Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum’


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.


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

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