Florida Virtual Schools – Teaching American History Project

Art and American Identity: 1670–1789

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST)

Room from the Powel House, Philadelphia | The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Maurie McInnis

Associate Professor,
American Art and Material Culture
Director, American Studies
University of Virginia

About the Seminar

In 1690, to what extent were the arts and material culture of the British Atlantic colonies “American”? To what extent were they “American” by 1789? What major factors defined the evolution in American arts and material culture in this period? To what extent did this evolution reflect the changing self-image of Americans?

Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam

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Assigned Readings

To incorporate seminar texts into your teaching, we offer the National Humanities Center’s Primary Document Application Form.

The texts are from the National Humanities Center's toolbox Becoming American: The British Atlantic Colonies, 1690–1763. Please study the note, the discussion questions, and the text itself.

  1. Benjamin Franklin on wealth, luxury, and virtue. Note and text (PDF).
  2. Note and images: teapot, ca. 1715; punchbowl, ca. 1745; bureau table, ca. 1765.
  3. Benjamin Franklin, “Join or Die,” essay and image. Note and text.
  4. Diary of William Byrd II. Note and text (PDF).
  5. Elizabeth Randolph, portrait. Note, primary text, and additional text.
  6. Depictions of African Americans by white artists. Note and text (PDF).
  7. John Greenwood, Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam, image. Note and text (PDF).
  8. Gustavus Hesselius, Lapowinsa and Tishcohan, images. Note, additional note (PDF), Lapowinsa image, and Tishcohan image.


PowerPoint: 13.6 MB

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