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From these statements of the increase in wealth and population, it is readily seen that the educational institutions of the State have not kept pace with her material growth. It is equally clear that the financial condition of the State has been such that it will justify any appropriations which she has yet made for the improvement of her schools and the education of her children, and a reasonable and liberal provision for the future, having reference to the increase of our people in wealth and population. The importance of the education and enlightenment of the people is growing more and more apparent, as we witness the avalanche of ignorance and illiteracy which is annually landed upon our shores, and which is destined more and more to affect our institutions. Compare the rural districts of to-day with those of fifty years ago, and you find them largely peopled by a different class of population. The puritan element is fast dying out, and a people with different tastes and different tendencies is gradually taking possession of the land. It is no longer merely the Anglo-Saxon and his descendants, but it is made up largely of those who have been trained in a very different school, or, more correctly, in no school at all. It is for the thoughtful, patriotic men who hold the supremacy in the State to sustain a system of popular education which will dispel this flood of ignorance, and substitute in its place that education of the mind and that purity of the heart which are essential to the success and maintenance of republican institutions.
STATE NORMAL ART-SCHOOL. The legislature of Massachusetts, at the session of 1873, authorized the sergeant-at-arms, with the consent and approval of the commissioners on the State House, to assign the rooms on the third floor of house No. 33 Pemberton Square to the Board of Education, for the use of the State Normal ArtSchool, and allowed the sum of seventy-five hundred dollars for the expenses of a State Normal Art-School, the same to be expended under the direction of the Board of Education. The school was established, and is now in successful operation. It is under the special charge of Mr. Walter Smith, Art-Director of the Commonwealth, acting under the direction of the Board of Education. A board of visitors constitutes a sub-committee, having the general supervision of the Normal Art-School, as the several boards of visitors have the supervision of the other Normal Schools in the State.
To many the experiment of a State Normal Art-School seemed of doubtful utility, but its success has more than justified the hopes of its friends. There is much more involved in art-education than appears in a superficial view of the subject. Especially is this true in reference to industrial drawing, which includes both instrumental and freehand drawing. We are liable to get an impression that a Drawing School is a kind of institution devoted to making pictures without any result which can be considered useful or practical. Nothing can be further from the truth. Art-education, and especially what is termed industrial drawing, tends not only to develop the taste, but to give accuracy of perception and a development of skill which are greatly needed in America. The lamentable want of taste shown in the architecture and the fitting and finishing of many of our dwellings, fully justifies the expressive phrase of one who had been shocked too often for his own peace of mind, If I hadn't any taste I'd buy some.” If those having our schools in charge are wise, they will encourage this branch of education, because, unless the most thoughtful educators are entirely mistaken in their views, instruction in art, and especially in industrial drawing, tends directly to remedy a very palpable defect in the education of the century now coming to a close. The Board of Education was so much impressed with the importance of providing competent instructors in industrial drawing, that it recommended the establishment of the State Normal Art-School. The legislature readily responded to the recommendation, and provided the means for its establishment. The school was commenced in 1873.
Total number of applicants for admission, . .
Since the above table was furnished, the number of pupils has increased to 330.
The legislature of 1875 authorized the sergeant-at-arms to assign the rooms on the first and second floors of the house No. 24 Pemberton Square to the Board of Education for the use of the State Normal Art-School during the present lease. After the adjournment of the legislature, the Visitors of the school found themselves in a very embarrassing situation. There never had been so great a demand for the school. The teachers were all procured, and the means for paying them had been provided by the legislature. It was then ascertained that the lease of No. 24 would terminate before the commencement of the school year, and that the school must either be substantially abandoned, or some other suitable place provided. Under the authority and advice of the Board of Education, and with the assent of the governor of the State, measures were taken to procure a lease of certain rooms in the School Street Block upon School Street, in Boston, for the term of three years, with the option of five years on the part of the Board, at an annual rent of five thousand dollars and an equitable proportion of the taxes; and of four other rooms in the same building, for the term of three years, at the rate of eight hundred dollars for the first year, and one thousand dollars per year for the last two years, and taxes, the lessors taking the risk that the next legislature will confirm the arrangement. The terms are favorable, the accommodations are quite satisfactory, and although, for a school of this kind, it would probably be better that the State should own the school-building, yet,
taking all things into account, the Board considers the arrangement made by the Visitors a judicious one, and cordially recommends its approval and adoption. The Board respectfully invites every member of the state government to visit the rooms at some time during the session of the legislature, and judge for himself of the wisdom of the Board in endeavoring to fit teachers in drawing for the various schools of the Commonwealth. The results will not be seen at once, but unless we are most thoroughly mistaken in our views, the men and women of the next generation will have abundant reason to bless the men and women of this generation who shall help to sustain and develop a true system of industrial drawing in our Public Schools.
In the matter of fitting up the rooms for the Normal ArtSchool upon School Street, and repairing the Normal School house at Salem, the Board has been under the necessity of assuming certain expenses, explanations of which will be found in the reports of the visitors of the Salem Normal School, and of the Normal Art-School.
The legislature of this State, at the session of 1874, directed this Board to inquire into the expediency of a new survey of the State. A committee of the Board considered the subject with great care, advising with a committee of scientific gentlemen in regard to the necessity and expense of such a survey. The report of the committee of the Board was unanimously adopted, and presented to the legislature in January, 1875. It was referred to the joint committee on education, which reported a bill providing for such a survey. This was referred to the appropriation committee, and favorably reported back by that committee. It was discussed in the House, some question was raised in regard to the accuracy of the estimated cost of the work, and it was principally on this account that it was not adopted by the House.
The Board had no personal knowledge of the expense, and therefore obtained estimates from gentlemen connected with the coast survey of the United States, whose lives have been spent in works of this kind, executed in the most thorough and expensive manner,—and also from gentlemen who have been engaged in the surveys of several large States,—and adopted their opinion as the basis of their estimate. The Board believes there are no better experts in the country, and that the estimate was care