Step into the Painting: Indiana History and Culture through Art

An exciting new program at the Haan Museum invites students to view art in a different way.  The Museum always features paintings of people engaged in a variety of activities from Indiana’s past. Students are invited to “Step into the Painting” and share their insights about what is depicted in each painting.

Retired teacher Lola Smith provided costumes and props to allow students to recreate some of the scenes, and developed a program to help students meet state standards in art, social studies and English. A lesson plan makes it easy for teachers to incorporate the program into the curriculum.

The Haan Museum always features paintings by Indiana’s most important artists, with a wide variety of subjects. What would it be like to play the piano or cello at T.C. Steele’s home, as his children Shirley and Daisy did?  Maybe a student would prefer to help their mother do laundry, as in “Wash Day” by Ada Shulz. Another may be absorbed in George Winter’s “Indian Encampment”, playing the “Moccasin Game”. Another could carry a bucket of milk, as in “The Milk Maids”, by Adam Emory Albright.

Students may study the artists and their paintings, and then give reports or presentations, or re-enact what they see. More advanced students can investigate what has changed, and explain the new technology or other event that caused the change. Costumes and props are available to help students re-create the scenes, so they can be photographed to document the experience. Large prints of thirteen paintings are available to use at the Haan Museum, or at the school.

Historic art can teach us a lot about our past, and the Haan Museum provides an opportunity to feel what it was like to live in Indiana before our grandparents were born. Educators may call the Museum at 765-742-6449 or e-mail for more information on making “Step into the Painting” part of their curriculum, either through a class visit to the Museum, or by borrowing the prints and costumes.


Educational Program