National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop for Teachers

Living and Writing Deliberately:

The Concord Landscapes and Legacy of Henry Thoreau


Day by Day Schedule

This overview of the week will give you a good idea of the landmark sites we will visit, the questions and topics we will explore, the faculty members who will guide our investigations each day, and the reading selections which will be the foundations for discussions. See the corresponding sections of the website for more details on staff/scholars, sites and readings.

We hope that this "walk through the week" will be helpful to you as you consider whether this workshop will be right for you and your teaching plans.

Sunday: A Natural and Social Community July 16 and 23, 2017

For our first meeting, we begin with an evening excursion to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where all the Concord Authors and their neighbors are buried. It’s a perfect spot for an introduction to the town of Concord and its inhabitants in Thoreau’s day. We will then join scholar Laura Dassow Walls for an initial conversation over dessert.

4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Project Director Jayne Gordon and Project Coordinator Leah Walczak will be at the Colonial Inn to welcome teachers. Supper on your own.

6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Stroll with Jayne Gordon as introduction to use of a landmark site (5 minute walk from Inn)

8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Welcome dessert at the Colonial Inn; first session with Dr. Laura Walls

Framing Question:
• How can an historic landscape or site help us to understand an idea?

Topics to investigate:
• Who were the people in Thoreau’s community – family, friends, neighbors – whose lives were intertwined with his?
• What do we mean when we talk about the harmony of man and nature?
• What is our initial take on Thoreau in this bicentennial year?
• What are the questions about Thoreau that we want to make sure to explore this week?

Sites to visit:
• Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
• The Colonial Inn

Selected Readings:
Louisa May Alcott Gravesite
• Walls, selections from Writing the Cosmos
For the full reading list, click here

Monday: From Revolution to Revolution in Concord July 17 and 24, 2017

This first full day of the workshop is devoted to an historical overview of both Thoreau and his town, providing context for discussions on the
connections – physical, social, and symbolic – between the writer and his setting. We will be working with scholars Laura Walls, Robert Gross, and local site staff to examine Thoreau’s relationship to the rich history of Concord, and how he used that history in his writing.

8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Walk to the Concord Museum. Introductions of participants, overview of week, explanation of approaches

9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Second session with Laura Walls

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Three groups rotating, each for 30 minutes: discussion with Laura Walls, object lessons with Curator David Wood, and meeting with teacher-facilitator. Lunch at Museum and exploration with Leah Walczak

1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Session with Dr. Robert Gross on Thoreau and his town

2:00 to 5:30 p.m. Walk to Old Manse/North Bridge/Robbins House area for group investigations and discussion with Bob Gross

5:30 p.m. End of day; supper on your own; evening free

Framing Questions:
• What was the relationship of Thoreau’s own history to the history of his hometown?
• How did Thoreau make use of the symbolic landscape of Concord?

Topics to investigate
• What are the three major ways in which Thoreau connected to his town?
• What are the key elements of Thoreau’s legacy viewed 200 years after his birth?
• What do we mean by “living deliberately”?
• How can objects associated with Thoreau help us to understand the man and his legacy?
• How did Thoreau’s personal history and Concord’s community history intersect?
• What do we mean by “from Revolution to Revolution” in the town of Concord? • How did Thoreau respond to the rapid social changes of his time?
• What were his strategies for “living deliberately”?
• How can the Old Manse, the Robbins House, the North Bridge, and the Concord River sites help us to understand Thoreau’s connections to the history of Concord?
• What did each of these sites mean to Thoreau?

Sites to Visit:
• Concord Museum
• Old Manse
• Robbins House
• Minute Man National Historical Park/North Bridge
• Concord River

Assigned Readings: Walls, selections from Writing the Cosmos; Gross, “That Terrible Thoreau?” and selections from The Transcendentalists and their World; Finley, ed. selections from “Geographical Contexts” section of Thoreau in Context; Thoreau, “Sounds” from Walden; Emerson, introduction to “Nature”
For the full reading list, click here

North Bridge, photo by Jayne GordonTuesday: Laboratories and Sanctuaries
July 18 and 25, 2017

Today we explore the ways in which Thoreau used the natural world for both investigation and inspiration. We are at Walden Pond, site of Thoreau’s study in the woods, and setting for the book Walden. Immersed in this place for the day, we can gain new understandings of Thoreau’s place and our own place in the natural world, with guidance from scholars Robert Thorson, Jeff Cramer, and James Finley, and local colleagues.

8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Walk to Walden on the new Emerson-Thoreau Amble OR board bus at 8:45 for ride to Walden

9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sessions at new Visitor Center and walk around Walden Pond with Dr. Robert Thorson

12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Lunch and lesson planning groups at Walden Pond

1:45 to 3:30 p.m. Bus up hill to Thoreau Institute, session on Thoreau’s writing with Jeff Cramer, tour of facilities/resources with Whitney Retallic

3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Informal reception and talk by Dr. James Finley

5:00 p.m. Bus back to Concord Center; evening free

Framing Questions:
• What was Thoreau’s relationship with the natural world?
• How is this relationship reflected in his experience at Walden, and observations in his writings?

Topics to investigate:
• What is the geological history of Walden Pond?
• Why did Thoreau come here?
• In what ways did the Pond serve Thoreau as a laboratory? As a sanctuary?
• What are ways by which Thoreau “surveyed” the Pond?
• How can we use Thoreau’s example of keen observation with our own students?
• How did Thoreau contribute to the field of science in his lifetime and after?
• What does it mean to be “part and parcel” of nature?
• What is the process that Thoreau went through in his work as a writer?
• What was the significance of Thoreau’s experience at Walden?
• What is the significance of the book Walden for our students at different levels?

Sites to Visit:
• Walden Pond State Reservation
• Thoreau Institute/Walden Woods Project

Assigned Readings:
Thoreau, “Where I Lived and What I Lived For” and “Spring” from Walden; Thorson, selections from Walden’s Shore; Finley, selections from “Environmental and Scientific” section of Thoreau in Context; Cramer, intro. to Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition
For the full reading list, click here

Wednesday: ‘This Ever New Self’: Thoreau and his Journal July 19 and 26, 2017

Now we have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view Thoreau's journals, manuscripts, and the objects he owned – brought together for the first time since Thoreau’s own lifetime. Among the many special activities planned for this bicentennial year, the Concord Museum is partnering with the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City on a major exhibition focusing on Thoreau and his journal. The exhibit is in NYC for the summer. So off we go for a long day trip, using our bus as a roving classroom.

7:00 a.m. Board bus for trip to Morgan Library

8:00 to 10:30 a.m. Mobile classroom sessions with James Finley and David Wood

11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Arrival at Morgan Library and orientation

12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Small groups rotate: guided visit of This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal with exhibition curators Christine Nelson and David Wood and workshop specialists (with time for independent exploration), guided visit of the Morgan’s historic library; lunch break

3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Entire group assembles in the Morgan Education Center for follow-up discussion with curators and specialists and a close look at volumes of Thoreau’s journal that are not on view in the exhibition

5:00 p.m. Bus back to Concord with box supper, and screening of documentary Henry Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul

10:00 p.m.
Arrival back in Concord

Framing Question:
• How did Thoreau use his Journal to translate experience into writing?

Topics to investigate:
• How does Thoreau suggest ways to live deliberately and responsibly as part of Society?
• How does Thoreau suggest ways to live deliberately and responsibly as part of Nature?
• What impact has Thoreau had on environmental and social justice movements?
• What is the structure of the exhibition on Thoreau and his journal? Why was it organized this way?
• How can each of the seven sections of the exhibition help us to gain a full understanding of the man?
• How do the manuscripts and the objects work together to provide a richer picture of Thoreau’s life and thought? How do they complement the understandings we have gained from immersion in the Concord landscapes the rest of the week?

Sites to Visit:
• The Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan

Assigned Readings:
Thoreau, selections from the Journal; Finley, selections from “Intellectual and Literary” section of Thoreau in Context; Wood, selections from An Observant Eye
For the full reading list, click here

Thursday: Conversations and Confrontations July 20 and 27, 2017

On this day, we examine the ways in which Thoreau interacted with his friends, neighbors, and the organizations in town, and the impact of living deliberately in society. This is the day to consider Thoreau’s connections to the social and political world of Concord and beyond, discovering the individuals, institutions, issues, and incidents that inspired or provoked some of his most fiery passages. We will be joined by scholar Sandra Petrulionis, Concord historians Leslie Wilson and Kristi Martin, and actor Stephen Collins.

8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Discussion of Emerson’s circle at Wright Tavern in Concord Center

9:30 to 11:00 a.m. Walk to and tour one of two literary sites: Emerson House or Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

11:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Walk back to Concord Center, buy lunch, and meet back at Wright Tavern for noontime discussion of Thoreau’s friendships based on house visits

1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Meet at Concord Free Public Library for tour of resources and exhibit with Leslie Perrin Wilson

2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Dr. Sandra Petrulionis on Thoreau and antislavery, including sessions at Wright Tavern and walking tour with Jayne of sites related to “Civil Disobedience” and John Brown in Concord Center

5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Free time

7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Dinner and dramatic performance by Stephen Collins (The Search for Justice) at the Wright Tavern

Framing Questions:
• What was Thoreau’s relationship with the social and political world?
• How is it reflected in his interactions with individuals, institutions, issues, and incidents in Concord?

Topics to investigate:
• What role did Emerson play in establishing a literary colony in Concord? How and why did he act as a magnet to draw intellectuals around him?
• What was the nature of Thoreau’s relationship with the Emerson family? With the Alcotts?
• Who were the other friends and neighbors with whom he had constant interactions? What did he say about them and what did they say about him? What can we learn about Thoreau from his friendships? Who were Thoreau’s heroes and why?
• How was the Thoreau family involved in the reform movements of the nineteenth century? What specific role did they play in the antislavery movement?
• How can we trace the continuity and the changes in Thoreau’s position on the role of the individual and the state by comparing “Civil Disobedience,” “Slavery in Massachusetts,” and “A Plea for Captain John Brown?”
• What specific incidents in the life of the town and of Thoreau related to antislavery are associated with the jail site, the Town House, First Parish Church, and other Concord sites?
• What is Justice?

Sites to Visit:
• Ralph Waldo Emerson House or Alcott/Orchard House
• Concord Free Public Library
• Concord Center landmarks: jail site, First Parish Church, Town House
• Wright Tavern -- historic landmark now operated by Concord Museum

Assigned Readings:
Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience,” “Slavery in Massachusetts,” “An Appeal for Captain John Brown;” Petrulionis, selections from To Set This World Right: Thoreau and Antislavery in Concord and Thoreau in His Own Time; Finley, selections from “Social and Cultural Context” section of Thoreau in Context; CFPL website on “Emerson’s Concord”
For the full reading list, click here

Friday: Thoreau’s Timeless Questions July 21 and 28, 2017

On this final day of the workshop, we engage in exercises that will help us to apply the experiences of the week in two ways: connecting to the landscape as a teaching tool, and connecting to our students through the questions Thoreau asked. We will make use of two outdoor classroom locations, as well as the farmhouse where Thoreau was born. Our teacher facilitators Johanna Glazer (commuter week) and Jim Rittenhouse (residential week) will work with all the lesson planning groups as they develop and describe their planned curriculum projects.

8:30 a.m. Walk or bus to Calf Pasture conservation land at confluence of Concord’s three rivers: the Sudbury, the Assabet, and the Concord

8:45 to 9:30 a.m. Outdoor classroom session I with Jayne and teacher-facilitator Johanna Glazer (July 21) or Jim Rittenhouse (July 28)

9:30 a.m. Bus to historic farming fields in Minute Man National Historical Park

9:45 to 10:30 a.m. Outdoor classroom session II with Jayne, Johanna/Jim, National Park Service staff

10:30 a.m. Bus to Thoreau Farm: Birthplace of Thoreau on July 12, 1817

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Lesson planning group work at site

12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Picnic and discussion of Thoreau’s questions and our students and teacher projects led by Jayne and Johanna/Jim

2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Final reflections on living deliberately and informal group evaluation of Living Deliberately workshop

3:30 p.m. Bus back to Concord Center and close of workshop

Framing Questions:
• What is Thoreau’s relationship with us?
• How do the questions he posed in his time and place relate to the questions we have in our time and place?

Topics to investigate:
• How can we make use of the landscape as a teaching tool?
• How can we apply Thoreau’s observational skills with our students to create outdoor classrooms?
• What criticisms have been levelled at Thoreau in his time and ours? Do they have validity?
• What makes Thoreau approachable? What poses a barrier?
• What are Thoreau’s most enduring ideas?
• What is the impact of those ideas on our students?
• How will we engage our students with those ideas?
• What does it mean and what is required to live deliberately?
• How has our experience of this week changed our perception of Thoreau?

Sites to Visit:
• Calf Pasture Conservation Area
• Historic farming fields at Minute Man National Historical Park
• Thoreau Farm: Thoreau’s Birthplace (7/12/1817)

Assigned Readings:
Thoreau, “Walking” and “Life Without Principle;” Finley, selections from “Legacy” section of Thoreau in Context; Schulz, “Pond Scum”
For the full reading list, click here
Hill Burying Ground, Jayne Gordon