Lesson Plan

Nature, Art and Conservation at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

Paintings
Paintings @ Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

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Grade Level:
Eleventh Grade
Subject:
Art, Conservation, Environment, Museum Studies, Reading, Visual Arts, Writing
Duration:
1 year
Group Size:
Up to 12
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
Honors/AP US History
Keywords:
art, Hudson River School, paintings, nature, Conservation movement, George Perkins Marsh, Thomas Cole, Man and Nature, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, john muir, Ansel Adams, Carlton Watkins, William Henry Jackson, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Teton

Overview

Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School, stated “The ravages of the axe are daily increasing desecration by what is called improvement; which as yet generally destroys Nature’s beauty without substituting that of Art.”  This unit, Nature, Art and Conservation at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, will explore this very issue through on-site visits, school based lessons and independent research.  For this unit students will begin by reading Marsh’s Man and Nature...

Objective(s)

What essential questions will guide this unit and focus teaching and learning?

v  In what ways was Billings influenced by Marsh's Man and Nature?

v  What are the main themes in Hudson River School Paintings?

v  How did industrialization impact nature and influence art?

v  What is the importance of conservation today and are there lands that need to be protected today?

v  How did nature inspire artists? And in turn, how did their art inspire the conservation movement and the formation of the National Parks?

What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this unit? (A bulleted list is acceptable.)

The Students will know (Content Knowledge)…

v  History of conservation

v  History of MBRNHP

v  Artists, themes & paintings of the Hudson River School

v  Themes of nature writers like Fitz Hugh Ludlow & John Muir

v  History of photography including the work of Carleton Watkins, William Henry Jackson and Ansel Adams

v  Impact of industrialization on the land & the people

v  History of other National Parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Teton & Acadia

The Students will be able to (Specific Skills)…

v  Write multiple journal entries

v  Make observations based on place

v  Reflect on their experiences with site-based education

v  Participate in Visual Thinking Strategies while viewing paintings

v  Sketch, paint &/or photograph a landscape

v  Discern between primary & secondary sources

v  Analyze primary sources like letters & journal entries

v  Distinguish between preservation & conservation

v  Make historical connections (hometown, state, region & nation)

v  Produce final projects (documentary, newspaper article, photographic series)

v  Give formal final presentations to class & invited guests



Background

Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School, stated "The ravages of the axe are daily increasing desecration by what is called improvement; which as yet generally destroys Nature's beauty without substituting that of Art." This unit, Nature, Art and Conservation at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, will explore this very issue through on-site visits, school based lessons and independent research.

Procedure

Prior to 1st Field Experience:

Read Man and Nature

View A Place in the Land

Make journals with the assistance of art teacher who teaches book making project

Students generate questions to be explored during the site visits

1st Field Experience:

v  To get a sense of place explore the grounds, trails, forest & the Pogue

v  View photos & read primary sources related to conservation with ranger(s)

v  First on-site journal entry with sketch &/or photo

Between 1st and 2nd Field Experience:

v  Teacher presentation on the Hudson River School

v  Individual research on Hudson River School

v  Read excerpts from nature writers with guidance from American Literature teacher

v  Journal entry in response to Hudson River School & nature writers

v  View Hudson River School paintings on-line at MBRNHP website

2nd Field Experience:

v  Tour mansion & view Hudson River School paintings with ranger

v  Examine primary sources like letters & artifacts related to collection, families & conservation with curator &/or archivist

v  Journal entry in response to on-site visit

Between 2nd and 3rd Field Experience (Optional):

v  View episode 1 of Ken Burns' The National Parks: America's Greatest Idea

v  Research history of first parks (Yellowstone & Yosemite)

v  Research more recent parks like Grand Teton & MBRNHP

v  Students will choose a National Park of interest to them that can be connected to the themes of nature, art & conservation

v  Journal entry on National Parks

3rd Field Experience (Optional):

v  Ranger presentation on how MBRNHP became a National Park

v  On-site research & creative component work



Park Connections

George Perkins Marsh
Hudson River School paintings
Man and Nature



Additional Resources

Man and Nature
Art and the America Conservation Movement
The National Park's: America's Greatest Idea
A People and A Nation
Wilderness Warrior
A Place in the Land
"A Mirror With a Memory" from After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection
www.nps.gov/mabi
Olana's website (home of Frederic Edwin Church) www.olana.org
Laurance Rockefeller Preserve's website (Jackson, Wyoming) www.nps.gov/partnerships/snapshots_grandteton.htm
Brooke Newsom, art teacher, for journal making project
Martha Perkins, American Literature teacher, for nature writers and possible interdisciplinary work



Vocabulary

Hudson River School, Conservation Movement