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Monday, September 23 2013

Learn About Our Region's Unique History of Furniture-Making

Adapted from a Historic Deerfield press release:

The exhibition, Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts, will open to the public on Saturday, September 28th, and will highlight 150 years of furniture-making in the region, from the 1680s to the 1830s. Nearly 60 objects from Historic Deerfield's collection will help to tell the story of the region's contribution to American design history and the emergence of a national identity.

Furniture Masterworks is a part of the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture collaborative of ten state institutions highlighting Massachusetts furniture-making through the centuries.  In honor of the statewide celebration, Governor Deval Patrick named Tuesday, September 17, Massachusetts Furniture Day.

The exhibition features furniture made in western Massachusetts by local craftsmen. These include two Hadley chests, the so-called "HD" and "KK" chests from Historic Deerfield's collection.  The chests will be a highlight of the exhibition for visitors.  Each chest has had its paint analyzed by Historic Paint Analyst Susan Buck of Williamsburg, VA.  From the analysis, Historic Deerfield Curator of Furniture Joshua Lane was able to discover the original color schemes for each chest. "The late 19th-century paint on the "HD" chest has nothing to do with its original colors," Lane said. "Evidence of a first layer of Prussian blue paint, applied when the chest was being built, is visible on the edges of panels that have, over the centuries, pulled away from the frame.  It's a really exciting discovery!"

Full-scale models of both chests' facades will be painted in their original color schemes based on information from Buck's analysis and from pigments made by Historic Paint Conservator and Consultant Erika Sanchez Goodwillie. The models will give visitors a good sense of the objects as they originally appeared.

The Hadley chests are just two of the many unique objects that will be on display for visitors to enjoy. The Furniture Masterworks exhibition will be located in The Wright House at Historic Deerfield. The ongoing exhibition will be open daily starting September 28th, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is included with general admission to the museum.

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 Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture

Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture is a collaborative project of Historic Deerfield and ten other institutions that features exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, and publications to celebrate the Bay State's legacy of furniture-making. Visit

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