Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly
Completed: July 29, 2018
This was a repeat visit and my second attempt at completing their Junior Ranger program. On a previous visit I was not allowed to participate in the program, to date the only site which limited me as a senior. I wrote a letter to their acting Superintendent when I returned home and forgot about this slight. When I was planning to visit this site this past summer I checked the website and was pleased to see that ‘children of all ages’ can participate in their Junior Ranger program.
This beautiful site highlights the famous artist, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907). The program has you explore the buildings and grounds to find the material in the booklet. His sculptures are scattered around the grounds. I am so glad I was able to spend the time to complete this Junior Ranger program on a beautiful summer day.
The booklet has sections for ages 4-6, 7-11, 7 and up, and a Teen/Adult activity. I was able to complete the nine pages for ages 7 and up, plus the Teen/Adult Level activity.
Sculptor Word Search – words relating to tools and materials used in sculpture and some of Saint-Gaudens famous sculptures are scattered in the word search.
Monogram Magic – Saint-Gaudens had a unique monogram which he used on some of his artwork. It was challenging to find at least three examples of the monogram, luckily a ranger gave me a hint which helped.
Sculpture as Jewelry – at age 13 Saint-Gaudens was apprenticed to a cameo maker, small relief sculptures. Besides identifying one of the cameos on display I was to design my own cameo inside a traditional frame. I am not great at drawing people so I drew a Great Blue Heron, one of my favorite birds.
Symbols – embedded in a large sculpture of Admiral David Farragut are a number symbols which were to be identified and sketched. I found several, including a sword, leaf, scrollwork, shark fin and wave. It was fun spending time looking over the large sculpture to find these symbols, and others in the sculpture.
Explore the Ravine Trail/Explore the Ravine Studio – a nice hike through the woods, including the studio area had you identify sights and sounds and answer some questions about the sculpture process.
Word Match – eleven words are provided to be matched with provided definitions.
Identify the Sculpture – what I thought would be easy, I found to be the hardest activity! A panel of close up pictures of sculptures scattered around the grounds were to be named and the type, relief or in-the-round. Wow, I struggled with seeing the small picture in the full-size sculptures. In fact I should have identified all 12 shown (find as many as your age), but only found six. When I return some day I hope to keep working on this activity.
Talk to a Ranger – always a favorite activity. I spoke to Ranger Jennifer who was on loan from nearby Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Her favorite part of the job is interaction with visitors. As with many rangers I have interviewed, her path to becoming a ranger was a college degree, internship and seasonal positions.
Walk to the Temple – out beyond the Studio is The Temple, the final resting places of the ashes of the Saint-Gaudens’ family. Besides listing the names of the family members, this activity has you interpret the Roman numerals, a challenge that brought back some early math skills.
Teen/Adult Level Junior Ranger Program – after watching a 10 minute DVD about Saint-Gaudens’ design of a $20 gold coin, a series of questions were given. I found the information about the numerous strikes, nine, that were done before an acceptable coin was produced most interesting. To learn that something we commonly use is so finely created was surprising.
I treasure all of my Junior Ranger badges and completed activity books, but this one is special. Having been denied completion previously I appreciated the opportunity to earn this badge. The staff on site was welcoming and enthusiastic that I came back to work on this program. Ranger Jennifer spent time reviewing my booklet before awarding me the enhanced Junior Ranger badge, the badge depicts his sculpture of Diana.