries in the United States and its territories, are eligible to receive Picturing America materials. Interested schools and public libraries should submit an application by October 31, 2008, for receipt of the materials in spring 2009. Detailed instructions for submitting an application can be found in the 'Apply Now' section of the Picturing America Web site, PicturingAmerica.neh.gov .