Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony "" Online Exhibition
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Post-Visit Activities

Eva Watson-Schütze
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, ca. 1915
Silver print
6 1/2 x 8 inches
Collection of the Schesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University


Eva Watson-Schütze
Jane Addams, ca 1910
Platinum print
8 x 6"
University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center


Further Lessons

  • Mapping/geography: Place Woodstock, NY in geographical context. Identify key places in NYS (Great Lakes, Erie Canal, Hudson River, capital city of Albany, Woodstock, and its proximity to NYC). This map can also be used to identify other locations where the Arts and Crafts Movement flourished.
  • Assembly line vs. individual production: Create a sandwich in an assembly line, vs. make it individually. What are the advantages and disadvantages to each approach?
  • Write haikus about the Arts and Crafts movement, Byrdcliffe, or an individual work of art: Haikus, Japanese lyric poems consisting of three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables, are compelling as a form of assessment. Students are asked to synthesize their understanding in a clear, concise way.
  • Explore the impact of urbanization, reform movements, progressive thinkers of the period, and the Industrial Revolution on the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States. Introduce the writings of Jane Addams, Walt Whitman, photographs of Jacob Riis, map of United States showing growth of cities, graphs illustrating immigration rates, etc.

Further Research and Topics for Discussion

  • Investigate the role of women at Byrdcliffe: see essays by Nancy Green, Ellen Denker, and Heidi Nasstrom Evans in the exhibition catalogue.
  • From Byrdcliffe to Bob Dylan: Discover the legacy of Byrdcliffe and its impact on present day Woodstock by exploring Hervey White and his own art colony called the Maverick. Maverick became well known for their summer music festivals, the antecedent to the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969.
  • Assess the success of the Arts and Crafts movement as a movement based on democracy of design and beauty for all. Who was able to afford the products of Byrdcliffe, Roycroft, and Stickley? What do your students think about the resurgence of popularity of the Arts and Crafts style? Why might the Arts and Crafts style be gaining so much popularity now?

Field Trip Ideas

  • Take a trip to an antique shop. Can you find any Arts and Crafts pieces? Take a field trip to a contemporary furniture store. Do you see any Arts and Crafts reproductions? Do you have any at home, school?
  • Where else in your community might you find Arts and Crafts pieces? Take a walking tour of your local community. Are there examples of Arts and Crafts architecture? What local flora and fauna would have inspired the artists and artisans of the Arts and Crafts movement?

Community Connection

  • Compare the larger social and artistic movements of the turn-of-the-century America to New York State and your local community. Example: Life in Ithaca, NY in 1903. How does your local community mirror (or contrast with) the patterns of change happening in the rest of the country at the time Byrdcliffe was founded?