Why Build a Memorial?

Beth Owens, Visual Art, Reedy Creek ES

Curriculum Units (pdf)


This curriculum unit looks at how personal identity and national identity shape our perception of history in the context of monuments and memorials. This unit will analyze how the process of designing a monument depends on the perception of the monument’s artist or sponsors and what identity they want to portray. Students will first analyze their personal identity and then study how identities are memorialized (or lost) in the creation of a monument. There is a social studies component with the national and local monuments they study. The unit will introduce three different forms of Memorials: abstract, figurative, and alternative (buildings and parks). I will introduce three examples of different approaches to monuments, The Washington Monument, The Kennedy Center, and a monument of Martin Luther King Jr. in Rocky Mount, NC. Next the students will take a trip to uptown Charlotte, NC to explore the Romare Bearden Park, the Spiral Odyssey (located in the park), and Independence Square on Trade and Tryon Streets. The culminating event will be model of a monument representing themselves or someone they admire.