How to use Teacher Resources

The American Museum of Western Art—The Anschutz Collection displays over 300 paintings that survey 200 years of westward expansion. To make the breadth of our collection more digestible in a classroom environment, we’ve broken it down into three categories.

Each of the categories below includes lesson and activity ideas on three paintings and topics for in-classroom use. The lessons include background information, an invitation to look at the paintings more closely, discussion questions, and an activity with downloadable worksheets. You will notice that the step-by-step instructions for each lesson can be adapted to or expanded on for grade levels P-12, and cover a wide array of Colorado state standards in Visual Arts, Social Studies, Reading, Writing, and Communication, and Science.


The people that inhabited and settled the American Frontier were a diverse mix of cultures and professions. Their experiences together, good and bad, shaped the character of the region.


The landscape of the Western United States is imposing and awe-inspiring, the flora and fauna, diverse and unique. Artists took inspiration from what they experienced here and used the environment to create myths, metaphors, and a modern aesthetic.


Artists interpreted events or used Western subjects to create visual narratives. Utilizing several artistic techniques and styles, they expressed the drama, action, and emotion of the real or imagined stories of the West.