You are here

Art Class, New York City Public School #147, c. 1900

Clay modeling class at Public School No. 147 in New York City
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_NP716
 
Document Description
A teacher instructs a class of boys in clay modeling in New York City Public School No. 147, circa 1900.
 
Questions
What is happening in the photograph? 
How many teachers are in the room?  How many students?
Does your art class look like the one in the picture? How is it different?
 
Resources
Jennings, Peter, Jennifer Armstrong, Todd Brewster, and Katherine Bourbeau. The Century for Young People. Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, September 1999. ISBN: 0385327080
DK Publishing. Children's History of the 20th Century. DK Publishing, Inc., August 1999. ISBN: 0789447223
McGovern, Ann. If You Lived 100 Years Ago. Scholastic, Inc., August 1999. ISBN: 0590960016
 

Historical Context
At the turn of the century, physical education was viewed as an important part of school, especially in urban settings (such as New York City) with large immigrant populations.  Children participated in team sports and coordinated gymnastic movements to build a sense of teamwork, fair play, discipline, and healthy competition.  It was believed that participation in physical education and art classes would provide immigrant children from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to build a sense of unity.
 
Essential Question
How does culture influence a society's education system?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and identify key characteristics of the American education system during this time period.