Weir Farm National Historic Site | PARK AT A GLANCE

House of Julian Alden Weir

House of Julian Alden Weir

PARK OVERVIEW

Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton, Connecticut, preserves the home of Julian Alden Weir, an American artist who played a role in popularizing the Impressionist art movement in America. Originally an academic artist who painted with fine detail, Weir scoffed at the works of Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, calling one Impressionist art exhibition that he attended while in Paris a “chamber of horrors.” However, he gradually warmed to the style and helped create what is called American Impressionism—not quite as abstract as the European movement, but far from the fine detail found in Academic art.

J. Alden Weir’s farm was always open to his artist friends, and many of the most influential artists of the late 1800s and early 1900s came to visit, including Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Singer Sergent, and John Henry Twachtman. After Weir’s death in 1919, his daughter Dorothy, also an artist and wife of accomplished sculptor Mahonri Young (grandson of Brigham Young), inherited the farm and continued the tradition of welcoming the great artists of the day. In fact, Weir Farm National Historic Site is actually dedicated to American painting—the only National Park to do so—not specifically to J. Alden Weir. It is also the only National Park in Connecticut.

When Mahonri Young died in 1957 (Dorothy died ten years earlier), his children from his first marriage inherited the property and began to sell it off to real estate developers. Cora Weir Burlingham—another of Weir’s daughters and owner of the property south of the Weir House—and Sperry and Doris Andrews—the couple who bought the Weir House and outbuildings from the Young children—fought to have the farm preserved. It took until 1990 for the Weir Farm National Historic Site to be created, and only 60 acres of the farm’s original 238 acres were saved from development. Cora died in 1986, but Sperry and Doris were still alive to see their dream come true, and in fact continued to live in the Weir House, often greeting park guests, until their deaths, Doris’s in 2003 and Sperry’s in 2005.

Today visitors can watch a short film about J. Alden Weir in the Burlingham House Visitor Center, take a guided tour of the Weir House, visit both the Weir and Young art studios, walk the grounds of the farm, and hike out to Weir Pond. There are very few information panels around the park, so nearly everything you will learn during a visit comes from the film and the tour of the house and art studios. The National Park Service also offers free art programs for both adults and children, though this is more pertinent to local residents than to out-of-town visitors.

For those looking to do more hiking, there are an additional three miles of trails at the 110-acre Weir Preserve that borders the south side of Weir Farm National Historic Site. The Preserve is not run by the National Park Service, though most hikers won’t make a distinction between the two.


OPERATING HOURS

Burlington House Visitor Center, Weir House, and Weir and Young Studios

  • May 1st until October 31st
  • Wednesdays through Sundays
  • 10 AM to 4 PM

Guided tours of the Weir House are typically held at 11 AM, 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM.

The park grounds are open daily year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Times can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to get the current schedule on the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for Weir Farm National Historic Site.


FEES

There are no fees associated with a visit to the park.


SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Weir House Tour
allow 45 minutes

Weir and Young Studios
allow 30 minutes

Hike to Weir Pond
allow 1 hour

Visitor Center
allow 30 minutes


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Last updated on June 1, 2020
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