June 10, 2015

Four Paintings That Capture Stories at National Trust Historic Sites

  • By: Priya Chhaya

Paintings on the wall at Lyndhurst, a National Trust Historic Site in Tarrytown, New York.

When you visit a historic site what do you notice first -- the building, the artwork, or an artifact? All three of these serve as tangible links between individual lives and the past. They tell stories and breathe life into a history detailed between the cover of a book.

Objects make history real. So it's only natural that those who work in historic sites find themselves drawn to particular images, objects, and buildings that help tell the story of their place -- favorite pieces that illustrate or open gateways to the broader story at the historic site.

This past spring a group of National Trust staff members got together to talk about interpretation and education at our 27 historic sites. They not only shared with us why historic sites matter, but they also took a minute to tell us what their favorite object is and why.

In this first video, curators describe four pieces of art found at Belle Grove Plantation, Lyndhurst, Oatlands, and Cliveden. Each piece of artwork links the place with a moment in time and gives insight into the individuals who lived there. While static in nature, the brush strokes, the subjects, and their lives bring a more robust interpretation of that historic site.

Are there any particular paintings that you love for their connection to a historic site?

While her day job is the associate director of content at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Priya spends other waking moments musing, writing, and learning about how the public engages and embraces history.


Join us for PastForward Online 2021, the historic preservation event of the year, November 2-5, 2021.

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