The crows in town may not like it, but kids and adults alike will surely delight in an invasion of scarecrows this fall on the lawn of the museum.
Scarecrows on the Lawn, a partnership between the Robbins Hunter Museum and Granville’s independent school, Welsh Hills School, will bring a mob of straw-stuffed mannequins to Broadway on October 16, where they will remain for the remainder of the spooking season.
Rebecca Dungan, a board member and chair of the program committee, is excited about the project she is heading up.
“Some years ago on a cruise up the Hudson River to visit historic homes and sites, I encountered the Scarecrow Invasion on the grounds of Lyndhurst Castle, Jay Gould’s magnificent Gothic Revival estate,” she said.
“Dozens of scarecrows had been installed on the grounds for visitors to walk among and enjoy. I was struck by what I discovered to be a three-fold purpose for this charming mob: to involve school children in a creative and philanthropic project, to entertain visitors, and to donate clothing to Goodwill Industries,” she added.
With the museum involved in a multi-year capital campaign to create period gardens and a garden pavilion, visitors will have opportunities to see first hand the work done and that being planned as they stroll among the scarecrows.
The program at Welsh Hills is still taking shape and won’t be fully defined until the school year gets underway and the students get involved.
But the interdisciplinary program, a hallmark of the preK – 8 school, will seamlessly bring art, science, history and social studies together. Decisions about each mannequin will emerge as the 16 students in the upper elementary classes take charge of their own learning to explore what scarecrows represent, where they came from, what their function is and then how to build and dress them.
Students working with their teachers will decide if their scarecrow will represent an actual person, and then build it, Lerner says. They will craft the head in art class, for example, and dress the structure in used clothing that will in the end, be laundered and donated to Goodwill Industries.
“The more we talked, the more possibilities emerged,” Dungan said.
“It sounds like a great fit to me,” Lerner added.
Clearly, both women are excited about multiple positive outcomes. For the museum, Scarecrows on the Lawn has the potential to draw visitors of all ages to the grounds to see the work progressing on the gardens as well as bringing what Dungan hopes is the beginning of a new Halloween tradition for the museum and for Granvillle.
The students at WHS have been involved in philanthropic projects in the past and the scarecrows offer yet another way for them to engage in an audience-focused multi-disciplinary endeavor that has the added potential to raise their awareness of Greek Revival architecture, historic preservation, and interpretation. The project will also gain visibility to the value of interdisciplinary education.
“Robbins Hunter Museum has made tremendous strides to be meaningful in reaching out to all audiences,” Lerner said. “We are very excited to be invited to participate with them.”