Museums of Weston Colonial Craft Fair to Host Demonstrations
On Saturday, September 14, the Museums of Weston, located on Route 100, will host demonstrations of crafts and machinery from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
Headlining the event will be a cooper and a weaver. The trade of the cooper is the making of round storage containers;
barrels, buckets and tubs. Unlike the cabinet maker or the house wright, where measurements are crucial, the cooper works almost entirely by eye. The weaver will be demonstrating her skill on a newly restored 19th century loom, which is making its first public appearance in decades — perhaps a century — at the Weston Craft Fair.
Other crafts to be presented include spinning, caning, rug hooking, period dressmaking and more. Weston’s Master Tinsmith, David Claggett, will be in residence, sharing his skills and showing his wares.
Weston’s Old Mill is home to one of very few grist mills capable of working under water power, a restored water wheel, and an early 20th century engine that drives either a commercial sharpening stone or a small mill. New to the collection is a Lane Shingle Maker, recently restored by volunteers from the Weston Historical Society, which revolutionized its industry.
In the early days of the 20th century it was estimated that an individual using hand tools of the period, could turn out some 50 shingles in a day; in 1907 the Lane machine, with one operator and assistants loading logs, proved capable of producing 50,000 shingles in one extended day. All of this equipment will be in operation on September 14.
Not operating, but available for inspection, are an 18th century up-and-down saw, an early band saw, a 19th century lathe, a planer and a collection of tools that has been described as “the best in Vermont outside of Shelburne”.
The Farrar-Mansur House Museum, in addition to housing some of the craft demonstrators, has on display a remarkable collection of locally-sourced furniture and accessories from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including portraits, china, toys, samplers and more.
The third museum on the campus, the Craft building, is usually home to the 1880 bandwagon used by the Weston Cornet Band for over 50 years and now restored. Weather permitting, the wagon will be moved outside for better display.
On the second level of the Craft Building, weaving demonstrations will be given throughout the day on the restored loom.
The Museums of Weston are always worthy of a visit. September 14 will be a chance to meet their latest additions, the loom and shingle maker, and be treated to the talents of folks skilled in numerous bygone crafts.
It will be a chance to learn, to enjoy and to spend a day back in a quieter era. Demonstrations will take place between the hours of 11 and 4.
The event has been organized and is hosted by the Weston Historical Society.