Posts Tagged ‘Julia Einstein’

h1

Hike Through History

June 25, 2019

South Berwick

In May I was invited to the Hamilton House and Vaughn Woods in South Berwick for the 25th anniversary of Hike Through History. It’s an annual teaching and learning opportunity in RSU #35 that continues to be a success due to the commitment of many educators and volunteers. It is usually held in town so it was a treat to have it in such a beautiful woodsy setting.

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leaders and Music Educators Kate Smith and Kris Bisson collaborated in teaching traditional dances and music. First they taught the 8th grade students from Marshwood Middle School several dance steps and they turned around and taught the elementary students. In addition, they also taught a few modern dances. Melanie Crowe, Marshwood Middle School art teacher and MALI Teacher Leader worked with students teaching them techniques and they turned around and taught elementary students. Printmaking, weaving, painting on stone and poetry. I was so impressed with the level of engagement of the 500 students who visited and provided the instruction. And, the hundreds of volunteers and parents. It was simply wonderful – a real community collaboration.

All of the photos in the blog post were taken at the two stations where Kris, Kate and Melanie were.

The information below was provided by Julia Einstein, Education Program Coordinator for Historic New England, who plays an integral part in the success of the Hike Through History.

For this year’s Hike, it was all about character studies—and for the grade eight students to look at each person, or family, as a character you can “inhabit” after you have researched the parts of their life. As a result, the student is able to enjoy this way of learning as he/she  steps into the history of the people and of this place that was once the center of the town of South Berwick. This location at Hamilton House (built in 1785) and Vaughn Woods tells the story of the native people, first settlers, the start of America, and how we changed from an agricultural to an industrial nation. Inventiveness and inventions through these times, from a shipbuilding, navigation on water, and early photography.

It was a pleasure for me to be able to write the content for the student’s work in the classroom, as well as to mentor two grade eight classes for this special, new Hike. I, along with a committee of content writers, each put together our topic to include main Ideas, characters to include, vocabulary, possible Activities, and sources for additional Research.

Here’s a brief overview of what I put together:

Hamilton House Walk Through

Topic:  Hamilton House’s long, long, life — three families over 236 years! — and the different ways they lived.

Main Ideas: Did you ever “read” a house? If we learn to “read” the details left behind, a house can tell stories of the people who lived there long ago!  The Hamilton House contains lots of history, as there were three owners, over different centuries.

Possible Activities: A student tour of the first floor of the Hamilton House–a guided walk into 1785 and walk out in 1898 in which the 8th grade students give the elementary visitors the prompts to observe, notice details, and ask questions. Also, create activities or experiences to share the lives of the three different families who lived there.  Why were they there?  What did they value about the house and land?

Inspired by History: Elise Tyson & Sarah Orne Jewett

Topic: Historical preservation, Literary and Visual Arts in the 19th century

Main Ideas: What is “inspiration”? A beautiful, historical place like the Hamilton House can give us inspiration! Elise Tyson would have taken advantage of the recent invention of a (more) portable box camera to move around and photograph outside and inside the Hamilton House. One is able to look into her photographs to study the early days of film photography. It was very rare for women to be photographers during this era! Sarah Orne Jewett would have used her portable wicker writing box to write on site. One is able to read her fiction (The Tory Lover) and non-fiction (River Driftwood) based upon the landscape and characters of the Hamilton House, as seen in these excerpts:
River Driftwood She described Hamilton House in 1881 as being “like a glimpse of sunshiny, idle Italy: the sparkling river and the blue sky, the wide green shores and the great gray house, with its two hall doors standing wide open, the lilacs in bloom and no noise or hurry, – a quiet place, that the destroying left hand of progress had failed to touch.”
The Tory Lover “As for Colonel Hamilton, the host,” she wrote, “a strong-looking, bright-colored man in the middle thirties, the softness of a suit of brown, and his own hair well dressed and powdered, did not lessen a certain hardness in his face, a grave determination, and maturity of appearance far beyond the due of his years. Hamilton had easily enough won the place of chief shipping merchant and prince of money-makers in that respectable group, and until these dark days of war almost every venture by land or sea had added to his fortunes. The noble house that he had built was still new enough to be the chief show and glory of a rich provincial neighborhood.” Due to these two friends’ inspiration and love of history, we are now lucky enough to be able to learn about and experience this beautiful house and grounds.

It was also an wonderful opportunity for me to expand upon a school program that is already in place for grade three students of Central School, “Amoungst Friends, Sarah Orne Jewett and her Circle.”  This circle expanded to her friends Emily and Elise Tyson (later Elise Tyson Vaughn and her husband Henry Vaughn), who she convinced to purchase and restore the house to it’s Hamilton era glory–and in the process to preserve history.  In a visit to all third grade classrooms, I introduced the students to the Hamilton House and guided the students to make a Captain’s Log. When the students visited the house, they were guided to make an observation, both inside and outside in the garden, and record in his/her log, by writing & through sketching. We also played a Maritime Trade Game–with a partner, the students used a World  Map to find the source, the countries from which  “raw” materials brought back to South Berwick by Jonathan Hamilton’s ships. It was a ton of fun–a great way to prepare for the special upcoming Hike.

h1

Make History: Community as Classroom

May 17, 2018

Historic New England Collaboration

Thank you to Julia Einstein, Education Program Coordinator for Historic New England in Maine for providing this blog post called Make History Redux.

Megan Zachau’s embroidered homage to the grand window in the Sarah Orne Jewett House.

The 2nd annual exhibition of “Make History,” once again celebrates collaboration!  Year two of a project is always filled with a certain amount of anticipation mixed in with lots of excitement.  We all were ready for surprises and inspired by the endless possibilities. Historic New England and Marshwood High School brought together students to create personal meanings and visual interpretations from the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum in South Berwick. Myself, and Marilyn Keith Daley, were proud to partner this year with art teachers Jeff Vinciguerra, and Rebecca Poliquin, in the department headed by Patricia Sevigny Higgins, recipient of the 2018 Maine Art Education Association’s Distinguished Educator Award.

Joni Mitchell once said to an audience (recorded on her 1974 live album) “…nobody ever said to Van Gogh, ‘Paint a Starry Night again, man!’ You know? He painted it and that was it.” For us, we counted on our community saying, “teach Make History again!” That is the joy of creating a learning experience, and the art of being a teacher. There’s always a repeat performance to look forward to.  New students, when added to a different context, generates change.

The teachers and students, just as in 1891 when Jewett invited artist friends Marcia Oakes and

Sarah Orne Jewett as superhero in a mixed media collage by Mikayla Smith.

Charles Woodbury to work in her home, immersed themselves in the writer’s surroundings to develop ideas for their art. The Woodburys’ drawings became illustrations for Sarah Orne Jewett’s novel, Deephaven.”  The teachers’ study resulted in classroom lessons and the student work became a public exhibition. Unique to our program was a visit from Peter and Chris Woodbury—the grandsons of Marcia Oakes and Charles Woodbury.

I like being witness to creativity at the moment of inspiration. In the house, the students explored rooms and collections, including art by the Woodbury’s as well as Sarah Wyman Whitman, and Celia Thaxter, and investigated the influence of Jewett’s surroundings on her work.  The visit took the form of a “classroom in the museum,” as students selected a space in the house to study, sketch, or write.  I enjoyed sharing the spot of the famous author’s writing desk, where Jewett had tacked up a piece of paper on which she had

Ceramic work on view in the Make History exhibition.

written, “Écrire la vie ordinaire comme on écrit l’histoire,” her inspiration from the work of the early 19th century French writer, Gustave Flaubert which translates, “the artist’s job is to write ordinary life as if writing history.”

When the collaboration was first proposed to Jeff Vinciguerra, he recalls, “Everything about this project fits perfectly with my own philosophies as an educator. This process has been a great way to shake up my routine and make meaningful connections between my classroom, the community, and local history.” His ceramic students worked out ideas using the concept of a blueprint, where everything from decorative details to structure and shape are worked out on paper before the clay is brought into the studio.  Rebecca Poliquin was inspired to use this project as a model in her current studies for

Marshwood High School students used the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum as their classroom.

a Master of Art Teaching degree. She says, “This collaboration with the Sarah Orne Jewett house has proven to be an effective and exciting way to motivate high school students to create authentic artwork.  My Mixed Media class developed themes or big ideas that were inspired by their visit to the Sarah Orne Jewett House; Themes included history, nature, time, and place.”

And so, the students became interpreters of history. A ceramic fountain, a birdbath and garden painting references Jewett’s writing on the subject of the natural world. Several student artists invite you to notice details in everyday objects, wallpaper, fixtures—to show what they themselves noticed. Writing itself is a subject. The author’s famous

The exhibition reception was lively as each student artist engaged in gallery talk

signature —is highlighted into the design of vase much like “SOJ” was etched by Jewett into a pane of her bedroom window over 125 years ago. A contemporary portrait presents Sarah Orne Jewett transformed –into a superhero. Of course, any translation of Colonial Revival Period décor would not be complete without a bust of George Washington—and we have one—in cobalt blue.

All are invited to Make History: Community as Classroom, and then visit the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum with a new perspective. The exhibition is currently on view for one more weekend at the gallery in the Sarah Orne Jewett Visitor Center through Saturday, May 19. Hours are from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 207-384-2454, or check the WEBSITE.

Sketchbooks show us the act of “being there” in the student’s visual document.

Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center is one of 36 house museums owned and operated by Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the country.   Historic New England is devoted to education, making connections in the communities, and offering unique opportunities to experience the lives and stories of New Englanders through their homes and possessions.

h1

Sarah Orne Jewett House

September 28, 2017

Art of Dining exhibition

This fall, Julia Einstein, Education Program Coordinator for Historic New England, prepared an educational component, to be on view in the Art of Dining exhibition at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Visitor Center in South Berwick. There are three parts, a participatory family exhibit, a take-away gallery card, and an interactive learning experience for the Education Space in the Sarah Orne Jewett House. The objective is to engage the family audience and to connect the exhibition with a visit to the Sarah Orne Jewett House. In the exhibit, a temporary wall, painted with magnetic paint, invites the family visitor to “Set the Table!” as they mix and match table linens, plates, cups and silver from the collection in the Sarah Orne Jewett House to design a table-scape. And, to take a photo and send it us to be part of our community table on social media.

Oversized exhibit text invites families with kids of all ages to set the table with a lovely passage from Sarah Orne Jewett’s novel for children, Betty Leicester, published in 1889. “To lay the table and step lightly, “she answered, shaking with laughter. And Betty followed her directions until the square dinner table stood in the middle of the floor, covered with a nice homespun linen cloth of which the history had to be told.”  Parents, and children who are able to read, are introduced to the activity with a bit of introduction, “19th century children were expected to obey the same table rules as adults. Table manners were taught as primary lessons to transform boys into young gentleman and girls into ladies. Today, be inspired by history to set your place at the table.”

The take-away gallery card guides family visitors to look for ideas and concepts behind the art on view, and to use on their tour of the Sarah Orne Jewett House. Using the card upon entering The Art of Dining, they are directed to “Look for a Happy Birthday party, a picnic, and take-out food & imagine yourself at the tables. Notice the make-believe in painted, sculpted, and woven objects.” Most fun is when the card travels with families as they cross the lawn and enter the house museum.  In their visit, they are guided to look for tabletops with books, photographs, natural objects, and to wonder how each was collected, and loved by Sarah Orne Jewett.  When one reads the text on the card aloud in the dining room, it instructs to “Imagine a family dinner party in this grand old house and all the table talk that made its way into the stories of Sarah Orne Jewett.”

At the end of their tour of the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum, in the Education Space, an inter-activity table is set for “hands-on” learning and to connect the exhibition with their visit as a set of directions encourage families to “be inspired by the hand painted teacup by artist and poet Celia Thaxter to create your own designs and set the table for tea,” with step by step directions on how to create a set of paper tea cups.

Perhaps the most exciting part—school groups will be able to have this experience included in the elementary school program at the site! The program, Amongst Friends: Sarah Orne Jewett and Her World, focuses on Jewett’s experiences in South Berwick and around the world through her writing and the artistic endeavors of her wide circle of friends.

The Art of Dining is on view at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center in South Berwick through February 17, 2018. This exhibition presents installations by regional artists Suzanne Pretty, Julie K. Gray, Adriane Herman, Jo Hatlevig, Tinka Pritchett, Diane Stradling, Rachel Eastman, John David O’Shaughnessy, and Mickey McGarrity. The educational installation, Set the Table, was funded in part by the Sam L. Cohen Foundation. For more info, call 207 384 2454 x2 or email JEinstein@HistoricNewEngland.org

h1

Make History: Community as Classroom

May 5, 2017

Sarah Orne Jewett

Recently I had the chance to visit the Sarah Orne Jewett House in South Berwick. I learned so much during my visit that was guided by Julia Einstein, Education Program Coordinator for Maine at Historic New England. Julia has kindly provided this blog post so you can learn about the collaborative work that happened between Berwick Academy art and music students under her guidance and those of the schools art and music teachers. At the bottom of the post you will find information on Historic New England.

The Making of “Make History: Community as Classroom.”

The creative collaboration between nineteenth century visual artists and author Sarah Orne Jewett was the inspiration for Make History: Community as Classroom. This interdisciplinary project was a mixing of media—arts + literature + history—and a way to delve into innovation, and how ideas are made. The concept “classroom in the museum” translated in the way high school students were able to self-select spaces in the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum to study, sketch, write, read passages from a Sarah Orne Jewett story or novel, and to practice a piece of period music.

An exhibition came as a result of this collaborative learning experience between myself, at Historic New England, and Berwick Academy Arts Faculty Raegan Russell and Seth Hurd.

Marilyn Keith Daley, Site Manager at the Sarah Orne Jewett House, used the work synergy in describing the project and it fits. She and I saw this as a way to bring a contemporary energy to a visitor’s tour of Sarah Orne Jewett’s House. Jewett invited artists Marcia Oakes Woodbury and Charles Woodbury into her home to work out the sketches for what became the illustrations for her novel, Deephaven. This allowed for the Woodburys to become immersed in –to fall in love with—the subject in the pages of her novel. They sketched onsite—as did the students of Berwick Academy –and they came to know this house—this main character of her novel.

Students in Studio Art Honors, Advanced Placement Art, and Chamber Chorus were inspired to create personal meanings in the story of the Sarah Orne Jewett House in both visual and performance-based interpretations. In the exhibition, visitors see the time it took for an idea to evolve. They are able to search through the very same sketchbooks used by the students on their visits to the Jewett House to look for connections with their final work. Student statements, written in long hand as Jewett wrote the manuscripts of her novels, bring the artist’s voice into the gallery.

I like unveiling the creative process from that of the 19th century and today. I wanted these high school students to become interpreters of history. In multiple visits to the house, their learning was made visible as they were prompted to stop, look, and to put down on paper what they saw in a quick jotting of initial “noticings.” When guided to look longer, and given passages from Jewett to read, words jumped out and transformed from a historical source into something that feels real in the context of this space. Students sketched, and noted their responses in the spot where Willa Cather visited Jewett. The students read out loud part of a letter Jewett sent to her friend, “The thing that teases the mind over and over for years, and at last gets itself put down rightly on paper — whether little or great, it belongs to Literature.”

In the art classroom, the question “How can artists interpret time through visual means?” led sketchbook exploration, and the creation of a small body of work in a selected media. In the music classroom, the Chamber Chorus explored a piece written in the same decade as Jewett’s novel, Deephaven. They recorded the period piece in the Jewett house for visitors to listen, to imagine the year 1893, and to be transported to a parlor performance.

In the exhibition, a paper sculpture—made from pages copied from a Jewett book—is a dreamy walk in paper shoes on a tufted surface because the artist saw the knobbed bedspread knots in Jewett’s bedroom. Another student saw the same bedroom, yet is interested in what you do not see—intimate, casual images, unlike posed photographs of Jewett, The artist paints you into one—of waking in her bed and looking out the window. In another work, it is about how your eyes adjust to light and movement of 19th century invention, an optical amusement, in 3 beautifully constructed zoetropes. There is an exploration into what is modern. What was modern then—the newness and excitement of cobalt blue in wallpaper—what is modern now?

Several artists invite you to notice details—of objects, wallpaper, fixtures, and translates them into watercolor patchwork, stenciled fashion design, a magical still-life, and a cubist musical instrument. And, the book itself as subject. An artist’s book greets you upon entrance to the exhibition—and you can pick it up, read & turn the pages. It introduces this exhibition as a visual reading into works of art, and prepares you to see a wonderful scrolled portrait of Sarah Orne Jewett with her chapters made larger than life. Enjoy Make History: Community as Classroom, and then see the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum with “new eyes.”

The exhibition Make History: Community as Classroom was funded in part with a grant from the Sam L. Cohen Foundation. It is currently on view for one more weekend at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center in South Berwick, Maine, through Saturday, May 6. Hours are from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 207-384-2454, or CLICK HERE.

Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center is one of 36 house museums owned and operated by Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the country.  Historic New England is devoted to education, making connections in the communities, and offering unique opportunities to experience the lives and stories of New Englanders through their homes and possessions.

%d bloggers like this: