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 6: Crafting Your Campaign Implementation Procedures
  • 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
In this lesson students will collaboratively design a campaign advocating for the preservation and recognition of a local site.
MUSEUM OBJECT [photos of objects in the Parks museum collections] SIMILAR OBJECTS [local items similar to museum objects] & OTHER MATERIALS Length of time

Lesson 6: Crafting Your Campaign

The Yellowstone Range from near Fort Ellisby Thomas Moran

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

  • Art Supplies


minutes (2 days)

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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

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


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
  • Students will be able to (SWBAT) articulate the ideas, emotions, and attitudes reflected in Thomas Moran’s artistic works.
  • SWBAT work in groups to create a campaign to preserve a local site, area, or landmark.

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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 6
Time Instructional Sequence Teacher Narration Exemplary Responses & Follow Up Questions
20 mins Display “The Yellowstone Range From Near Fort Ellis” on the overhead projector. As a class, list the ideas/emotions/attitudes Moran captures in the watercolor. Recall Hayden’s use of Moran’s watercolors to campaign for Yellowstone then list other information that might persuade a viewer that Yellowstone should be preserved.

Expedition Teams meet to collaborate and create a cohesive campaign that will be presented as an exhibit about the importance of their selected local site, area, or landmark.

  • Shows vast space.
  • Highlights geographical features and plant life (mountains and trees)
  • You can “get lost” in the image. Its distracting and restorative.
  • Looks like a place you would go to escape the pressures of daily life.
60 mins The campaign materials presented in the exhibit should include:
  • factual information about the site,
  • photographs, illustrations, or models of the selected site,
  • objects (or facsimiles of objects) that express the cultural/historic/natural themes that students believe make this site worthy of recognition,
  • exhibit captions and an introductory caption of 200 words or less, and
  • any landscape art pieces from the virtual exhibit that speak to their site (optional).

Expedition Teams set up their exhibit and formally present the primary theme of their campaign to classmates and guests.

If possible, display these exhibits in a public location, such as a city hall or community center.
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