Merrill Historical Society invites everyone to attend the Open House held at the Brickyard School. Brickyard School is located at the Merrill Festival Grounds and will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day during the Lincoln County Fair, July 20-24.
Each year during the fair some facet of education in one-room rural schools is highlighted at the Brickyard School Open House. The focus for 2016 is on “Picture Study in the Schools.” Picture Study today would be called Art Appreciation. The Picture Study Movement was most widely used from the late 1800s until mid-1900s. Its purpose was to expose students to beautiful works of art, as well as to learn about the artists.
Children would study a well-known painting of one of the Old Masters (van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin). Teachers could order small copies for each student to keep and collect like baseball cards.
One of the stars of the Picture Study Movement was Oscar A. Neale, a professor from Stevens Point Teachers College, now UW-SP. Mr. Neale became involved after he visited a rural school in Nebraska and saw that the teacher had absolutely papered the classroom walls with pictures she’d cut out from women’s magazines – so desperate was she to make her room attractive. This experience made him realize that both teachers and students needed to be educated in true works of art. He bought some prints of famous artworks and began traveling from rural school to rural school teaching art appreciation. He was quite an entertaining teacher, and soon he was persuaded to put his lessons into a book, which he did. It became the Picture Study manual used by most central Wisconsin teachers, but it was also used all across the country.
For the five days of the Lincoln County Fair, Brickyard School will become an Art Gallery including prints of such famous works as Whistler’s Mother, Washington Crossing the Delaware, and Sir Galahad. There will also be an opportunity for visitors to make their own masterpiece with gold stars awarded for excellent work. Come to Brickyard School and discover your inner Picasso!
During the fair, a Flash Fund Drive called “Raise the Roof at Brickyard” will be held. The school needs a new roof, and even more – new soffits and fascia. As the Festival Grounds is being spiffed up, we want Brickyard School to look as beautiful as it did 111 years ago.
The “Raise The Roof at Brickyard” fund drive is a joint project of the Lincoln County Fair Association and the Merrill Historical Society. The Fair Association bought the building in 1961 when it closed as a school for grades 1-8. They moved it to its present location and are still its owners. (Counties were encouraged to do this, so people would not forget the legacy of the one-room school.) The Merrill Historical Society runs the programs and maintains the interior of the building, while the Fair Association has responsibility for exterior upkeep.
Working together, both groups encourage you to come to the fair and buy a shingle. At $2 a shingle, it’s something almost everyone can help out with. If you’d like to see the roof raised quickly, you may buy an entire flat for $30. There will be opportunities to buy a shingle inside the school during the fair, and donations will also be accepted at the Merrill History & Culture Center, 100 E. Third St., during regular office hours of Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If you are a current or retired professional roofer who might consider donating your time and experience to help with this project, please stop in at the Brickyard School or the Fair Association office during the fair.
The Merrill Historical Society’s mission is to educate the public about our heritage using the unique historical and cultural resources we collect and preserve. For further information on the programs and activities of the Merrill Historical Society, or to become a member, please contact the Society at 715-536-5652 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or see the website at www.merrillhistory.org.