This lecture will take a closer look at Lucy Copeland Farnsworth--the museum’s founder who grew up and lived most of her life in the Homestead. Since the time the Farnsworth Art Museum opened in 1948, a legend has grown up around her, a myth that has described her as “mysterious” and as a “stingy eccentric,” among other things. How did this myth evolve? Who was responsible for it? And, more importantly, is it accurate in describing a woman who devoted her family’s fortunes to creating a museum and library as well as opening her home as a historic site in her adopted home of Rockland.
Lecturer Michael K. Komanecky is the Farnsworth’s
Chief Curator and directed the restoration of the Farnsworth Homestead.
Housing Our History: A Celebration of Place, Past & Community
Wednesday, September 11, 5:30 p.m.
This lecture will take a step back and look more broadly at the value of historic sites, such as the Farnsworth Homestead, in our communities. House museums and community-based historical organizations offer inspirational experiences, are extraordinary teaching tools, do the work of historic preservation and provide an antidote to the homogenization that decimates sense of place and civic attachment. This program will explore the vitality of grassroots public history with inspiring case studies from across the nation.
Lecturer William Hosley is the principal of Terra Firma Northeast, a cultural resource development firm committed to building civic depth and capacity through historic resources, art and stories. He was formerly Director of the New Haven Museum and Connecticut Landmarks, and also worked as a curator and exhibition developer at the Wadsworth Atheneum.
During the three decades before the Civil War, Greek Revival was the predominant architectural style for Maine houses and buildings. When Rockland businessman William A. Farnsworth built his home on Elm Street in Rockland in 1850, its pleasing symmetry and classical lines were hallmarks of the Greek Revival. This lecture focuses on houses built in the state between 1830 and 1860 by Mr. Farnsworth and his contemporaries in Portland, Bangor, and the mid-coastal communities of Thomaston, Rockland, Rockport, Camden and Belfast. Examples will range from the work of major architects of the period to that of local carpenters using the pattern books of the day.
Lecturer Earle G. Shettleworth was appointed to serve on the first board of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, for which he became architectural historian in 1973 and director in 1976. Shettleworth has lectured and written extensively on Maine history and architecture, and in 2008, Governor Baldacci reappointed Mr. Shettleworth to a second term as State Historian.
The house built in 1849 by William and Mary Farnsworth and preserved by their daughter Lucy has survived with an exceptionally complete collection of original furnishings from the mid-nineteenth century. In choosing furniture for their home, the Farnsworths were aware of current fashions and eager to follow them, but they clearly also were cost-conscious in making their purchases. This lecture will survey the different styles and forms of furniture that have remained in the house and discuss how they related to contemporary advice literature as well as other American homes of the period.
Lecturer David L. Barquist is the Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He studied fine arts at Harvard and received an M.A. from the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware and his Ph.D. in history of art from Yale University.
Location: Farnsworth auditorium
Cost: Series reservation(s)—Farnsworth members $30, $45 nonmembers
Individual lectures may be purchased by clicking on the lecture title—$ 10 members, $15 nonmembers