About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Weir Farm Historic District," Weir’s writings, correspondence, and the artwork he created at the site. It was written by Gay Elizabeth Vietzke, former Supervisory Park Ranger at Weir Farm National Historic Site. It was edited by Fay Metcalf and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in studying the Industrial Revolution, America’s back-to-nature movement, the rise of middle-class culture and values, or as an introduction to American art history.
Time period: Late 19th century and early 20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1)To describe how American Impressionism replaced earlier forms of landscape painting at the end of the 19th century.
2)To describe the techniques associated with Impressionism.
3)To explain the importance of his farm to Weir’s creative process.
4)To investigate the work of artists currently working in their own community and where they get their inspiration.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) two maps of the area, and the Danbury Norwalk Railroad line and train schedule;
2) three readings that describe the American Impressionist movement, the experiences of artists at Weir's farm, and Weir's dedication to his farm;
3) three historic photographs of the farm and his daughter;
4) two paintings of different scenes on the farm.
Visiting the site
Weir Farm National Historic Site is administered by the National Park Service. The area is located approximately 45 miles to the northeast of New York City near the towns of Wilton and Ridgefield, Connecticut, and can be reached by taking Route 7 to Route 102 West in Branchville, left on Old Branchville Road, and left again on Nod Hill Road. For more information, contact the Superintendent, Weir Farm National Historic Site, 735 Nod Hill Road, Wilton, CT 06897, or visit the park's Web page.