Teacher studies Civil War art at Met Museum

Leily Arzy

History Department Head Katherine Holmes-Chuba attended a one-week course at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

She applied for the seminar, “The Civil War through American Art,” and was one of the 30 participants chosen out of 100 applicants.

Teachers of all levels, ranging from elementary through high school, are eligible to apply for a seminar.

“I have looked every year but it was never really applicable to me and what I teach, but this year they had this class, ‘Civil War through American Art,’ and I was like, well, I teach art history and that would be perfect,” Holmes-Chuba said.

The seminar was centered around two art shows. One focused on Civil War-era American art and included mostly paintings. The other focused on Civil War photography.

“We got to go through both with the curators and ask [them] questions about how they created these exhibits,” Holmes-Chuba said. Though she found the art interesting, photography struck a deeper chord in her, Holmes-Chuba said.

“It was like a whole new world opened up; it was absolutely fascinating,” Holmes-Chuba said. “That was the highlight.”

Most Gilder Lehrman seminars are held at schools and provide housing, but that was not the case for Holmes-Chuba.

“The school very generously gave me the money to go do this, to be able to stay in a hotel,” Holmes-Chuba said. “It was really nice. I would literally just walk across the park and I was at the Metropolitan museum.”

Holmes-Chuba said she plans to use the lesson plans she made during her program for her senior art history course.

“I think it’s good for students to realize that teachers constantly want to learn also. It doesn’t stop in high school or college. We are lifelong learners,” Holmes-Chuba said.