Dickinson College / Gilder Lehrman Institute

decorating the classroom


I know the point to our group is to work with technology, but I am too happy with this not to share. I have two murals in my classroom. The first one will be in another post. The mural here is on the east wall of my room, created by last years’ students. It’s 12 feet wide. The main point is the constitutional crisis take on the Civil War. This is how I get at the slavery question. Yes, I considered having the kids add slaves, but human figures are tricky and we decided against. I feel strongly about the House Divided, so they divided Lincoln’s own Springfield house. On the far right is the Gettysburg Address. It’s roughly 5 feet high. We projected the G.A. from an overhead and a steady student traced it with Sharpie. It looks great, even nose-up to it. We did the same with “We the People”, but didn’t even attempt to write more. We all felt the point was made. We tried to find a simple way to show Lincoln, and someone thought of the funeral. As for authenticity, the Lincoln Museum folks sent me a photo of a model of his final funeral carriage… it was a loaner, and WAY too ornate to replicate. Forget it. But someone saw pictures of other presidents’ funerals, particularly Kennedy, and we agreed to what is here. The exaggerated tophat takes care of the Lincoln reference.


Cool Tagxedo of Douglass’s “Cast Off the Mill-Stone,” Sept. 1861


the first painting


  1. janeapplebee

    This is great Mike. I think that projects like this are a wonderful way to connect students to history. (What is falling out of the Union sleeve? Is it something on the wall?)

  2. Mike

    Thanks. The thing is the fire alarm. We painted the red part but not the glass.

    Next up is to find a stash of the right ceiling tiles and start painting maps on them. Not sure it will fly with admin, but as they say, “it’s better to get in trouble for that than for what I’m going to get in trouble for otherwise.” Ok, maybe it’s just me who says it 🙂

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