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Foundations Partner with Smarthistory on American History and Art Initiative

March 20, 2018
‘Seeing America’ Will Provide Free, Comprehensive Learning Resources

BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 20, 2018 – The Walton Family Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art will partner with Smarthistory, a national nonprofit, to increase access to and understanding of American history and art. With the foundations’ support, Smarthistory will develop and distribute Seeing America, a free, multi-media platform for students, educators and independent learners drawing on the expertise and collections of participating museums from across the country.

“We are proud to partner with the Walton Family Foundation and Terra Foundation for American Art on this groundbreaking initiative,” said Beth Harris, Smarthistory executive director. “Seeing America will give learners of all ages unprecedented access to American art and history in their classrooms, institutions and homes.”

Based in New York, Smarthistory currently hosts a collection of free, online videos and essays covering art from the Paleolithic era to present day. Smarthistory will build on this successful model to create Seeing America. From late 2017 through February 2020, it will work with a consortium of museum partners, academics and educators to create and compile essays, videos and curriculum. Online materials will be designed for students and educators in high school and college-level American history and art history courses, as well as museum professionals and general Smarthistory visitors.

The most comprehensive American art history resource of its kind, the free, online platform will cover diverse stories from a variety of international and intercultural perspectives. It will encompass seven broad themes drawn from the Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History Standards: national identity; politics and power; work, exchange and technology; culture and society; migration and settlement; geography and the environment; and America and the world. The resource is also beneficial in non-AP instruction.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will serve as Smarthistory’s lead partner on the project. Other partners include the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Denver Art Museum, Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, Mia (Minneapolis Institute of Art), National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Toledo Museum of Art and Wadsworth Atheneum for the first and second phases. Additional art museums will join the third phase in February 2019.

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2016, the foundation awarded more than $454 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Terra Foundation for American Art
Since it was established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art has been one of the leading foundations focused on the historical art of the United States. Headquartered in Chicago, it is committed to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of American art among national and international audiences. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research, and educational programs. The foundation also provides opportunities for interaction and study through the presentation and ongoing development of its own art collection in Chicago, recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art. Implicit in such activities is the belief that art has the potential both to distinguish cultures and to unite them.

About Smarthistory
Smarthistory is a leading resource for the study of art and cultural heritage. Our growing collection of videos and essays are designed to be engaging and conversational and cover art that ranges from the paleolithic to the present. Everything on Smarthistory is completely free and our content is offered with no advertising. We are a small non-profit organization based in New York, but we reach millions of learners around the world. Smarthistory has received support from John and Ann Doerr, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, The Terra Foundation for American Art, The Walton Family Foundation, The College Board, Khan Academy, The Google Cultural Institute, and individual donors.

Media Contacts
Steven Zucker, Smarthistory
845-553-4729 | steven@smarthistory.org

Beth Bobbitt, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
479-418-5774 | beth.bobbitt@crystalbridges.org