Teachers Guide

The Hood Museum of Art is grateful to the many scholars, students, community members, and educators (Native and non-Native) who helped shape the content of this resource and contributed their knowledge to our understanding of the museum’s collection of Native American art.

Explore by Theme

This resource has been designed to simulate a visit to the museum. Teachers and students are invited on a “thematic tour” of a small group of objects from one of four geographic regions. 

  • Northeast Woodlands
  • Arctic/Subarctic
  • Southwest
  • Plains

Themes for each region include: 

  • Food
  • Clothing and Regalia
  • Tools and Technology
  • Gender Roles and Family
  • Economics
  • Histories and Identities 

The text has been written at a middle school reading level and provided in layers to allow teachers and students to explore as much or as little as time and interest allow. 

Educators may choose to explore one object, one theme, many themes within one region, or one theme across cultures. It is our hope that teachers will return to this resource over and over again to explore the museum’s collections with their students.

Explore Individual Objects

Works of art have been photographed with high resolution and can be presented full screen at the front of the classroom. 

Each object includes a brief introduction, a linked pdf with looking questions called “Look and Discuss”, and background information under the heading "Explore the Object". 

For whole class discussion:

  • Familiarize yourself with the work in advance. Download and print the “Look and Discuss” pdf. Project the object full screen while posing questions and facilitating the discussion.

For small group work:

  • Download and print the “Look and Discuss” pdf in advance. Familiarize yourself with the object. Share the introduction with students. Then, distribute the “Look and Discuss” pdf  to individuals or small groups of students so that they can explore the object on their own. Individuals or small groups may then share their discoveries with the whole class while the teacher projects the object full screen and facilitates the discussion.

Background information under the "Explore the Object" heading is intended to support and extend the conversation. Teachers are encouraged to engage students in looking and discussion before sharing the background information. 

Learn More

A series of additional resources provide opportunities to explore further. 

These resources may include:

  • a brief biography of the artist
  • information on construction techniques
  • short videos featuring scholars, artists, or tribal members discussing the work
  • related looking or sketching activities
  • studio projects.


The museum’s website also includes a searchable database that allows teachers and students to search for any Native American object in the collection. The museum's collection includes almost 4,000 objects. There is always more to discover!

Teachers are invited to share their own lesson plans, additional looking questions or resources, comments or questions related to this site by emailing Hood.Museum.Tours@dartmouth.edu. We welcome your thoughts and expertise.

For a full list of contributors to this project, see the Acknowledgments page on our website.

All objects on this website are from the Hood Museum of Art’s collections. The collection does not represent all cultures or all types of visual culture. The themes and regions were chosen to reflect strengths in the museum’s collection and relevance to the K-12 curriculum.

This site is not an encyclopedia of information about Native American art and culture. Information has been selected to support the exploration and appreciation of individual works of art. There will always be more to learn! Teachers and students are encouraged to research and explore further on their own.