Posts Tagged ‘Make History’


Make History

May 12, 2019

Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum

You are invited to Make History at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum

5 Portland Street South Berwick, Maine

Historic New England celebrates the third annual Make History, an exhibition featuring the work of Berwick Academy and Marshwood High School art and music students with a reception on Thursday, May 2, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center and Education Space.

Both the exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public. Make History is the culmination of an educational collaboration with educators Seth Hurd, Raegan Russell, Jeff Vinciguerra, and Julia Einstein, in which students were inspired to create personal meanings from the Sarah Orne Jewett House story through visual and performance-based interpretations. On visits to the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum, students explored rooms and collections, including objects by Marcia Oakes Woodbury and Charles Woodbury, Sarah Wyman Whitman, and Celia Thaxter, investigating the influence of Jewett’s surroundings on her work. One visit took the form of “classroom in the museum,” as students selected a space in the house to study, sketch, or write. Students and teachers came just as in 1891, when Jewett invited artist friends Marcia Oakes and Charles Woodbury to work in her home to immerse themselves in her surroundings and her writing to develop the drawings that would become the illustrations for her book, Deephaven.”

The project was the conceived by Historic New England Maine Education Program Coordinator Julia Einstein. Said Einstein, “I enjoy creating learning spaces to cultivate the creative process. New thinking, and fresh ways of looking excite young people to come up with original ideas.” Visitors to the exhibition will look for ways the students have connected art and history. Two students from Berwick Academy’s Senior Studio Seminar share their thoughts. Eila Shea said, “What resonated with me the most about the Sarah Orne Jewett House were the details, and objects that made up each room. I focused on the small, but beautiful, and often peculiar things that told stories about the history of the house.” Eliana Fleischer spoke of how she found “a way to understand who a person is, is by the books they read. For an author, the books they write serve the same purpose.” Eliana goes on to describe how “Inside Sarah Orne Jewett’s house there is a beautiful library stacked high with books, and filled with furniture of various shapes and textures. I made a print which combines fragments of texture with words that were influenced by that creative place.”

Marshwood High School’s Jeff Vinciguerra, describes how “Everything about this project fits perfectly with my own philosophies as an educator. When students are tasked with designing and making a piece of art which will be displayed in the community, that increased sense of responsibility kicks the students creativity and work ethic into high gear. As an educator I really enjoy this project because it takes students out of the classroom and into the real world and allows us all to see what they are really capable of. The results are consistently impressive. I’m always proud of their hard work and diligent efforts. And to see them connecting in some way to the past history from our hometown is an experience I wish everyone was able to partake in.” Principal, Paul Mehlhorn has expressed an interest in the project becoming a purposeful part of the curriculum going forward where it happens each year.” Raegan Russell, of Berwick Academy adds “the Make History Project has been a thoughtful collaboration between my art students and the Sarah Orne Jewett House. Our students visited the historic home of Jewett, read excerpts of her writing and were invited to experience the space personally and authentically. They were given sketchbook prompts that encouraged them to find what resonated with them, and to discover what questions they had about Jewett, and her time. Our art students further explored these ideas in their sketchbooks, and ultimately through an expressive art work.” Seth Hurd’s Berwick Academy Chorus recorded a period piece of music in the historic house museum to create an audio installation to the exhibition. He is pleased to work on “projects like this one, which align perfectly with our student centered and project -based curriculum at Berwick Academy.”

Make History is on exhibit at the Sarah Orne Jewett Visitor Center until May 18, 2019, and at the Sarah Orne Jewett Museum Education Space until June 30, 2019. Hours are first and third Saturdays, through May, and Friday – Sunday, from June 1 – October 15, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, please call Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center, 207-384-2454, or visit the website The project and exhibition wad funded in part by the Sam L. Cohen Foundation.

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.


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.

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