“Living the Simple Life: The Arts and Crafts Movement At Home” Now An Online Class You Can Take!


From the (home office) desk of Executive Director Vonda Givens:


Gustav Stickley established Craftsman Farms as a physical expression of his Arts and Crafts vision—a place where his concepts about living would be given substance, tested and shared with his audience. I’ve been thinking about this vision for Craftsman Farms as we adjust to closing its doors to the public. In our initial (newly remote) meetings, the museum’s staff discussed how to be the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms in a new way. How do we take what we treasure as a multi-sensory experience and shift that experience so that it’s accessible in new formats? Is it possible to take those museum experiences into a virtual realm and make them rich and meaningful? In the spirit of Gustav Stickley’s experimental vision for Craftsman Farms, we’re hoping to find out.


Over the past two weeks, we’ve been working overtime to shift programs in new directions. We’ve already begun to put instructions for popular crafts from children’s programs on our website for families to try at home. Click on this link to see our offerings. (Tin-can stilts is my favorite and fun for all ages, if you’re willing to look a little silly).


Next up, a popular class for adults, “Living the Simple Life: The Arts and Crafts Movement at Home,” has been adapted as a 4-session online course, using the Zoom video conferencing platform. Beginning on April 4, each 1-hour session will be held on Saturdays in April starting at 1 p.m. EST. Jonathan Clancy, our Director of Collections and Preservation, will be teaching this course, and I’ll be there too (I wouldn’t miss this!) The course explores the ideals and aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts movement, but I also hope it will provide an opportunity for interaction and connection with the wider Arts and Crafts community. I hope to see (via webcam!) the faces of friends from around the country. Check out our website for all of the details and registration information by clicking this link.



Each “Living the Simple Life” session is $25, a fee that will help the museum maintain operations until we can open our doors again, which brings me to another point I need to make—and one that’s harder to write about. Like most non-profits, we face uncertain times ahead. The museum is closed indefinitely. This means no tours, no bus groups, no Girl Scout workshops, no lectures, no classes, no Farms Afield trips, etc., etc. In our organizational structure, these programs do double time. They serve our mission and also serve as the “gas” in our organizational engine. Program fees, museum admission, and shop sales keep the museum motoring along and moving forward. In other words, to keep our organization strong, we need programs or we need to find a way to replace them. So, we’re getting creative and hoping you’ll support our efforts. Program fees will help us maintain daily operations, from protecting collections and preserving historic buildings to exploring new ways to bring our educational mission to the largest audience possible.


Instructor Dr. Jonathan Clancy, the museum’s Director of Collections and Preservation.


I hope you’ll be inspired to register for “Living the Simple Life.” I also hope you’ll share the information, spread the word, invite others to register, or even purchase sessions for your friends. If you have the means, we’re also looking for program sponsors who will help us keep class fees low and even offer free content. In exchange, through the magic of video conferencing, we’ll bring an hour of interactive learning and sharing into your home and into the homes of to Arts and Crafts fans everywhere. I hope you’ll join us and I look forward to seeing you in our virtual classroom.