Integrating Local Art: New Bern’s WPA Murals

By Steven Hill, History Teacher, J.H. Rose High School, Greenville, NC

Summers usually find me teaching a class or two at ECU, but I also make it a point to do some authentic research on a topic of personal interest. This summer, I chose to investigate WPA murals in North Carolina. My research led me to discover that there were some interesting Depression-era murals in nearby New Bern. Unfortunately, I could not find adequate images of them online. So I gained access to the Federal Courthouse and took photographs to use in my history lessons and share with colleagues this fall. I plan to explore the images in conjunction with my classroom lessons about the American Revolution, judicial review, and use of the printing press.

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Take a look at my Lesson Plan to see more images of the New Bern murals and how I plan to incorporate them into my curriculum using discussion strategies I learned at a North Carolina Museum of Art teacher workshop.

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Look around your local community for art resources to integrate into your instruction. You will be surprised what you might find just down the road. Your local arts council can help point you in the right direction.

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