Museum Partnership Connects Manchester, Essex Students to Virginia Lee Burton


Grade 3 Manchester and Essex students learned about the groundbreaking local author and artist Virginia Lee Burton through a hands-on educational partnership with Cape Ann Museum earlier this month.

Manchester Essex Regional School District Superintendent Pam Beaudoin, Essex Elementary Principal Sheila McAdams and Manchester Memorial Principal John Willis worked with Cathy Kelly, director of Education at Cape Ann Museum and facilitated hands-on workshops for students as part of this partnership.

Claudette Yutkins, a District elementary art teacher, organized the partnership with Cape Ann Museum.

“The Folly Cove/Virginia Lee Burton unit is one of my favorite units to teach," said Yutkins. “Learning the art of printing by hand using traditional tools the Folly Cove Designers used, seeing the excitement with each student as they pull their first print, and having a connection to local history is what makes this such an amazing learning experience.”

With her husband, Burton led an artist collaborative in Gloucester’s Folly Cove starting in the 1950s and whose illustrated children’s books have been cherished worldwide.  Burton’s books include “Katy and the Big Snow,” “The Little House,” and “Mike Mulligan and the Big Shovel.”  She was also the founder of Folly Cove Designers, an elite group of artists who made printed fabrics sold in stores across America and are now highly collectible.

Students could create their own print projects as part of the workshops. Hundreds of students from all over Cape Ann are participating in the project; each print made will become a larger piece of art on display at the museum.