WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to change the Weir Farm designation from Weir Farm National Historic Site to Weir Farm National Historical Park. Because National Historical Parks are generally considerably bigger than National Historic Sites, which may consist of only a single building, the change will better reflect the Weir Farm’s size and importance, while improving recognition of the site and preserving its cultural landscape. Weir Farm preserves the art studio and home of painter J. Alden Weir, and the site includes a farm, gardens and Weir Pond, which is still used by landscape artists today. Weir Farm is only one of two congressionally-approved National Park Service sites in Connecticut. It is also one of just two sites in the National Park Service dedicated to visual arts. U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-04) introduced the companion legislation in the United States House of Representatives.
“Weir Farm is a place where people can learn about artist J. Alden Weir’s work in the impressionist movement and is home to 75 acres used by landscape artists today. These historic grounds have witnessed an uptick in visitors, and more public programming with partners since it was restored in 2014. Weir Farms is a historic gem, and designating it as a National Historical Park will help ensure that future generations can enjoy what it has to offer for years to come,” said Murphy.
“Weir Farm is a beloved destination for art enthusiasts throughout the world, inspiring generations of artists to share their vision of the world. The site is more than just home of J. Alden Weir, it incorporates multiple historical homes, art studios, and farm buildings and is thus worthy of the designation National Historical Park. I am proud to support this legislation that will bring greater visibility to this national treasure,” said Blumenthal.
“Weir Farm is a beautiful and informative place to visit that captures the rich cultural and artistic heritage of our region,” said Himes. “Aspiring artists, nature lovers, and adventuring families can enjoy touring the farmhouse and extensive grounds, taking a class, or learning about local Connecticut history. Changing this designation is the right thing to do and it’s the right time to do it. Walking through Weir Farm in any season is a quintessentially Connecticut experience and now, with its extensive grounds and programmatic offerings, it deserves recognition as a full National Park.”
“Friends of Weir Farm and the Weir Farm Art Alliance, believe that the proposed redesignation of Weir Farm National Historic Site as Weir Farm National Historical Park will increase the visibility of the park with the public. As the not-for-profit partners of this wonderful park, we are pleased to have this opportunity to recognize how the natural, cultural and recreational resources of the park have matured and grown to be so important to the local communities, all of Connecticut, and beyond,” said Liz Castagna, the Vice President on the Board of Friends of Weir Farms NHS.
Weir Farm should be redesignated as a National Historical Park to properly reflect its acreage, number of historic themes and artists, natural and cultural resources, and the national impact of the Weir Farm site. Weir Farm National Historic Site has grown to approximately 75 acres since the original designation in 1990. This expansion has allowed artists and historians to better understand Weir’s enduring artistic legacy. The proposed redesignation will reflect the increased visitation, collaboration with partners, and public programming since the park was restored and reopened in 2014.