Unit 1: Rural Economy in the Early 20th Century
This unit explores the ways geography has shaped the history, culture, and economy of Creelsboro, a Kentucky river town that was once the center of a thriving rural community in southcentral Kentucky. It also explores how documentary art can be used to tell a story of the past. Students consider how geography has shaped their own community and how they might share that story.
Through interviews, period photography, documentary art, and a short video (Rural Economy), Unit 1’s introduction, entitled Rural Economy in the Early 20th Century, offers students six different but integrated activities in:
- social studies – researching local history using primary and secondary sources, investigating the impact of innovations in transportation (in particular, Cumberland River steamboats), and investigating the impact of human interactions on the environment.
- visual and media art – exploring how documentary art communicates information and adding visual imagery to multimedia presentations.
- reading and writing – writing original poems or songs.
Documents for Rural Economy in the Early 20th Century
- Unit 1: Rural Economy in the Early 20th Century – teacher version
- Creelsboro Landing, 1890s – Images for Projection
- Unit 1: Rural Economy in the Early 20th Century – student version
- Rural Economy video
- Directions to the Artist – Creelsboro Landing, 1890
Creelsboro Landing, 1890s – Documentary Art Interactive
The Creelsboro Landing, 1890s – Documentary Art Interactive gives students the opportunity to explore Creelsboro Landing, 1890s, Dennis Thrasher’s documentary art painting that tells the story of a bustling Kentucky river town’s Cumberland River landing. It offers 20 activities in visual art, visual and media art, visual art and theater, visual art and music, reading and writing and social studies.
Teachers lead their students in analyzing the artwork and interpreting the narrative, including through the video producer’s instructions to the artist, and through four vignettes from the painting. Then students are asked to consider how they can share the story of their own communities through art.
Students begin by examining the whole painting through five introductory visual art and visual and media art activities. They analyze and interpret the artwork, connect it to the history of Creelsboro, and create and present artwork of their own related to the history of their own communities. Additional readings and activities, linked to the four vignettes that highlight scenes in the painting, permit them to dig deeper.
Documents for Creelsboro Landing, 1890s – Documentary Art Interactive
- Creelsboro Landing, 1890s Documentary Art Interactive Overview – teacher version
- Lesson Set 1 – Rafting Logs – teacher version
- Lesson Set 2 – Fishing – teacher version
- Lesson Set 3 – Campbell’s Ferry – teacher version
- Lesson Set 4 – The Steamboat – teacher version
For students (also accessible through the interactive):