More than 160 7th graders from Thompson Middle School traveled to the Newport Art Museum on December 19, to explore the Museum and learn about the life and career of esteemed architect Richard Morris Hunt, designer of the Historic N.A. Griswold House.

This is the fourth year that the Art Department of the Newport Public Schools has partnered with the Newport Art Museum to bring the entire 7th grade to the galleries to experience the fine art and history of this institution in their own back yard. In preparation for this year’s visit, Cristin Searles Bilodeau, Director of Community Engagement at the Newport Art Museum, collaborated with Nicolle Icart and Diane Sheehan of Newport Public Schools to design tour content that expanded upon the students’ class curriculum.

Students learned the history of the Griswold “cottage”, which then became the headquarters for the Art Association of Newport, and later the Newport Art Museum. They engaged in looking closely at contemporary artworks in the Museum’s collection, studied and discussed Hunt’s architectural drawings and site plans for the Griswold House and subsequent projects, and sketched the ornate stick-style interior of the galleries.

Museum educators will visit the 7th grade students in their school art classrooms in January to guide students in translating their interior architectural sketches to 3-dimensional, mixed media facades.

The Newport Art Museum’s Gallery Guide program, which recently celebrated its one year anniversary, makes it easy for teachers to take their classrooms on organized, engaging, and educational site-based learning experiences. Museum staff members handle all details and offer pre-visit program curriculum, so participating teachers can focus on their students and making connections between the experience and what students are learning in the classroom.

Before their visit to the Museum, students studied the life and career of esteemed architect Richard Morris Hunt. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Before their visit to the Museum, students studied the life and career of esteemed architect Richard Morris Hunt. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Before their visit to the Museum, students studied the life and career of esteemed architect Richard Morris Hunt. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Sitting on the Museum’s landing, students hear from a Museum educator about the historic Griswold House’s “Stick-Style” interior. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Sitting on the Museum’s landing, students hear from a Museum educator about the historic Griswold House’s “Stick-Style” interior. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Sitting on the Museum’s landing, students hear from a Museum educator about the historic Griswold House’s “Stick-Style” interior. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
A student sketches in the Museum’s Safe Room. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
A student sketches in the Museum’s Safe Room. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
A student sketches in the Museum’s Safe Room. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Museum Gallery Guide Ellen Patterson showcases pieces from the Museum’s contemporary collection. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Museum Gallery Guide Ellen Patterson showcases pieces from the Museum’s contemporary collection. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Museum Gallery Guide Ellen Patterson showcases pieces from the Museum’s contemporary collection. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Students sketch in the Museum’s Drury Gallery. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Museum Gallery Guide Tricia Baylor shows copies of Richard Morris Hunt’s original sketches of the Griswold House. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Museum Gallery Guide Tricia Baylor shows copies of Richard Morris Hunt’s original sketches of the Griswold House. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.
Museum Gallery Guide Tricia Baylor shows copies of Richard Morris Hunt’s original sketches of the Griswold House. Photo courtesy of Rich Hudson.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).