Theme Two: Daily Life in a Boardinghouse, c. 1910

  • The Museum will be closed Sunday, April 9 in observance of Easter.

This theme explores the daily life of the Griswold boardinghouse circa 1910. During the nineteenth century, Americans visited boardinghouses that offered a range of accommodations depending on a person’s economic resources.

As a result of financial hardships, Florence Griswold turned her family home into a boardinghouse for summer visitors in the 1890s. After the arrival of Henry Ward Ranger in 1899, Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse was transformed into an artist colony. Those who lived at this boardinghouse included Florence Griswold, her domestic staff, the artists, and guests. This theme involves communal living during the first decades of the 20th century and offers insight into the daily lives of artists and prominent Americans such as Woodrow Wilson who accompanied his wife to the colony over several years.

Unlike the large company-run boarding houses built in the mill and factory towns of New England, rural boardinghouses were opened in family homes, often affording inexpensive lodging to the middle-class people. The transformation of the Griswold family’s home into a boardinghouse is a common story with an extraordinary ending.

Related Student Learning Goals

Students will understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.

Visual Arts Content Standard 4: History and Cultures

Students will make connections between the visual arts, other disciplines and daily life.

Visual Arts Content Standard 6: Connections

Students will develop historical thinking skills, including chronological thinking and recognizing change over time; contextualizing, comprehending and analyzing historical literature; researching historical sources; understanding the concept of historical causation; understanding competing narratives and interpretation; and constructing narratives and interpretation.

Social Studies Content Standard 1: Historical Thinking

Students will recognize the continuing importance of historical thinking and historical knowledge in their own lives and in the world in which they live.

Social Studies Content Standard 4: Applying History

Students will use spatial perspective to identify and analyze the significance of physical and cultural characteristics of place and world regions.

Social Studies Content Standard 9: Places and Regions

There are several sections of The Fox Chase site where students can investigate Theme 2: Daily Life in a Boardinghouse, c. 1910

Go to Who’s Who in the Boardinghouse for information regarding the different roles played by the people who were part of the boardinghouse.

Go to The Griswold House for information regarding the history of the house and Griswold family.

Go to Imagine Yourself as an Artist for information regarding what a typical artist would experience arriving at the Griswold House.

Go to The Landscape of Old Lyme for information regarding the geological history of the region.

Go to The Village of Old Lyme for information regarding the economic development of the village.

There are several sections of In Situ: The Painted Panels site where students can investigate Theme 2: Daily Life in a Boardinghouse, c. 1910.

Go to Hound Dog Baying at the Moon/Bow Bridge by Moonlight by Henry Rankin Poore and Henry Ward Ranger for a great example of two panels painted by different artists who matched in subject, style, and color.

Go to The Fox Chase by Henry Rankin Poore for a historical overview of the creation of this painting.

Go to Poor Little Bloticelli by Willard Metcalf for information regarding issues of gender within the art colony system.

There are several sections of Resources for Educators site where students can investigate Theme 2: Daily Life in a Boardinghouse, c. 1910.

Go to Timeline for information regarding the development of the Lyme Art Colony along with other major historical moments.

Go to Wiggle Drawings for information regarding this historic activity played by the artists.  The game and resulting images offer a window into the past.

Go to Movie House to view all of the vintage film footage available from the Lyme Artists reels.