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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Drama At Sea

What pieces of artwork will be highlighted in this lesson? (Include title, location, and accession #)

1.      The British Fleet Forming a Line off Algiers, 1829. Robert Salmon, English, 1775-1845. LG28, #37.500

2.      44-gun Frigate. England (possibly Dartmoor Prison, about 1795-1810). LG28, #33.432

3.       The Fog Warning, 1885. Winslow Homer, American, 1836-1910. 234, #94.72

4.       Storm at Sea, 1840. Robert Salmon, English, 1775-1845. 235, #48.473

5.      Ship in Storm, 1828. Robert Salmon, English, 1775-1845. 235, # 2000.688

Gallery Ideas:

1.       Activity located in the Ground Floor Art of the Americas. Lay out a piece of brown paper drawn in the outline of a ship’s deck. Have the kids stand on it, and call out directions like “starboard”, “port”, “bow”, and “stern”.

2.       Bring small post-it note sized pieces of paper and have the children sit facing the British Fleet painting. Explain how this painting was theatrically unrolled to music and narration of the story. Ask each child to write one sentence observation about the painting- what colors, what weather, what a person in the painting might be thinking, etc. Take all the sentences and do a dramatic reading for the kids, as though they had written an epic narration.

3.       In front of the 44-gun frigate model ship, explain to the children how it was made out of old scraps and garbage found by prisoners in Dartmoor, England. Ask the children what they would use to make projects out of trash- pizza boxes, cans, glass bottles, etc.

4.       On the 2nd floor in front of the Fog Warning, explain the fisherman’s problem: does he toss everything out of the boat in hopes of saving himself, or try braving the storm? Ask the children what they would do and why.

5.       On the 2nd floor in front of Salmon’s paintings, ask the children what is about to happen to these boats. Are they going to crash? Why are they out in a storm? Where are they going? The lower painting was done in the year Salmon moved from Liverpool, England, to Boston.

Art-making Activity:

                Make your own model ship (out of recycled materials?) with a flag that represents your imaginary country. Paint a piece of paper with watercolors to set your model boat on, so it looks like your ship is going through a storm!

Created By

Artful Adventures


History/Social Studies, The Arts

Grade Level


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