The MacDowell Colony 

Teacher's Guide 

Episode One: Living at the Colony
Edward MacDowell and Marian
In the woods of southwestern New Hampshire, there is a magical place where artists go and create. The MacDowell Colony, located in Peterborough, was founded by Marian MacDowell, the widow of composer Edward MacDowell, on the farm they purchased in 1896. The Colony consists of 32 one-room studio cottages where poets, playwrights, composers, painters, authors, sculptors and others artists come to stay in this 450-acre haven of quiet beauty to create their works away from the hubbub of everyday life. Through its natural surroundings, studios, living conditions, and simple rules, the Colony is a nurturing environment which inspires and enables artists to create great works of art.

Additional Lessons:

Episode 2: Edward & Marian MacDowell

Episode 3: The History of the Colony



  Curriculum Applications
Social Studies
Arts Appreciation
Language Arts

Students viewing Living at the Colony will develop a sense of place by understanding how havens like the MacDowell Colony can enhance the creative process.
Previewing Activities

1. Ask students to outline the environment in which they work best when trying to develop something creative. What is it about those environments that motivate and inspire them?

2. In order for students to have some background on MacDowell colonists, have them research examples of work by a MacDowell artist. (Examples: Willa Cather, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Thornton Wilder, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland.

Focus for Viewing
Direct the students to listen to the artists-in-residence describe how their stay at the Colony influenced their lives and their work. 

Post-Viewing Activities
1. Have students read the beginning of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and then compare Grover's Corner to their own community. Encourage students to describe their community for an outsider or during a particular historic time period.

2. Have students compare various descriptions of Northern New England from MacDowell colonists. For example, compare Thornton Wilder'sOur Town with Carolyn Chute'sThe Beans of Egypt, Maine and student's personal experiences.
Have students debate the merit of artist colonies and how they should they be supported.

MacDowell Home
The Colony
The Colonists
Classroom Resources
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© 2001 New Hampshire PBS
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