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Friday, September 13 2013

Historic Deerfield Has a Lot to Offer

Adapted from two Historic Deerfield press releases:

Historic Deerfield will host a special lecture entitled "The Line of Forts and the Consumer Revolution", on September 21st, and is introducing two new programs this fall that will bring visitors up close to the museum's collection.  "Focus Fridays" is a monthly program that gives visitors the opportunity to study in-depth an object in Historic Deerfield's collection. The program runs on the first Friday of the month and examines a different type of object among the furniture, ceramics, silver, and textile collections.  "Art & Craft" gives visitors who are of a creative nature the chance to study an object in the collection and make a project inspired by the visitor's own take on the past.

"The Line of Forts and the Consumer Revolution", presented by Michael Coe, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale, will take place at 4 p.m., on September 21st, inside the Visitor Center's Hall Tavern Orientation Theater.  It is free and open to the public.  Porfessor Coe is the author of "The Line of Forts: Historical Archaeology on the Colonial Frontier of Massachusetts". During the mid-eighteenth century, colonists constructed a line of forts along the northwest boundary of Massachusetts as a defense against the French and their Indian allies. Many of these "forts" were simply reinforced houses. To the casual observer, the sites might not seem significant--but as Coe argues, two circumstances make these forts more important to the study of eighteenth-century life in the American colonies than their modest size would indicate. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the Massachusetts Archeological Society.

The "Focus Fridays" program kicked-off on Friday, September 6th, with a focus on an object in the furniture collection. It continues on October 4th with a focus on textiles, November 1st with a focus on silver, and December 6th with a focus on ceramics. The "Focus Fridays" program begins at 2 p.m. and is included with general admission to the museum.

The first "Art & Craft" program will be on Friday, September 20th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will study silk objects in the collection and then learn about how silk is made and practice painting on silk.  The next "Art & Craft" program will be on Friday, October 18th, on the topic of wallpapered bandboxes followed by a program on Friday, November 15th, with a program on embroidered linen.  Space is limited and pre-registration is required for "Art & Craft."  To register, contact  The program is included with general admission to the museum and an additional materials fee is required.

In addition to the new programs Historic Deerfield is offering, a variety of programs this fall highlight the handmade.  From learning about using plants to make natural dyes, to pottery made by an artisan working with historic methods, to seeing the food grown and preserved right from the museum's own Cooks' Garden for open hearth cooking, visitors are sure to find inspiration by learning about things made by hand in the past.

Schedule of Events

From Nature to Color: Fun with Natural Dyes
Saturdays and Sundays, September 14- November 30, 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., History Workshop

Flower blossoms, leaves, roots, bark, nuts and even insects have been used to infuse fabric with brilliant color. The science of natural dyeing is in knowing how to harvest and process these materials and how to make dye recipes using mordant to bind color to fiber. Come experiment with us as we use dye plants we have harvested from our own garden like marigolds and coreopsis, and things we have collected from the wild, such as sumac and black walnuts. As you learn about the colors used in colonial dye pots, you can dye a small cloth bag to take home with you. Included with general admission.

Open Hearth Cooking: Foods of the Harvest
September 14, 21, 28; October 4-5, 11-13, 18-19, 25-26, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Hall Tavern Kitchen

Late summer and autumn were busy times in early American kitchens. The abundance of fresh produce needed to be processed and preserved for the winter.  Our cooks this fall will be cooking dishes featuring apples, pumpkins, and corn. Included with general admission.

Historic Trades Demonstrations
Saturdays and Sundays September 28 - December 14, 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Visitors will meet talented craftspeople and observe their work up close. Learn how a printing press was important to communication in colonial times. See a joiner use a series of tools to square, shape, and join separate pieces of wood into a single, strong window sash. Working with the head of fiery coals, the blacksmith deftly transform hard, shapeless metal into a graceful, functional object. Check the calendar for a schedule of specific demonstrations which occur on Saturdays and Sundays September 28 - December 14. Included with general admission.

Saturday, September 28:  Works on Paper
Reproduction Printing Press, Carl Darrow & Paper Marbling, Regina and Dan St. John

Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6:  Metalsmiths Weekend
October 5  Blacksmith, Rick Martin & Tinsmith, Bill McMullen
October 6  Silversmith, Steve Smithers

Saturday, October 12:  18th Century Cabinetmaking with Craig Farrow & Refined English Earthenware with Don Carpentier

Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20:  Works on the Wheel
October 19  Stoneware with Mark Shapiro
October 20  Redware with Stephen Earp

Saturday, October 26:  Architectural Woodworking with Ted Ingraham & Silversmithing Series with Steve Smithers

Saturday, November 2:  The Art of Apparel
Dressmaking with Linda Oakley & Shoemaking with Peter Oakley

Saturday, November 9:  Military Attire in 18th Century New England
Master Tailor Henry Cooke

December 14:  Silversmithing Series with Steve Smithers

Historic Deerfield, Inc., is dedicated to the heritage and preservation of Deerfield, Massachusetts, and the Connecticut River Valley.  Its museums and programs provide today's audiences with experiences that create an understanding and appreciation of New England's historic villages and countryside.

Historic Deerfield is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.   Admission prices:  $14 for adults (18+), $5 for children (6-17), and free for children under 6, Deerfield residents, and members.  For more information visit or call 413-775-7214.

About Historic Deerfield

Historic Deerfield ( is a nationally recognized museum offering tours of period houses and the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. Now featuring exhibitions:

    *Tea Talk: Ritual and Refinement in Early New England Parlors on view March 2, 2013 - February 16, 2014.
    *Into the Woods: Crafting Early American Furniture, a long-term furniture exhibition.
    *Engraved Powder Horns from the French and Indian War and the American Revolution: The William H. Guthman Collection, permanent.
    *Celebrating the Fiber Arts: The Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery, a permanent exhibition with changing elements.

Historic Deerfield also offers relaxed fine dining at Champney's Restaurant and Tavern at the Deerfield Inn, lodging in the Deerfield Inn (, and shopping at the Museum Gift Shop and Bookstore ( Please call (413) 775-7214 for museum information and program schedule.

Museums10 is a dynamic collaboration that heightens awareness of the distinctive offerings of the individual institutions while highlighting the cultural diversity and outstanding educational resource that they collectively represent. Museums10 is facilitated by Five Colleges, Inc., which provides major administrative support for the partnership.  Museums10 includes: the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College; Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens; The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art; Hampshire College Art Gallery; Historic Deerfield; Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; Yiddish Book Center; Smith College Museum of Art; and the University Museum of Contemporary Art, UMass Amherst.  For more information, visit

A portion of Historic Deerfield's operating funds is provided through a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Historic Deerfield
80 Old Main Street, P.O. Box 321
Deerfield, Massachusetts 01342
T: 413-775-7127
F: 413-775-7220