Charles Carroll Jr.'s mansion has always been a physical centerpiece of the Homewood campus; now the Federal-style structure will be the core of an academic course.
This fall semester, Homewood House will play host to Building Homewood: A Look at Early-19th-Century American Architecture. The three-credit undergraduate course--offered through the Homewood House Museum and the History and History of Art departments in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences--will give students a look into the evolution of domestic architecture, interspersed with the social, economic and political history of Baltimore in the first half of the 19th century.
Held in the building's wine cellar, the class will cover the careers of America's earliest architects, among them B. Henry Latrobe and Robert Mills, both of whom were active in Baltimore during this time period and whose patrons included the Carroll and the Howard families. It will be taught by visiting professor and art historian William Barksdale Maynard.
Maynard is the author of the forthcoming book Architecture in the United States, 1800-1850 (Yale University Press). He received his doctorate in art history from the University of Delaware and taught from 1997 to 2000 at the Delaware College of Art and Design. Since the summer of 2001, Maynard has been a consultant with the Walden Woods Project, recording artist Don Henley's charitable organization that seeks to protect land of ecological and historical significance near Henry D. Thoreau's Walden Pond and which manages, operates and supports the Thoreau Institute.
Maynard said the course will transform Homewood House into a living classroom.
"The students will have unparalleled access to all the rooms of the house," he said. "We will be inside and outside the building looking at the entire plan and the arrangement of the various rooms. That is the big picture, but we'll also go down to the small details--looking at individual chimney pieces, the moldings of the ceiling, furniture and how all these decorative elements relate to each other."
The course, the first to be held in the building since it became a museum in 1987, falls in conjunction with Building Homewood: Vision for a Villa, an exhibition that will open in September to mark the house's 200th anniversary. In addition to Maynard, three scholars who have been researching the design and construction of Homewood House over the past year will present lectures to the class.
"Homewood House is a tremendous teaching tool that is right in the heart of campus," Maynard said. "It should be a lot of fun, and perhaps this course will raise student awareness as to what a treasure this house is, both aesthetically and historically."
Maynard is currently finishing his latest book, Walden Pond: The History.