Making a Scene: How Landscape Artists Contributed to the Establishment of the    National Park System
Table of Contents
Museum Collections, Similar Items and Other Materials Used
National Educational Standards
Student Learning Objectives
Background and Historical Context
Teacher Tips
Lesson Implementation Procedures
Evaluation/Assessment for Measurable Results
Extension and Enrichment Activities
Site Visit
Charts, Figures and Other Teacher Materials

A. Lesson 5: The Bull Pen: A Photographic Comparison
  • Developers: Verena Calas, National Park Service Museum Educator, Washington D.C
  • Grade Level: 6-8 grades
  • Number of Sessions in the Lesson Unit Plan: 6
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B. Overview of this Collection-Based Lesson Unit Plan
  • Park Name: Treasured Landscapes: Virtual exhibit artworks from multiple parks.
  • Description: This unit explores how landscape art contributed the preservation and conservation of natural, cultural, and historic places of importance to Americans that are part of the National Park System. These artworks, are owned and preserved by the National Park Service and are locate in the collections of many different parks. This unit includes activities that develop students’ skills of observation, documentation, and analysis. Students will be able to apply these skills to through a real-world application in which they will develop a campaign to conserve and reorganize a significant local site.    
  • Essential Question: How did American landscape artists and photographers such as Thomas Moran and William Henry Jackson help to promote the conservation of America’s natural and cultural wonders and establishment of the National Park Service?

    Lesson Overviews
  • Lesson 1: This lesson teaches students how to identify NPS parks by theme and state on a U.S. map. Students will also discuss the relationship between 19th century conservationism, Westward expansion, and the NPS.
  • Lesson 2: Explore Your World! This lesson teaches students how to compare and contrast casual and scientific observation techniques and interpret the field notebook of a Yellowstone botanist. Students will systematically observe and document the geography, plants, and animals of an area.
  • Lesson 3: For the Record: This lesson teaches students how to compare and contrast photography, drawing, and painting as visual records while using primary source sketches to identify artistic choices and perception of an artistic subject. Students will also explore the process and tools of traditional film photography.
  • Lesson 4: The Campaign for Yellowstone: This lesson explores who 19th century conservationists worked to establish Yellowstone National Park. Students will conduct a mock interview of a historical figure and write a newspaper article.
  • Lesson 5: The Bull Pen: A Photographic Comparison: This lesson explores how landscape painting and photography preserve and convey the significance of historical places.
  • Lesson 6: Crafting Your Campaign: In this lesson students will collaboratively design a campaign advocating for the preservation and recognition of a local site.

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C. Museum Collections, Similar Items and other Materials Used in this Lesson Unit Plan
This lesson explores how landscape painting and photography preserve and convey the significance of historical places.
MUSEUM OBJECT [photos of objects in the Parks museum collections] SIMILAR OBJECTS [local items similar to museum objects] & OTHER MATERIALS Length of time

Lesson 5: The Bull Pen, A Photographic Comparison

Bull Penby Elbridge Ayer Burbank

J.L. Hubbell by Ben G. Wittick

East Side of Hubbell Trading Post unknown photographer

Huibbell Trading Post

Similar Items [similar to objects in the Park museum collection] & OTHER MATERIALS:



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D. National Educational Standards

NSS-USH.5-12.1 Era 4
Standard 1
Understands United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected relations with external powers and Native Americans

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic

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E. Student Learning Objectives
  • SWBAT identify the key points of the 1916 National Park Service Organic Act.
  • SWBAT compare and compare and contrast secondary sources dealing with the same material (i.e. representations of the Native American experience).
  • SWBAT write and perform a dramatic monologue.

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F. Background and Historical Context
See Making a Scene, Background Information PowerPoint

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G. Vocabulary
Cultural Resources: Tangible objects and structures that are the material evidence of past human activities.
H. Teacher Tips
  • Use online collections; objects, documents, maps, and photographs to further student inquiry and to address student learning objectives.
  • Activities can be adapted for class length and grade levels.
  • Activities can be adapted for different grade levels (and reading levels).
  • Obtain for classroom use, tangible items similar to the museum objects that students will study.

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I. Lesson Implementation Procedures
Lesson 5
Time Instructional Sequence Teacher Narration Exemplary Responses & Follow Up Questions
10 mins Introduce Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site as a historic/cultural site and distribute images from Section C.
  • Bull Pen by Elbridge Ayer Burbank
  • Modern photograph of the Bull Penn
Burbank painted this “Bull-Pen” view of the Hubbell Trading Post at Ganado showing Navajo people visiting and buying food during the winter of 1908. The white haired Anglo man behind the counter could be J.L. Hubbell. Charlie [Carlos] Hubbell [J.L.’s brother] could be the man sitting by the stove. The little girl against the counter may be one of Ya-otza-Beg-ay’s [see HUTR 2033] children. The dog laying on the floor in the foreground is "Wa Wa."

The Bull Pen photograph by multimedia artist Marc Steuben was taken in 2003. It shows the Bull Pen of the Hubbell Trading Post as it is at present, a still fully operational store. Here you can see modern food items- candy, soda, and other snacks. Two small modern cash registers sit on the counter. Other larger items, such as saddles, hang from the ceiling.

Although the items in the store might have changed over time, the function is still the same.
25 mins Compare and contrast the painting and modern photo as presentations of the Native American experience. How has it changed? How might it be the same? What similarities and differences do you see between the two works?

What do those similarities and differences tell you about the changes in the lives of Native Americans over time?
25 mins Give students the choice to pick one of three outside images of Hubbell Trading Post.

Similarly to how Marc Steuben’s photograph captures the modern Bull Pen, students should use their artistic ability to create a drawing or painting depicting the “modern version” of their photograph. If computers are available, allow students to go on the Hubbell Trading post website to get inspiration.
Example: Because we no longer transport goods by horse and carriage, these elements would be removed from your picture and replaced by trucks or cars.  
J. Evaluation/Assessment for Measurable Results
  • Participation in daily activities.
  • Products from Student Activities (Lessons 2-5).
  • Individual homework assignments that build towards culminating project.
  • Campaign material preparation
  • Mounting of campaign material in exhibit
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K. Extension and Enrichment Activities
  • Produce a 5-10 minute documentary video on a selected local landscape/monument/landmark.
  • Create a publicity poster for the student-curated exhibitions
  • Use the dates and locations recorded in Thomas Moran’s diary to trace the route of the Hayden expedition. Use maps of Yellowstone to calculate daily distances that Moran travelled.
  • Research a recent preservation or conservation controversy at a National Park of your choice (e.g. the reintroduction of gray wolves in Yellowstone).
  • Select a National Park or Historic Site and research its designation as a protected site
L. Resources

M. Site Visit

The site visit includes a visit to:
  • Any NPS, state, regional, or local park near the school.
  • If appropriate, students can participate in a BioBlitz (collaboration between NPS and National Geographic that collects data about the ecosystems within participating national parks). For more information, see
  • Pre-visit: Before the visit, have students visit the site’s website for an overview. Each student should prepare one question about the site’s significance.
  • Site visit: Students analyze at least two objects on exhibit (or, if visiting a park, sights within the landscape) using the “How to Read an Object” chart and detailed sketches.
    • If participating in a BioBlitz, follow the instructions of the selected activity, using the resources and instructions available via the activity pages linked above, or at the BioBlitz educational resources website