Constructing a Culture

Sensible Schooling

In 1945, the use of films in the classroom meant more than turning down the lights and putting on a Hollywood blockbuster when the teacher didn’t feel like teaching.

Educational films aimed to enhance the learning experiences of students. Many people believed that by using films in classrooms teachers could reach a wider audience and help them achieve their educational aims more efficiently than they would be able to otherwise.

But, the use of educational films also opened the door to the development of the visual culture of 1945-1955. Visual images were alluring and engaging to students and non-students alike. Pictures, as they say, are worth a thousand words. And, the visual culture of this time period provided all the words necessary for life to be described in great detail! Films and photos, and all of the resources that went into helping them permeate society, managed to draw in the viewer and disseminate ideas.
The ideas that these artifacts of visual culture managed to spread ranged from lessons in science and civics, etiquette and family values, to the latest trends in culture and haute couture.  

Constructing a Culture aims to introduce you to both the highlights and the shadows of the visual culture of the United States from 1945-1955. 

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