Creating New Spaces: Artists and Historic Sites Converge
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
10:00 am to 2:30 pm
Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke, MA
Presented by the Historic Sites PAG
Registration Deadline:  April 5, 2017

Registration Fees:  $65 NEMA Members; $95 Non-member; $50 Student

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Artists of all stripes offer fresh ways of seeing and experiencing a historic site. Visual, performing, and literary artists invite museum visitors and staff to take risks and consider new perspectives. But what makes an artistic collaboration successful? Are artistic residencies sustainable beyond a season or two? How do audiences respond to this atypical use of a historic site? And what happens to the “real” history when artists and performers take the interpretive lead? This workshop presents case studies of partnerships with artists at historic sites around New England. Featured sites include Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT, Herman Melville's Arrowhead in Pittsfield, MA, and Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, NH.


10:00     Coffee and networking

10:15     Welcome & Introductions

10:20     An Inspired Collaboration: Artist-in-Residence at Governor John Langdon House
Linda Marshall, Regional Site Manager, Historic New England
In 2016, Historic New England launched its first ever artist-in-residence program at Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The program was done in partnership with New England Sculptors Association (NESA), and grew out of an exhibition of contemporary sculpture also done in partnership with NESA and on view at Langdon House the previous year. Hear how Historic New England and NESA created a residency program from the ground up, including establishing goals for the program, developing a budget, selecting an artist and defining parameters of the residency, and preparing a studio space. Program sustainability will also be addressed.

10:55     Break

11:00     Making a Personal History Live Again
Peter Bergman, Director of Communications and Community Outreach, Arrowhead/Berkshire Historical Society
Arrowhead, the one-time home of the Melville family and the place where “Moby Dick” was written, has been many things, -- today, the site is home to the Berkshire Historical Society, whose collections cover more than 200 years of Berkshire County history. This presentation will discuss how bringing creative writing back to Arrowhead, through a writer in residence program and “pop-up” writers’ studio, has been a key element of Berkshire Historical Society’s community engagement strategy. Peter will also cover the new partnerships that have resulted from this work, the stumbling blocks along the way, and what it means to have a writer back in Melville’s study.

11:35     Break

11:45     Remarks, Kate Preissler, Director of Wistariahurst

12:00    Self-guided tours of house/gardens

12:45     Lunch

1:20        Theatrical Holiday Tours at the Hill-Stead Museum        
Kate Ebner, Director of Educational Programs, Hill-Stead Museum
As a historic house museum nestled in the woods and neighborhoods of a small town, Hill-Stead Museum is often described as a “hidden gem” and a “best kept secret.” Collaborations are essential and not only provide visibility, they also keep us relevant. Last December, Hill-Stead unveiled a new holiday program:  theatrical holiday tours. The program relied upon a close partnership with a local high school’s theater department. Join us for this workshop and learn from our mistakes and successes from this unique artistic collaboration. 

1:55        Wrap-up