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Online Unit Studies

These educational on line study units are written for middle school students and teachers as a way for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to deliver curricular materials to classrooms for those schools unable to complete a field trip to the Museum.

Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World

This exhibition explores the archaeological and historical data connecting the Spiro site to other communities throughout North and Central America, discusses the Spiroan community and religious activities, and highlights the enduring legacy of Native Americans today who are descended from Mississippian cultural groups.

This teaching packet provides background information, themes and curriculum guides. The curriculum guides meet select Oklahoma Academic standards and suitable for grades 3 – 12.

Spiro Teaching Packet

Additional materials can be found at spiromounds.com.

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing

Through the lens of her camera, Dorothea Lange documented American life with riveting, intimate photographs that portrayed some of the most powerful moments of the 20th century. From documenting the plight of Dust Bowl migrants during the Great Depression to illuminating the grim conditions of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II, Lange’s photographs demonstrate how empathy and compassion—focused through art—can sway minds and prompt change throughout this nation’s history.

The curriculum guides meet select Oklahoma Academic standards and are best suited for grades 6 – 12.
14th Amendment and Civil Rights
Exploring Titles and Captions
Historical Photos and 6-Word Stories

Emigrants Crossing the Plains

Emigrants Crossing the Plains carries out Bierstadt’s tradition of oversized painting, reflecting the grandiose size and spectacle of the American West.
Click here to view

End of the Trail


End of the Trail

End of the TrailFocusing on the life and works of award winning Western artist James Earle Fraser and his sculpture, The End of the Trail.

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Previous Exhibit Education Guides

Riding The Whirlwind: Weather in the West

February 5 – May 8, 2016

Oshutterstock_107373800rganized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, learn how the often brutal environment of this region with its dramatic blizzards, violent thunder storms, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes has shaped, and continues to shape, the history of the American West.

Weather, a subject of strong general interest that affects every person’s life on a daily basis, will serve as the focus of and stimulus for exploration and learning about science and mathematics. As a joint endeavor, the Midwest Wild Weather (MWW) collaboration has developed a standalone Midwest Wild Weather Teacher Guide available for use in the classroom. This guide includes three types of activities: Teacher Demonstrations, Individual Student Activities, and Cooperative Learning Groups as well as sample Alternative Assessment activities. Consistent with state science goals for Oklahoma this Teacher Manual is designed for 4th grade through  8th grade.


Madonnas of the Prairie: Depictions of Women in the American West

February 13, 2015 – May 10, 2015

MadonnasHosted by the Museum and organized by the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, this exhibit features more than 100 works focusing on women in the late 19th century through the present as seen through the talents of multiple artists. The works honor women who stood bravely through a myriad of difficulties, tragedies and losses to help build this nation. Curriculum guides are available for Grades K-6 and Grades 7-12.”

Grades K-6 Curriculum Guide
Grades 7-12 Curriculum Guide


Walter Ufer: Rise, Fall, Resurrection
February 7 – May 11, 2014
At RestOrganized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and guest curator Dean Porter, this is the most significant exhibition of work by Taos Society artist Walter Ufer (1876-1936) ever presented. Here you can experience an in-depth look at an artist whose fall from fame long overshadowed his remarkable achievements as painter and humanitarian during a short career.

This Activity Worksheet is suitable for middle school grade levels and older, and is intended to encourage discussions and to provide a deeper look into Walter Ufer’s art. Print and bring it with you to tour the exhibit. Copies also will be available at the exhibit entrance.”



Allan Houser and His Students

On exhibit August 30, 2013 – May 11, 2014

In the exhibit, “Allan Houser and His Students,” The National Cowboy & Western Museum examines Houser as artist, teacher and mentor. He has been referred to as the “Grandfather of Contemporary Native American sculpture.” He has-without question-had the most influence in establishing the canons of Native sculpture. Houser passed on his unique talents, vision and passion for pushing the boundaries of American Indian art to countless students. Use this Activity Guide to learn more.




National Geographic: Greatest Photographs of the American West

On exhibit October 27, 2012 – January 06, 2013
Greatest Photographs of the American WestThe American West has been photographed countless times. The subject has continued to fascinate people and has defines a national sense of identity. Curriculum guides for middle and high school students in the areas of geography, history, science, language arts and arts will aid educators in presenting the material to students. Learn about different themes of the exhibit and topics that relate to the West.




Pueblo to Pueblo: the Legacy of Southwest Indian Pottery

Pueblo to PuebloOn exhibit January 28, 2012 – April 8, 2012
The Pre- and Post-Visit Lesson Plan is designed as introductory learning activities for teachers interested in taking their students to see Pueblo to Pueblo: the Legacy of Southwest Indian Pottery. These lesson plans can be adapted to many age groups, but they are primarily designed for middle school and high school groups. For use alongside the lesson plans is a Pueblo to Pueblo PowerPoint.
Also available is an Activity Guide suitable for ages 8+.

Pre- and Post-Visit Lesson Plan
Pueblo to Pueblo PowerPoint for use with the Lesson Plan
Activity Guide
Family Gallery Guide

Allen True’s West Allen True’s West
Allen True's WestOn exhibit February 4, 2011 – May 15, 2011
Allen True is regarded as Colorado’s premier native-born artist of the early 20th century. He was noted for having three distinct phases in his long and distinguished artistic career: first as an illustrator, then as an easel painter, and finally as a muralist. Use the Curriculum Guide to learn more.



To Picture the Words To Picture the Words: Illustrators of the American West

To Picture the Words To Picture the WordsOn exhibit January 21, 2011 – May 15, 2011
This exhibit highlights the Museum’s rich collections of original and published works by Western illustrators. Several of the books highlighted in the exhibit can be found in your local library, book store or online. The youth oriented stories included illustrations by renowned Western artists in their original printing. The reading list provides boys and girls an opportunity to explore the wild West through the eyes of young adventurers.



American Indian Printmakers American Indian Printmakers

American Indian Printmakers American Indian PrintmakersOn exhibit October 1, 2010 – May 8, 2011
Printmaking underwent drastic changes in the 20th century. Reflecting the artists’ connections with the contemporary art scene between the 1930s and the 1990s, and their Native American heritage, these prints demonstrate diverse experiences in a wide variety of styles and subjects. Use this Curriculum Guide to delve deeper into the art of printmaking.



The Guitar: Art, Artist and Artisans
The Guitar: Art, Artist and ArtisansThe guitar is the world’s most popular instrument. From its historical roots in Europe, the instrument became popular throughout the American West, evolving into an icon of cowboy music. Often a stunning visual art from, the guitar is the star of this exhibit. Use this Curriculum Guide to take a closer look at the Gibson “Tribute to the 20th Century” Guitar. The artwork and imagery used spans 100 years of history.





The Power of Music: Photographic Portraits of Americans and their Musical Instruments, 1860-1915
The Power of MusicThis exhibition provides a rare insight into the prevalence of performed music among 19th century Americans. With the birth of photography, many musicians were able to pose with their favorite instruments to show their pride and love of music. This Resource Guide is provided by the exhibit’s creator, Smith Kramer.




“Arte en la Charrería: The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture”
Arte en la CharreríaThe very essence of the Mexican experience is exemplified by the culture of the charro, or Mexican cowboy. It is a rich legacy of tradition and valor, of honor and custom, of war and peace.

Educational Guide
Exhibit Images




Craft in America–Expanding Traditions
Craft in America--Expanding TraditionsThe mission of Craft in America is to document and advance original handcrafted work through programs in all media. Companion Educator Guides written for teachers support each of the three episodes-Memory, Landscape and Community. Content can be modified for students of all ages and different educational settings. The guides can be used in any order or stand alone and used independent of the others.

Education Guide – Community
Education Guide – Landscape
Education Guide – Memory

Adventure District
Adventure Road
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