About

Education

NVAM Education is dedicated to creating meaningful and transformative learning experiences for youth, educators and museum patrons. We promote connected learning through fine arts, civics, and youth facing interactive programming rooted in the exploration of personal narratives and global citizenship.
Below are our resource guides.

Tactical Formations: Educator Resource Guide

Tactical Formations: Collective Practice in the Veteran Art Movement features three generations of artists from The Vietnam Veterans Arts Group (VVAG), The Dirty Canteen, and NVAM Teen Council. The exhibition highlights artist collectives making work about the veteran experience, but also underlines the power of organizing into communities in order to achieve common goals. These groups cultivate support in order to claim a voice that was often ignored or denied, to question the forces that propagate and sustain conflict, or to encourage viewers to participate in ongoing conversations about the effects of war on our society and culture. Tactical Formations is about borrowing an idea that generally pertains to combat strategy, and applying it to artistic production as a tool of change. It is our responsibility to take the time to understand their missions, accept their invitations to take part in the dialogues they present, and support their refusal to accept war at face value.

Click the following link for the Tactical Formations Curriculum Guide!

The Joe Bonham Project: Educator Resource Guide

The Joe Bonham Project: Drawing the Stories of America’s Wounded Veterans is an exhibition that aims to keep the dedication, sacrifices, and indomitable spirit of our wounded warriors present and accounted for with more than a hundred drawings and illustrations created during the time spent with patients at VA Hospitals throughout the United States. Sixteen artists, both veterans and civilians of all ages and experiences, are included in The Joe Bonham Project at the National Veterans Art Museum. The artwork includes a variety of materials and styles in drawings, paintings, digital illustrations, comics, and 3D printed sculpture along side a reflective statement from the artists about their experiences. We encourage everyone to go beyond looking and really listen and engage with the stories being shared through the artwork.

Click HERE for the The Joe Bonham Project: Educator Resource Guide

The 100 Faces of War Experience: Curriculum Guide

The 100 Faces of War Experience is an open contemplation of the American experience of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It consists of portraits of 100 veterans who were chosen to represent the statistical demographics of the American involvement in these conflicts. Each person was asked to provide the words that accompany their portrait. They are allowed total freedom in what they want to say.This exhibition is timed to coincide with the official end of war in Afghanistan and it is meant to be a place of open contemplation upon the American experience of these wars.

These portraits represent a cross section of the American experience of these wars and the statements of the people pictured reveal a candid, unedited understanding of our recent history. Nine years in the making, 100 Faces was created by Artist Matt Mitchell. Each portrait represents a part of the American statistics of these wars and comes out of a personal meeting between the artist and the person pictured. For posthumous portraits the artist worked with the family and the words are provided by the family.

Click HERE for the 100 Faces of War Experience Guide

Surrealism & War: Resource Guide

Surrealism and War is an exhibition of veterans’ artwork that explores the relationship between Surrealism and the experience of war.

Surrealism is an attempt to revolt against the inherent contradictions of a society ruled by rational thought while dominated by war and oppression. Surrealism seeks expression of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason and free of aesthetic and moral preoccupation. It is this same absence of control exercised by reason that many combat veterans seek to explore and express after their experiences in war. Surrealism & War features the artwork of nine veteran artists that intentionally and unintentionally use and explore Surrealist processes and concepts.

Click HERE for the Surrealism & War Education Resource Guide

Introduction — Education Resources

The works on display in the museum use visual language that can forge a link between student, soldier, art and history as well as create relevant connections to contemporary issues of war, emotional hardship and positive change. The lessons in this packet support learning that focuses on how art can be used as a tool to create dialog about the complexity of war and the human experience with it. Students will explore how to interpret and understand art as a tool of communication by synthesizing and assimilating information from different disciplines into demonstrated comprehension and development of abstract and critical thinking through the learning process. Continue reading

Our Teacher Resources are designed to aid your class in creating meaningful, in depth experiences during their visit. This material is designed to be used in preparation for, during and to continue dialog after your visit to the museum and aims to maximize the impact of your class’ experience.

We encourage feedback on these resources and hope you will share with us any student work generated from your visit as part of our vision of creating stronger bonds with the schools that interact with our museum. Please send any questions, comments or student work to education@nvam.org

  • NVAM Out Loud

    An interactive, youth-generated website featuring artwork and resources for youth and educators.

The Things They Carried — Education Resource Guide

The artwork and artifacts that make up this permanent exhibit give students and visitors the opportunity to interact with objects carried by “grunts”, or ground soldiers, in Vietnam and brings to life the experiences written in the book The Things They Carried by Timothy O’Brien. By interacting physically and virtually, visitors to the exhibit can make a personal connection to the labor associated with the Vietnam “grunt” as well as consider the emotional “weight” carried by these soldiers during their tours of duty.

The works on display in the museum use visual language that can forge a link between student, soldier, art and history as well as create relevant connections to contemporary issues of war, emotional hardship and positive change. The lessons in this packet support learning that focuses on how art can be used as a tool to create dialog about the complexity of war and the human experience with it. Students will explore how to interpret and understand art as a tool of communication by synthesizing and assimilating information from different disciplines into demonstrated comprehension and development of abstract and critical thinking through the learning process.

Our Teacher Resources are designed to aid your class in creating meaningful, in depth experiences during their visit. This material is designed to be used in preparation for, during and to continue dialog after your visit to the museum and aims to maximize the impact of your class’ experience.

We encourage feedback on these resources and hope you will share with us any student work generated from your visit as part of our vision of creating stronger bonds with the schools that interact with our museum.

Click HERE for The Things They Carried Education Resource Guide

Esprit de Corps — Education Resource Guide

Esprit de Corps

Esprit de Corps is taken from the French and means “spirit of the body”—in military contexts, it refers to group morale, “the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.” Featuring art by nine veterans of Vietnam, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror, Esprit de Corps traces the process and roles of therapeutic art from the act of initial perception through expression of experience to an ultimate communal sharing and understanding of the real impact of war.

An Exhibition Highlighting the Spirit of Creative Resilience

The works on display in the museum use visual language that can forge a link between student and soldier, art and history, as well as create relevant connections to contemporary issues of war, emotional hardship and positive change. The lessons in this packet support learning that focuses on how art can be used as a tool to create dialogue about the complexity of war and the human experience that accompanies it. Students will explore how to interpret and understand art as a tool of communication by synthesizing and assimilating information from different disciplines into demonstrated comprehension and development of abstract and critical thinking through the learning process.

Our Teacher Resources are designed to aid your class in creating meaningful, in-depth experiences during their visit. This material is designed to be used in preparation for, during and after your visit to the museum through hands on activities and engaged conversation.

We encourage feedback on these resources and hope you will share with us any student work generated from your visit as part of our vision of creating stronger bonds with the schools that interact with our museum.

Christine Bespalec-Davis
Education Coordinator, The National Veterans Art Museum

Intrusive Thoughts — Education Resource Guide

Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive Thoughts are unwelcome involuntary thoughts, images, or unpleasant ideas that may become obsessions are upsetting or distressing, and can be difficult to manage or eliminate. Although they are commonly unseen, there are silent signs of our current occupations in our local communities, households, and memories. This exhibit features work by veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror that bring these signs from the shadows to the forefront and give these traumas a voice in the political and cultural discussions of today.

Nine individual artists and two creative troupes tackled such difficult issues as reintegration into the civilian community, the media‚Äôs depiction of military action, the role of political resistance, the emotional challenges of military occupation, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, women in combat, and the historic Middle East conflicts. The exhibit was on display in our former location and closed on Veterans Day, 2011.

Over Looked / Looked Over — Education Resource Guide

Overlooked / Looked Over opened on March 10, 2012 in honor of the centennial celebration of International Women’s Day. Curated by Iraq veteran Erica Slone, the show includes eight female veteran artists. Overlooked / Looked Over responds to the growth in numbers of women joining the military, which has soared of the past decade. Slone notes that women currently comprise 14.5% of active duty military and there are 1.8 million women veteran; yet there has been little research to date on how contemporary military culture and war affects women. “Through Overlooked / Looked Over,” Slone says, “I intend to shine a light on the unique experiences of women during the service, in war, and as veterans.”

Prayer Boots — Education Resource Guide

Prayer Boots

Jon Turner’s “Prayer Boots,” an interactive piece that asks patrons to reflect on their relationship to war and to offer their meditations. Turner is a three-tour Marine Corps veteran whose work with the Combat Paper Project was also on exhibit as part of the Intrusive Thoughts exhibit. Turner’s “Prayer Boots” was on display from Memorial Day 2011 through May 2012.

About Prayer Boots:

Prayer Boots is an interactive installation. The installation consists of two-dozen combat books, originally used to commemorate Vermonters lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, combat paper, and writing utensils. On each boot, Turner drew tick marks with paint pen. Each tick mark represents a soldier killed in Afghanistan or Iraq since the start of the war. Turner continues to add tick marks to the boots.

Turner wants visitors to take a moment to reflect on their relationship to war and the military, or personally difficult times and struggles. Patrons then are welcome to write a prayer or thought of peace on the combat paper and place this sentiment in the boots. The boots act as a vehicle to deliver these prayers and words of peace to our lost soldiers.

Jon Turner’s artist talk about Prayer Boots is available on video.

The term ‘prayer’ also refers to a peaceful reflection or statement.

Over Looked / Looked Over