Lions, Horses, and Dogs, Oh My!

I am pleased to announce that I have finished the development of my family program for Bassett Hall: “Lions, Horses, and Dogs, Oh My!”  This program focuses on the pieces of folk art from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s collection within Bassett Hall that feature animals and is designed to engage children in the tour of the house and gain a deeper appreciation of the artwork.

This program will entail a pre-tour activity in which children will be able to complete activity sheets and color pictures of the artwork they will see in the house.  Afterwards, they will receive a guide to accompany the tour of the house that is formatted like a scavenger hunt for the animal artwork.

In preparation for this, I went back through the house several times, focusing specifically on what would be easily visible to children, and from there I was able to develop the questions for the scavenger hunt.  The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has an online database of all the pieces of art in its collections, a resource which was extremely helpful when researching for this project.  For the coloring pages, I used a software to convert the database photographs of certain animals (mostly porcelains, chalkware, and paintings) into line-drawing outline images, and for the activity sheets, I created various puzzles and games that involve words related to the Rockefellers, their art collection, and Bassett Hall.

Advertising for the program has already been submitted to the publication department, and “Lions, Horses, and Dogs, Oh My!” is scheduled to run through July and August, the months of highest family visitation.  I am very excited to see how it goes!


  1. Sarah Rodriguez says:

    Your family program sounds super cool and engaging! I think this is a super neat way to help children engage with the material culture of Bassett Hall; I am sure that looking back they will have more specific memories and an understanding of what kind of artwork was in the house and what that can tell us about Mrs. Rockefeller, who lived there. I took a class last semester called “Field School in Material Culture,” which taught me a lot about the importance of artifacts in understanding people and society in history. In what other ways will you try to help the kids (and their families) engage with the material culture in Bassett Hall, or will it mostly be focused on the paintings? Also, you mentioned in a previous blog post about doing a Building Detectives tour; how do you think that tour contributed to your plan for this family program? Enjoy reading about your research!