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The Village Broadside

The Blog of Historic Deerfield


Digging in the Dirt: Arad Munn’s Second Job

The death of a loved one can be sudden and shocking, or the inevitable result of a long decline. Either way, those that remain find themselves tasked with the immediate details of death, such as preparing the body for burial, procuring a coffin, arranging a viewing and/or funeral, finding a burial site, and digging a grave.

An Unusual Scaleboard Account Book

Over the past decade, scaleboard bindings have attracted the interest of the book history community. Named because the book covers were made of thin pieces of wood that had been shaved, planed or scaled down to just several millimeters in thickness, this binding style was popular almost exclusively in New England from the early 18th through the early 19th centuries.

On the Mend

In the spring of 2020, I was one of the many people who sought to learn a new skill as a way to pass the long hours at home. My pandemic hobby was darning. When I went online in search of tutorials and videos that would teach me to repair the worn out heels of my old wool socks, I discovered to my surprise that darning was actually in!

Hold on for the Drop: Creelman House, Champney Legacy

Have you experienced the gut-punch when learning something surprising about a good friend? This is sometimes how it feels to study history. We learn the stories and voices of people from the past. Their world becomes less foreign but nevertheless remains impossible to reach. Every so often we find something unexpected.

What’s for Dinner?: Examining the Tools of Hearth Cooking

Generations of cooks have known the daily chore of putting food on the table for anxious mouths. Today, we have little trouble readying and preparing food—even if the result might not be perfect. Few modern American spend time butchering hogs, plucking feathers off chickens, grinding corn, or milking cows to make a meal.

Historic Deerfield Reopens for the Season April 16

At Historic Deerfield, our spring tasks aren’t the same as those recommended to the rural New Englanders of over 150 years go. We don’t get our potatoes in the ground early, set up our asparagus beds, nor plow. But the same spirit of renewal and preparation holds sway for us as we prepare to receive our own favorite crop: visitors!

Owen Jones’s Revolution in Color

In 1845, author Charles Hayter published the sixth edition of his popular artist’s manual An Introduction to Perspective, Practical Geometry, Drawing and Painting . Hayter, a noted portrait painter and drawing master to King George IV’s daughter Princess Charlotte, issued it several times beginning in 1813 until …

Revolutionary Recycling

When did we become the United States? Most Americans who know something of our history would probably say 1776; others might mention the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in September of that year. And what of the rest of the world? When did widespread recognition of our sovereignty occur?

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.