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School Group in the Decorative Experience Gallery

The Decorative Experience

The Art of World Peoples, in The Decorative Experience gallery

Social Studies, Art—Grades K–12
Time required: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Culture, Economics, Religion, Government, Geography, and History are reflected in the original art objects and artifacts of this exhibit, arranged geographically by continent. Students will practice extracting information from these works, and using them as evidence for many aspects of human existence around the world.

Tennessee Social studies curriculum

  • K: The World Around Us. The different traditions and cultures of families around the world are explored through original objects, touchable objects, photographs, and a globe. Examples include Japan, the Arctic region, and countries of Africa. K.3, K.4, K.6, K. 12, K.24
  • 1st: Tennessee’s Place in America. Cherokee art and its materials, uses, decorative motifs and relationship to culture and traditions. Hands-on objects and activity included. 1.1, 1.4, 1.8, 1.17, 1.38
  • 2nd: Life in the United States. Students will compare Native American art from different regions of the United States and relate the objects to natural resources and the cultures and ways of life of different peoples. Touchable objects and activity included. 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.18, 2.19, 2.40
  • 3rd: World Geography and Cultures. Maps and globes, original objects, and illustrations highlight several areas of the world and their peoples; teachers may choose one or two for comparison. Other exhibits which may be used for comparison include the Native Peoples of Tennessee exhibit (North America) and Ancient Egypt (north Africa).
  • All: 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, 3.9; North America 3.14, 3.21, 3.22: Europe 3.39, 3.40; Africa 3.46, 3.49, 3.50; Asia – China 3.57, 3.58; Japan 3.57, 3.58
  • 4th: The History of America to 1850. Using historical art and artifacts as evidence, students will compare and contrast Native American life to colonists life, including agriculture, trade, technology, and interactions among them. 4.5, 4.12, 4.57, 4.59
  • 5th: The History of America from 1850. Original objects illustrate the struggle of Native Americans in the west; people and aspects of industrial America including manufacturing and mass-production vs hand-made goods; and the role of women and African Americans in art. 5.30, 5.34, 5.47
  • 6th: World History and Geography to 5th century. Students examine early Chinese art and artifacts to the Han Dynasty for evidence of government, trade, culture and religion, including emperors and the empire, the silk road, Confucius, Daoism, and Buddhism. Also included is a study of Roman artifacts from Germany and their relationship to expansion of the empire, engineering, and relation to Germanic tribes. 6.30, 6.32, 6.33, 6.36, 6.37, 6.38, 6.60, 6.65, 6.69
  • 7th: World History and Geography to Exploration of the Americas. Original objects and artworks illustrate many aspects of history, economics, government, and religion in Asia (China, Japan, the Middle East) and Africa. Specifics include: the relation of Islamic art to beliefs; the importance of cultural traditions in families and societies in sub-Saharan Africa and indigenous religious practices in Africa; the Tang Dynasty and subsequent technological innovations and political changes; Japanese samurai. 7.1, 7.10, 7.15, 7.18, 7.20, 7.21, 7.22, 7.25, 7.31
  • 8th: US History and Geography. Original objects illustrate the differences between Native American and European-American art and life; the struggle of Native Americans in the west; and people and aspects of industrial America including manufacturing and mass-production vs hand-made goods. 8.9, 8.92
  • Ancient History. Chinese, Roman, and Islamic art and artifacts give information on the history of these peoples, and their contacts with others. AH.20, AH.21, AH.22, AH.33, AH.47
  • World Geography. Natural resources, population movement, and economic change are reflected in the art of China, the US, and Africa. WG.19, WG.20, WG. 26

Tennessee Visual Arts Curriculum

  • Elementary students will identify media, elements of art and principles of design, subject matter and art from different cultures, times, and places.
  • Middle school students will explore technologies as well as media, identify symbols and themes, and discuss the historical and cultural contexts of the works.
  • High school students will compare and contrast the design, materials, and purposes of works, explore reasons for subjects, and describe changes in art and the influences that produce them.


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