On-Site Programs

School programs–in Social Studies, Language Arts, or Art and Design–may be requested in addition to or in place of a guided tour. Each program requires a minimum of 60 minutes.

To learn more about each of these programs, contact Kelsey Mullen at 413-551-5110 or kmullen@edithwharton.org

Social Studies

Life in a Country House (Grades 7-12)
Students will learn how the Industrial Revolution impacted life at The Mount for everyone, from Mrs. Wharton to the chamber maid. After reviewing the staff hierarchy and household chores, student groups will create and act out scenarios of life at The Mount.

“My Dear Governess”: A Portrait of Anna Bahlman (Grades 7-12)
Through a close reading of letters Wharton wrote to her governess and secretary Anna Bahlman, students will piece together clues and construct a biography of Wharton’s lifelong friend and confidante.

“A Life of Leisure and Amiable Hospitality”: A Visit to The Mount (Grades 3-12)
Students will tour The Mount imagining themselves as the guests of Edith Wharton, learning about the intensely private writer and the world she created for herself. Older students will then write a letter describing their visit and hostess to a friend. Younger students will use their knowledge customs of the period to create cartes de visite (calling cards) to leave for Mrs. Wharton.

“Making the Picture Prettier”: Edith Wharton and the Fictional Lens (Grades 7-12)
Students will analyze Wharton’s text The Fruit of the Tree and mill photos by Lewis Hine to deduce what details the novelist and photographer chose to include and omit in their famous critiques of early twentieth century New England mill life.

Edith Wharton and the Women’s Movement (Grades 9-12)
Wharton questioned the need for suffrage and her writing reveals a complex stance toward the women’s movement, even while she continued to break gender norms. Student groups will evaluate primary and secondary sources and debate whether or not Edith Wharton can be considered a feminist icon.

Language Arts

The Artful Letter: Communication Then and Now (Grades 9-12)
Today, the tweet has overtaken the letter of Wharton’s time. Students groups will be challenged to condense one of Wharton’s lengthy letters into 140 characters and to turn a text into a page of description to a friend. Students will then discuss what they think gets lost in translation.

“Mountain People”: Edith Wharton’s Regional Literature (Grades 9-12)
Wharton’s three Berkshire novels make pointed observations about life in rural Massachusetts. Students will assess how Wharton’s adheres to and deviates from the local color literary movement and debate whether they think Wharton got the Berkshires right.

The Ghostly Fiction of Edith Wharton (Grades 7-12)
Wharton drew on a long tradition of ghostly lore to write her spookiest stories. Students will deconstruct the elements of a suspenseful story and collectively outline their own ghost story set at The Mount.

“Making the Picture Prettier”: Edith Wharton and the Fictional Lens (Grades 7-12)
Students will analyze Wharton’s text The Fruit of the Tree and mill photos by Lewis Hine to deduce what details the novelist and photographer chose to include and omit in their persuasive critiques of early twentieth century New England mill life.

“My Dear Governess”: A Portrait of Anna Bahlman (Grades 7-12)
Through a close reading of letters Wharton wrote to her governess and secretary Anna Bahlman, students will piece together clues and construct a biography of Wharton’s lifelong friend and confidante.

Art and Design

Painterly Writing or Writerly Painting? (Grades 9-12)
Known as a “painterly writer” for her lush descriptions of interiors, Wharton knew the importance of detail. Students will sketch their interpretation of Wharton’s rooms from a descriptive passage from her fiction.

The Decoration of Houses (Grades 9-12)
Student groups will each receive a chapter of Wharton’s trend-setting book on interior design and will set off to find evidence at The Mount that supports her design philosophy.

VTS Tour of The Mount (Grades 3-12)
An educator will employ Visual Thinking Strategies in four important rooms at The Mount to prompt close looking and thoughtful conclusions about the design of the home and its creator.

Edith Wharton at her desk, 1905

Edith Wharton at her desk, 1905

Wharton letter

Tinted postcard of The Mount, viewed from the flower garden  during Edith Wharton's occupancy. Lenox Library Association.

Tinted postcard of The Mount, viewed from the flower garden during Edith Wharton’s occupancy. Lenox Library Association.

Comments are closed.