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OLD STONE HOUSE MUSEUM HIGHLIGHTS          Editor: Nancy Nourse

Date: March 8, 2012  Region: Vermont

timetravelers 000In February, the Old Stone House Museum held its 11th Annual Collectors Fair at the Orleans Elementary School. Collections of all sorts were displayed on long rows of tables, where collectors happily chatted about their hobbies with visitors.

Items on display included old post cards, antique radios and phonographs, a working train set, a Madame Alexander Doll collection, Fisher Price toys, spark plugs, small steam engines, sap spouts, coins, figurine bottle openers, early automobile parts and signs, model airplanes, old photographs, sled runner patterns, and lots of antiques.

To add to their list of winter activities was an old-fashioned Kitchen Junket and sliding party, held on Sunday, February 26. Burt Porter and friends were on hand to provide music for square dancing in the kitchen of the Samuel Read Hall House. People were invited to bring their cross country skis and sleds and go sliding on the museum grounds, as snowfall permitted. Admission to this family friendly event was free, but like the Kitchen Junkets in the old days, contributions ofbrownington 07 refreshments were appreciated.

Neal Perry and his Morgan horses were well-organized to offer sleigh rides. If there hadn't been enough snow, wagon rides were to be offered, for just $5 a person. Proceeds from this activity will be going toward this summer's construction of a barn beside the Old Stone House.

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The village of Brownington, Vermont, in the rural countryside of the Northeast Kingdom, was once bustling area in the early 18th century. The stage coach stopped here on its journey between Lower Canada and Boston, Massachusetts. The first road in the county, the Hinman Settler Road, went through Brownington, connecting the town of Greensboro VT with Derby, Vt.

Located in a quiet and picturesque Northeast Kingdom village, the museum includes six buildings on fifty five acres. Seemingly untouched by time, this hillside town is centered around a monumental stone dormitory, called Athenian Hall, built in 1834-36 by the Rev. Alexander Twilight, the nation's first African-American college graduate and state legislator. The stone houseosh-web now houses 21 rooms of exhibits focusing on 19th century life in northern Vermont. The collection includes furniture, textiles, photographs, pottery, folk and fine art, and many of the tools and utensils of daily life. The exhibits continue in Twilight's own house, two more historic houses and a traditional barn: the Samuel Read Hall House, the Cyrus Eaton House, the Twilight Homestead, the Twilight Farmhouse, the Old Stone House and the Lawrence barn. Today, the northern part of the village is known as the Brownington Historic District and has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1973.

Each year, children, aged 8-12 years of age, experience the life of the olden day by becoming "Time Travelers" at the Old Stone House Museum for a week of hand-skills and history and fun. The day camp, now in its fifteenth year, attracts outstanding regional craftspeople with solid teaching experience as staff. This summer's craft skills will include: Blacksmith, Farming, Pottery, Hearth, Wood Craft, and Decorative Arts (July 23-27, 2012)

travelersIn the fall of 2009, children from the Old Stone House Museum's Time Travelers Camp took part in raising the timber frame of the new blacksmith shop next to the Alexander Twilight House. The next spring the building was open for educational use. Besides the big brick forge, there are a couple of portable forges and anvils that can be set up outside, so that multiple students can work at the same time. Classes range from learning beginning skills, to making a pair of tongs to creating an old-fashioned thumb latch for a door. There are regular hammer-ins during the summer. (Check our events listings for date and time).

For more information on this 'step into the early history of Northern Vermont' and future activities planned by the Old Stone House Museum, contact Peggy at 802-754-2022.



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