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Archaeology, History, Art History
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Archaeology


Contact and the Deeds
In 1525, Verrazano mapped the New England coastline. This was Contact. This meeting between the Native Americans and the Europeans brought many changes to the lives of the indigenous people. These lectures will address these changes, as well as the initial land deals that took place among the Native Americans, the Dutch, and the English between the Norwalk River and the North (Hudson) River. Instructor Lynn-Marie Wieland is a lithic (stone tools) archaeologist specializing in southern New England prehistory focusing on the Indians of the Ridgefield area. She minored in Meso American Archaeology and has a traveled extensively in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.


2 Sessions $ 52 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 44)

Wed., 9/21 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Annex. Zoom option available (hybrid).



The Original Settlers of Ridgefield
There is evidence that people have been present in Ridgefield for 10,000 years. These lectures will address how these people coped with their climate changes, and how they used and changed their land so that they could survive, increase, and flourish. It is also the story of how they ceased to be wanders, and became settlers in this land we call Ridgefield and they called Caudatowa. Instructor Lynn-Marie Wieland is a lithic (stone tools) archaeologist specializing in southern New England prehistory focusing on the Indians of the Ridgefield area. She minored in Meso American Archaeology and has a traveled extensively in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.


3 Sessions $ 77 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 65)

Wed., 10/12, 19, 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Annex. Zoom option available (hybrid).


European and Russian History


The Crusades
Some spectacular, others failures, and most spectacular failures, the Crusades continue to be one of the most bizarre and fascinating episodes in human history. What induced European peasants and kings to walk over three thousand miles to fight over a city in the desert? How did the Crusades so rapidly spiral out of hand that even the Pope couldn't control them? This course will cover the main Crusades of the medieval era and their sizable impact on history as we know it. Instructor Joshua Hoffman is an experienced and certified history teacher with a specialty in Classics, Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

4 Sessions $ 77 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 65)
Wed., 10/12, 19, 26; 11/2 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Zoom.


Note on Nancy Maxwell's Classes:
There is a series from the Creation of Italy through World War II and the Cold War on Monday Afternoons. There is a series of Russian History on Tuesday evenings. If you take both, they intersect (but do not duplicate) in the World War I era.


The Creation of Germany
Perhaps because of her dominant role in two world wars, it is easy to think of Germany as an old nation with a long history. But Germany is a young state, less than 150 years old. The original territory was divided into myriad small holdings ruled by independent noble families and surrounded by the powerful states of Austria and France; the path to unification would be blocked by all of these. Despite earlier attempts, it took the rise of Otto von Bismarck, with his cunning, wisdom, and political acuity, to overcome all these obstacles and establish the German Empire. This class will consider the events and personalities that led to the creation of the German Empire. Scroll down for instructor Nancy Maxwell's bio.

1 Session $ 29 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 25)

Mon., 9/19 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Zoom.


Enlightened Despots
The Scientific Revolution and Age of Enlightenment brought new knowledge and ideas to an increasingly literate European society that was hungry for information. The famous “salons” of Paris, attended by aristocratic men and women alike, helped to spread new ways of thinking about philosophy, religion, government, and mankind itself. Products of their age, some monarchs embraced the new ideas, hoping to reform systems and strengthen their states, but what happened when ideas of reform clashed with notions of their own power? How far could the enlightenment go? We will examine the plans, personalities, and performance of Frederick the Great, Maria Theresa, Joseph II, and Catherine the Great. Scroll down for instructor Nancy Maxwell's bio.

1 Session $ 29 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 25)

Tue., 9/27 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom.


The Creation of Italy
A visitor to Italy today travels freely about to explore the prized cities of Florence, Naples, Rome, and Venice. But it was not always so easy: Italy is a relatively new country, and the fabled cities may indeed be regarded as prizes, because they did not all join Italy willingly! It took a combination of the wily statesman Camillo Cavour, the political activism of the secret revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini, and the romantic nationalism of Giuseppe Garibaldi – none of whom wanted to work together - to draw disparate “Italians” together. And even that wasn’t quite enough. Napoleon III and Bismarck had something to add. This presentation will look at the remarkable personalities and events that led to the emergence of a unified Italy in 1871. Scroll down for instructor Nancy Maxwell's bio.

2 Sessions $ 39 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 33)
Mon., 10/3 and 17 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Zoom. No class 10/10.


The Crimean War
Nancy Maxwell relates the territorial ambition that drew the great powers into war in the 19th century. Queen Victoria was securely on her throne; Czar Nicholas I was securely on his. How did an issue over a church in Palestine end up causing these empires, as well as France and the Ottomans, to go to war against each other? Territorial ambition, religion, and folly combined to ignite the disastrous Crimean War, epitomized by the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade. Scroll down for instructor Nancy Maxwell's bio.
1 Session $ 29 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 25)
Tue., 10/11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom.


The Last of the Romanovs
The 300 year old Romanov dynasty, all powerful rulers of the Russian empire, came to a shocking end in 1917 as the Russian Revolution swept across the country. For some time their story was lost, swallowed by bigger events. How did Czar Nicholas II, a gentle, family man, end up in a remote prison? What happened to his five children, all on the brink of bright futures? What was the fate of the extended Romanov family? Let’s trace their story and resolve some of the mystery! Scroll down for instructor Nancy Maxwell's bio.

1 Session $ 29 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 25)
Tue., 10/18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom.


The Russian Revolution
Like the German and Austrian empires, the Russian empire too was a casualty of the First World War. Had war not broken out, would the tsars have been able to maintain autocratic control of the country? This course will examine the state of Russia and its government in the early twentieth century and then follow the chain of events that toppled Nicholas II, destroyed the Romanov dynasty, and brought Lenin to power after the outbreak of war. Scroll down for instructor Nancy Maxwell's bio.

2 Sessions $ 39 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 33)
Tue., 10/25 and 11/1 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom.


World War I and the Versailles Settlement
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in June of 1914 triggered a chain of events that culminated in a global war that saw four years of horrific fighting. By its end, three empires had collapsed, European society had been irrevocably changed, and a new map was drawn. When hostilities finally ended in 1918, the peacemakers faced enormous challenges. The geopolitical face of Europe been irrevocably changed by the war; there were cries for revenge and retribution; and a delicate new balance of power had to be established. What were the primary goals of “the big 3” - Georges Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Woodrow Wilson? How did the war come about? Was it inevitable? Were the seeds of World War II indeed planted in the ensuing peace treaties
This course will cover the alliances, personalities, and political ideals that shaped the course of events of World War I and its aftermath. Scroll down for instructor Nancy Maxwell's bio.

3 Sessions $ 58 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 49)
Mon., 10/24, 31; 11/7 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Zoom.


World War II and the Cold War
It can be hard to believe that only twenty years after the horrors and devastation of World War I, and the lessons learned from it, the world went to war again. Did the terms of the Treaty of Versailles indeed provoke this, or is there more to the story? What was the appeasement policy of the 1930’s? An examination of these events as well as the stages, operations, and theaters of the war will help us understand how the very alliance that secured victory over the Axis powers evolved into the deadly arms race and threats of the ensuing Cold War. Scroll down for instructor Nancy Maxwell's bio.

3 Sessions $ 58 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 49)
Mon., 11/14, 21; 12/5 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Zoom. No class 11/28.


Nancy Maxwell - Instructor Bio:

As a student at Cornell, Ms. Maxwell was encouraged to major in Psychology, but her interest in the humanities was always paramount, and her reading of History has taken pride of place.

As a teacher and counselor in an international school in Switzerland for more than twenty years, she had the opportunity to familiarize herself with the palaces and cathedrals of European cities, to savor the extraordinary wealth of artistic treasure that they contain, and to walk in the very footsteps of historical figures.

Her understanding of European history has been enriched as much by exhausting days walking the corridors and grounds of the Palace of Versailles as by descending to the dismal, tragic halls of the Conciergerie. It has similarly been her privilege to tramp the Parisian streets from the site of the Bastille by way of the Louvre and the Tuileries gardens to the Place de la Concorde and thence along the Champs Elyses to Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe. These experiences have provided both a mental and physical context in which people who lived centuries ago regain their humanity and tell their stories. It is her delight to share those stories with students.