Arts, Culture and Education

NOLA Parade
Mardi Gras Parade, 2006, New Orleans, Louisiana 2006 March

Highsmith, Carol M. Library of Congress

"It is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception and compassion and hope." -Ursula K. LeGuin

Stories of American arts, cultures, and education include histories of social Institutions and movements as well as our diverse cultural values. People's cultural expressions can reveal their beliefs about themselves and the world they inhabit.

Walnut Street Theater in Pennsylvania, Louis Armstrong's house in New York City, the Chautauqua Historic District in New York, and the Cincinnati Music Hall -- all National Historic Landmarks -- reflect diverse aspects of the performing arts. The gardens and studio in New Hampshire of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America's most eminent sculptors, and Connemara, the farm in North Carolina of the noted poet Carl Sandburg, are both National Historic Sites illustrating some ways that people communicate their moral and aesthetic values.

People express values and live their lives through a range of formal and informal structures such as schools or voluntary associations. Americans generate temporary movements and create enduring institutions in order to define, sustain, or reform their values. Boston African American Historic Site reflects roles of ordinary Americans and a facet of America's cultural landscape. Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller in Alabama, and the rural Kentucky Pine Mountain Settlement School illustrate educational currents.

Why people organize to transform their institutions is as important to understand as how they choose to do so. Thus, both the diverse motivations people act on and the strategies they employ are critical concerns of social history. Sites such as Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York, and the Eugene V. Debs National Historic Landmark in Indiana illustrate the diversity and changeable nature of social institutions. Hancock Shaker Village, a National Historic Landmark, and Touro Synagogue, a National Historic Site, reflect religious diversity.

Read more about how Arts, Culture, and Education shape American heritage in the United States.

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    Last updated: February 16, 2017