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The Village Broadside

The Blog of Historic Deerfield


A Unique Book of Maps

Most academies taught geography through an understanding of maps, perhaps influenced by Emma Willard’s teachings. Willard (1787-1870) declared maps “the written language of geography,” and persuasively argued for their use in the classroom.[3] This often took the form of students creating a graphic representation, whether with pen, ink, and watercolors, or needle and thread, or some combination of the two.

My Favorite Object at Historic Deerfield

In April’s blog, Historic Deerfield President and CEO Philip Zea shares one of his favorite objects in the museum collection – and gives a primer on the nine points of connoisseurship in collecting that you can take with you in the quest for significant art and antiques.

Siege of Boston Powder Horns

March 17, 2021 marks the 245th anniversary of the end of the Siege of Boston, which lasted from April 1775 to March 1776 during the early years of the American Revolution. The siege followed on the heels of the infamous battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts in April 1775.

The Champneys: Deerfield’s Artistic Power Couple

In 1876, the Centennial World’s Fair in Philadelphia equally commemorated our country’s past and envisioned its bright future. This fused energy swept into Deerfield with the arrival of artist James Wells (“Champ”) Champney and his writer wife Elizabeth Williams (“Lizzie”) Champney that summer.

Spiders in the Attic, Beetles in the Basement: Pest Management at Historic Deerfield

Historic Deerfield is proud to welcome visitors from all over the world, but when it comes to the insects that also call western Massachusetts home, we would prefer that they observe our historic houses from the outside. However, since spiders and other insects are wont to set up house wherever they like best, the museum has put in place a program to keep track of these tiny intruders. This system is known as an integrated pest management program, or IPM.

Light Up the Dark Days with a Homemade Lantern

As the days get shorter and the sun sets early in the Northern hemisphere, we look to the past for inspiration for lighting our homes and lives. Historic Deerfield’s collection of eighteenth and nineteenth-century lighting equipment includes fat lamps, candlesticks, sconces, oil lamps and lanterns.

Wedgwood’s Anti-Slavery Medallion

Despite its popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries as a sweetener in beverages such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and punch, sugar in New England (and globally, for that matter) has a very bitter history. As the popularity of sugar increased, the amount of enslaved labor required to harvest sugar also increased to meet the ever higher demand. However, beginning in the 18th century in places such as England, critics of slavery and the slave trade grew louder, and took to expressing their condemnation of slavery on a variety of media, including ceramics. Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) was one such critic, producing in 1787 a ceramic medallion that effectively advocated the abolitionist cause.

Celebrating our Ambassadors – An Interview with William Fennessey

Historic Deerfield is honoring our volunteers this year with a series of interviews we are calling “Celebrating our Ambassadors” that introduces a few of our volunteers to our friends and followers. Our Ambassadors give their time with a variety of special talents. In this blog interview, William (Bill, to us) Fennessey shares his thoughts and memories of his volunteer time.

Board Games

Bored with your daily routine? Are you in a Netflix binging rut? Turn off your devices and dust off your chess set, play a game of checkers or mancala, crack open a dictionary and look for new words for a scrabble match, or teach yourself how to play a favorite old tavern game like table-top nine pins, shut the box, nine men’s morris, or fox and geese.This Monday we’re encouraging you play board games and to create your own.