Adventures on the Prowl for Early Vermont Furniture
On Saturday, October 13, at 2 p.m., The Bennington Museum will welcome William Hosley, historian, writer and photographer as he presents ‘Adventures on the Prowl for Early Vermont Furniture,’ a discussion about the discoveries he made from 40 years of sleuthing around small museums, private estates and estate auctions in search of Vermont-made furniture treasures.
Beginning in the 1970s, Hosley conducted the first statewide survey of Vermont furniture and has been turning over stones in search of new discoveries ever since. Admission is $7 for members and $10 for not-yet-members, and includes Hosley’s talk and admittance to the Museum’s Early Vermont Gallery. Vermont is a place where locally grown is alive and doing very well, and has been since the late 1700s. Vermont cabinetmakers, operating amidst abundant raw materials and liberated from the shadow of major cities, continue to provide convincing evidence of an emerging American artistic culture. Vermont supplied its own needs for furnishings and housing from the time of first settlement well into the 19th century when railroads brought imported goods from distant markets.
Using local materials and design to satisfy local tastes, Vermont cabinetmakers, chair makers and joiners produced furniture of distinctive quality. This important chapter in the art history of early Vermont is the focal point of Early Vermont, Bennington Museum’s most recent permanent gallery installation, presenting life in Vermont from the time when the earliest European settlers arrived in 1761 with only the bare necessities, to the early 1800s when Vermont craftsmen achieved a level of sophistication rivaling Boston and New York. (1760s to early-1800s) Explored through stories and vignettes, this gallery showcases over 85 major pieces and smaller items from the Museum’s extensive historical collection of over 30,000 objects. In addition, this important chapter in the art history of early Vermont and Vermont-made is kept alive today by the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers and several prominent Vermont-based furniture manufacturers.
Hosley discovered his passion for art, architecture and local history while a student at Vermont Academy and Middlebury College. By the age of 25, he’d visited – camera in hand – all 251 towns in Vermont. As an expert in heritage tourism, he has studied, lectured and advised museums and heritage destinations around the country. Hosley has also served as a content specialist for PBS, BBC and CPTV film documentaries.
Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main Street/Route 9 in Bennington. Call 802-447-1571 or visit benningtonmuseum.org.