Hit a Home Run with Community-Based Learning this Summer through Local Baseball!

Art, History, and Baseball: Learning from a Great American Pastime

Be a part of a great American pastime this summer and head to the ballfield! Families can explore everything from art and design to American history by using baseball as a lens through which to explore local museums, online resources, and fantastic children’s literature.

A springtime standard for many western Massachusetts families, the sport of baseball is certainly one of our country’s favorite pastimes. Certainly the sport has much to offer families in terms of entertainment, but baseball as a topic of study can serve as an entry point into learning about much more than team dynamics and the specifics of the game. Baseball-inspired studies can spark explorations of civil rights, immigration, local and national history, art, design, and more.

While most youth baseball and softball teams play their seasons during the late spring and early summer, baseball as a spectator sport carries on throughout the summer and early fall. Locally, three collegiate summer teams make a summer outing to a baseball game quite accessible for families. The Pittsfield Suns play at Wahconah Park, Holyoke’s Valley Blue Sox‘s home games are at Mackenzie Stadium, and the North Adams SteepleCats play at Joe Wolfe Field.

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Art and The Civil Rights Movement

Norman Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With

Norman Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With, painted in 1963, is considered an iconic image of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The painting depicts six year-old Ruby Bridges walking to school accompanied by four U.S. marshals. As part of desegregation, Ruby was the first African American student to attend the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Read the rest of this entry »

Art, History, and Baseball: Learning from a Great American Pastime

Wendell Minor’s America: Premier Historical Picture Book Illustrator on Exhibit at Norman Rockwell Museum

Exhibition Celebrates 25 Years of Work by Historical Picture Book Illustrator Wendell Minor
Saturday, November 9, 2013 – Monday, May 26, 2014

Image credit: Wendell Minor, “Abraham Lincoln Comes Home,” 2008. Cover illustration for “Abraham Lincoln Comes Home” by Robert Burleigh, Henry Holt and Co. Watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©Wendell Minor. All rights reserved.

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, invites families to “Wendell Minor’s America,” a special exhibition featuring more than 150 original artworks, artifacts, and references from illustrator Wendell Minor’s distinguished portfolio.

The award-winning illustrator drew his way through childhood in Aurora, Illinois, inspired by the richly illustrated magazines that were so much a part of American life during the mid-twentieth century. The exhibition celebrates his many cover illustrations and his 25th anniversary illustrating children’s books, each of which has been inspired by Minor’s love of history, art, science, and the natural world…

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A Family Guide to Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People
A Family Guide

Designed specifically for families interested in extending art studies past a museum trip, the Norman Rockwell Family Guide is full of Rockwell’s work and includes information and questions to keep in mind while examining the images.

The month of February is artist Norman Rockwell’s birthday month!  His birthday was on the 3rd, and to celebrate, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA continues to offer resources for families to learn about his art.  In addition to the works available in the museum’s galleries, families can take an even greater in-depth look at Rockwell’s art using information available on the museum’s website.  There is a biography page, which includes a timeline of Rockwell’s life and work.  Another page offers information on exhibits past and present of Rockwell’s work, as well as a slideshow of the collection.  There is accompanying information for many of the images- it’s a great way to prepare for a visit to the museum or to get a glimpse in to his artwork if you’re not able to go.

Also, newly added to the site is a special Family Guide you can download.  Designed specifically for families interested in extending art studies past a museum trip, the guide is full of Rockwell’s work and includes information and questions to keep in mind while examining the images.  Questions range from plain observations to more critical questions about what you can deduce about the inspiration for the painting, the creation process, or the cultural context of an image’s creation just by looking at a piece of art.  The available resources can supplement learning done while visiting the museum or be used at home along with studies of other artists.  Rockwell’s work is particularly useful for teaching kids to look critically at images because most of his paintings are depictions of everyday events.  The images that kids will be considering are similar to the types of illustrations that they see in picture books- it’s a logical place to begin!

For more formal educators, the museum also offers a downloadable Educator’s Resource Packet and lessons plans for secondary students, as well as programs for schools (K-12) and both a Girl & Boy Scouts.

Norman Rockwell Museum is located on 36 park-like acres in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Rockwell’s hometown for the last 25 years of his life. The Museum is open year-round; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information visit the Museum online at www.nrm.org.

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