Museum Press

Housatonic Museum of Art Peer Docent Student Tours

October 16, 2013

For Immediate Release:
Lydia Viscardi
or Robbin Zella: (203) 332-5052

Bridgeport, CT... This fall, forty-five students of the Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA) Peer Docent Program from the John Winthrop School and the Geraldine W. Johnson School in Bridgeport will spend nine weeks focusing on architecture, urban planning and preservation with an emphasis on Connecticut’s architectural treasures including historic and noteworthy Bridgeport structures and modern architecture in New Canaan. Now in its fourteenth year, the HMA Peer Docent Program, established by Robbin Zella, Museum Director, introduces students to art and art history, teaches them to look at art critically, and ultimately provides them with an opportunity to develop visual, analytical, and leadership skills that will assist them across the academic disciplines and throughout their lifetimes. Bridgeport students become “experts” about several artworks and present their knowledge to their classmates during guided tours. Through the Peer Docent Program, HMA has partnered with teachers and administrators from 17 Bridgeport schools whose input has helped reinforce objectives and standards from the Connecticut State Department of Education Visual Arts Curriculum Framework. The Program continues to be funded through the generous support of community, corporate and private foundations.

This year is the first time the HMA Peer Docent curriculum focuses solely on architecture, expanding the program out into the community beyond the confines of the Burt Chernow Galleries and the Museum collection displayed throughout the campus of Housatonic Community College. The Program’s new Curator of Education, Janet Zamparo has developed brand-new curriculum and coordinated with art teachers’ Doreth Hudson and Rachel Rockwell from John Winthrop School and Omayra Rivera-Filardi from Geraldine W. Johnson School. With Museum Educator, Lydia Viscardi, Ms. Zamparo will lead students in multiple classroom visits, guiding them through an inquiry method in how to examine important Bridgeport structures including The Barnum Museum, McLevy Hall, The Arcade, Bridgeport Savings Bank and People’s United Bank. In late November, the new Peer Docents will lead 45 minute tours of downtown Bridgeport for their fellow classmates.

The Program’s architecture curriculum includes field trips October 16th and 18th when the Peer Docents will do a walking tour of the architectural subjects in downtown Bridgeport that they learned about in class, and also view John Taylor Arms: A Selection of Prints from the Housatonic Collection in the Community Gallery of Housatonic Community College. These graphic works depict Gothic architecture in France, England and Mexico executed in Arms’ celebrated meticulous style. This year, the HMA Peer Docent Program is partnering with another cultural agency offering students an opportunity to tour the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan. The author of From Salt House to Glass House, Arianne Kolb, published through the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, will present her book to students during their visit to the Glass House and introduce them to modern architecture, landscape and art, and the legacy of Philip Johnson, architect and Connecticut resident.

John Taylor Arms: A Selection of Prints from the Housatonic Collection, features etchings created by John Taylor Arms (1887–1953) that are in the Housatonic Museum of Art’s permanent collection and were donated to the Housatonic Museum by Henry Arms. The show in the Community Gallery, Beacon Hall’s third floor on the campus of Housatonic Community College, 900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, CT, runs from Sept 15th through October 19, 2013 and is free and open to the public. Community Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm.

The Housatonic Museum of Art (, located within the campus of Housatonic Community College, has over 5000 works of art spanning ancient through modern times, with many displayed throughout the college. The Museum includes the Burt Chernow Galleries offer changing exhibitions every six weeks featuring national, regional and local artists, gallery talks, “mini” exhibitions throughout the campus, and engaging programs - all free and open to the public.

For further information contact Robbin Zella, Director of the Housatonic Museum of Art at or (203) 332-5052.