Weir Farm National Historic Site

Overview

How does the environment influence creativity? Weir Farm National Historic Site is a place where visitors and artists can explore this question in various ways. To American Impressionist painter J. Alden Weir (1852 - 1919), his beloved Connecticut farm provided him with the means to explore his emotional and spiritual impressions of nature. Weir and his contemporaries (such as Childe Hassam and John Twachtman) were inspired by French Impressionism's emphasis on painting outdoors and trying to capture light and motion in landscape.

The American artists, though, also imbued their work with a strong sense of their intimate emotional relationships with their home places. For 37 years, Weir and visiting friends painted hundreds of canvases featuring the gentle rolling hills, rocky pastures, and human and animal life of Weir Farm.

After Weir's death in 1919, the next two generations of farm occupants were also artists. Weir's daughter Dorothy Weir Young lived here for thirty-odd years with her husband, the renowned sculptor Mahonri Young. After Young's death, the farm was sold to his friend and landscape painter Sperry Andrews and his wife Doris. Each generation of occupants newly found creative inspiration in the fields, studios, and woods of Weir Farm. Above all, each generation recognized the artistic legacy and spirit of the place and helped preserve it.

Weir Farm's gentle, pastoral landscape, once characteristic of New England, is now a rare vestige of 19th century life. Park visitors today can still see many of the landscape features, vistas and buildings painted by Weir and other artists. In addition to experiencing this historically significant artistic landscape, visitors are welcome to explore their own artistic potential here by painting, sketching, and photographing the site.

The National Park Service and its private partner the Weir Farm Trust also share the mission of providing professional artists with more structured opportunities to engage in creative activity, such as the Trust's Visiting and Resident Artists programs. Weir Farm is at once a memory of artistic past, a studio space for artists now, and a promise for continued inspiration in artistic future.

Map

Activities

Seasonality / Weather

Burlingham House Visitor Center is open November through December, Thursday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and January through March, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The grounds are open from dawn until dusk, year round.

The weather of Weir Farm National Historic Site is typical of coastal New England, with highs occasionally near one hundred degrees in the summer and lows below freezing in the winter. Conditions can also change throughout the course of one day.