Monday, October 06, 2008

A Tale of Two Houses: Two Events

Two Events at Perrot Memorial Library

The Florence Griswold MuseumThe FGM from A to Z: An Alphabetical Introduction to the Florence Griswold Museum and the Lyme Art Colony
With speaker David Rau
Monday, November 3rd, 2008, 7:30 PM

The art colony at Old Lyme was part of an international trend for artists to retreat from the modernity of the cities in search of picturesque subject matter in the country. By 1900, several New York artists made the trek to the New England village of Old Lyme to stay in the boardinghouse run by Miss Florence Griswold. Born a sea captain’s daughter and raised in one of the grandest houses in the village, by the turn-of-the-last-century she was an unmarried, childless woman with only the house to generate income. Lucky for her, and for the history of American art, some of the countriy's finest painters decided to consider the house their “home away from home” for the first three decades of the 20th century. Today, the Florence Griswold Museum tells the story of the Lyme Art Colony and life in the “holy house” on 11 acres of riverfront property in the charming village of Old Lyme.

David Rau has been the Director of Education & Outreach at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme since 1998. Most recently, Rau played a key role in the reinterpretation of the Griswold House as a boardinghouse for the Lyme Art Colony as well as the Museum’s new triad of on-line learning resources ( Since his arrival at the Florence Griswold Museum, Rau has initiated a broad array of new educational programming at the Museum, designed to promote active, experiential and life-long learning opportunities for a diverse audience. Rau holds a Master’s degree in the History of Art and a Certificate in Museum Practice from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Rau has held positions at Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan; and The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire. He also currently teaches in the Museum Studies program at Connecticut College.

Bush-Holley HouseThe Bush-Holley House: American Impressionists and Their Friends
With speakers Marybeth Gioffre Nisco and Anne Young
Monday, November 17th, 2008, at 7:30 PM

Operating as a boarding house for artists by proprietors Edward and Josephine Holley, Holley House, in Cos Cob, Connecticut, was a lively hub of activity and creativity from the 1890s until the 1920s. Home of the Cos Cob art colony, the house (set on a harbor) drew many well-known American Impressionists, including Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, Childe Hassam, J. Alden Weir, Elmer MacRae and Ernest Lawson, who painted, studied and exchanged ideas. In addition to painters, the Cos Cob art colony attracted writers and editors such as muckraker Lincoln Steffens, editor Viola Roseboro, author Willa Cather, author and illustrator Ernest Thompson Seton, and other literary figures. Learn more about the Impressionist artists, their work and inspiration, as well as life at the boarding house for artists. A discussion based on photographs, letters and diaries will also bring to life the bohemian atmosphere that prevailed at Holley House. The talk will also include a few “behind-closed-door” stories of the house that is now a National Historic Landmark.

Marybeth Gioffre Nisco is the Assistant Director of Education for School and Adult Programs for The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich at Bush-Holley Historic Site. She has been with the Historical Society since March, where she has been actively developing new exhibition-related programs for both adults and schools, and training the docent team. Prior to her position, Marybeth completed an internship in the Education Department at the Bruce Museum, where she also served as a docent. As a certified and tenured social studies teacher, Marybeth has taught at Fox Lane Middle School in Bedford, NY, and at Mount St. Michael Academy in New York City. Marybeth holds a B.A. and M.A. in history from Fordham University. As a Presidential Scholarship recipient, she earned a Master's with a concentration in Medieval European history.

Anne Young has been the Curator of Special Collections at the Historical Society for the Town of Greenwich since 2006. She holds a Master's Degree in Information Science from SUNY Albany, and is a graduate of the Sotheby’s Works of Art program in American Fine and Decorative Arts. Anne has held archivist positions at The Frick Art Reference Library in New York City, The Shaker Museum and Library in Old Chatham, NY, and The Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT. Anne is active in community heritage and serves on the Historic District Commission in Greenwich. She is also the recipient of the Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Research Award, as well as a member of the Grolier Club, America’s oldest bibliophile society.

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