Due to COVID-19, our programs and events for the remainder of 2020 have been cancelled. We are looking forward to getting together with you in 2021. Until then, stay healthy and safe.

The Noah Blake Outhouse, Rebuilt and Returned

In the summer of 2016, Barb Russ of the Eric Sloane Museum was made aware of an estimate to have the Noah Blake Outhouse refurbished, the low estimate coming in at over $7,500. Friends board founder and president James Mauch conferred with Barb and with Catherine Labadia of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development concerning the willingness of the state to have the Friends assume responsibility for the outhouse, and it was agreed that James would either restore or replicate the outhouse based upon an assessment of the structure.

The underside of the Noah Blake outhouse revealed the substantial degradation of the bottom support structure.  Much of the wood showed signs of wood destroying insect infestation.

The initial intent was to repair the outhouse following the recommendations set forth by the architectural firm hired by the state of Connecticut to provide building assessments for structures at the Eric Sloane Museum of Kent. Unfortunately, the outhouse was more substantively degraded than it appeared in situ. After a thorough condition assessment, it was determined that it would have been very difficult and not cost effective to repair the outhouse following the plan set forth in the architectural overview document.  It was far more cost effective to replace the outhouse, with the added benefit that the outhouse would be more in keeping historically with what Eric Sloane envisioned in Diary of An Early American Boy.

Interior framing of the Noah Blake outhouse, showing modern dimensional lumber and framing nails.

Detail of the framing used in the Noah Blake outhouse

Unfortunately, most of the sawn lumber was rotted and displayed obvious signs of having been cut with a circular blade.  Ironically, Sloane himself wrote of the invention of the circular saw by a Quaker woman in 1825.  Others have pointed to an earlier date for the invention, but either historical possibility makes it difficult to believe that an outhouse supposedly standing in 1805 would be clad in boards that were cut by a circular saw.

The approach taken in the reconstruction of the Noah Blake outhouse was one that placed the outhouse in context with both what Eric drew in his illustrations for the Diary book, as well as what was happening historically in the Kent area c. 1805.  Both suggested heavier timber framed construction, blacksmith forged nails, period door hinges, split shingle roof shakes, and lumber dressed to reflect ways of working wood in the period.

The discussions and research that informed the approach of the outhouse was considered when discussing the refurbishment of the Noah Blake cabin.   The cabin, it turned out, presented many of the exact same challenges as the outhouse, with an added and important twist

2017 Calendar of Events at the Eric Sloane Museum

2017: Noah Blake and His Wonderful Cabin

Saturday, May 6th – The Eric Sloane Museum kicks off the 2017 season with a series of lectures by President of the Kent Historical Society, Friends of the Eric Sloane board member, and historian Mike Everett. The first lecture, Nature: The Howling Wilderness will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on May 6th. This talk examines the religious implications of “the untamed wilderness”. For example, early settlers took literally the biblical ideal that man is to organize the land, so colonists brought with them new plants that were to alter the landscape. What are the implications today? Suggested donation of $10 per class or purchase a Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum family level membership for $35 for the year and attend all four classes for free (and receive some great benefits, too!). This lecture includes admission to the museum. Other membership levels are also available.

Saturday & Sunday, May 5th & May 6th – Discounted Admission to the Eric Sloane Museum in conjunction with the Connecticut Antique Machinery Associations Spring Power Up.

Saturday, May 20th – The second in the lecture series sponsored by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum: Geometry – who owned land, how does it get subdivided? What types of regulations were in place compared to today’s standards and what is the evolution of restrictions? This lecture will be held from 9 to 10:30 on May 20th. Suggested donations $10 per class or free with the purchase of a Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum family level membership.

Saturday, June 3rd – The third in the lecture series sponsored by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum: Built Form – Built to Survive, looking for surplus, wealth, organizations of building, how convention of building changes, how a building indicated status using ornamentation to enhance appearance of class. Ordinary versus extraordinary equaled the distinction that continues through today. This lecture will be held Saturday, June 3rd from 9 to 10:30 on June 3rd. Suggested donations $10 per class or free with the purchase of a Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum family level membership.

Saturday June 10th – Connecticut Open House, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free admission to the Eric Sloane Museum. Learn about the restoration of the Noah Blake Cabin, view early American tools and methods of construction that would have been used to build a c. 1805 structure, take a tour of the cabin with Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum founder Jim Mauch, and learn about our upcoming hands-on classes in traditional building skills.

Tuesday, July 4th – The museum will be open from 10 to 4 with the traditional bell ringing at 2:00 PM. The bell ringing is free but admission is charged to visit the museum.

Saturday, August 19th Ye Olde Tyme Outhouse program in conjunction with the return of the Noah Blake outhouse, restored off-site by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum. Historian Georg Papp will bring outhouse models representing separate eras in addition to display boards, photos and articles. This talk will be informative as well as entertaining with some American history mixed in. The lecture is free but donations on behalf of the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum are welcome. 10 A.M., followed by the re-dedication of the restored Noah Blake outhouse. Sponsored by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, September 22nd, 23rd, & 24th. Discount admission is being offered in conjunction with the Connecticut Antique Machinery’s Fall Festival, 10 to 4 each day. On Saturday, September 23rd, from noon until 3 p.m., learn about the restoration of the Noah Blake Cabin, view early American tools and methods of construction that would have been used to build a c. 1805 structure, take a tour of the cabin with Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum founder Jim Mauch, and learn about our upcoming hands-on classes in traditional building skills.

October – Fundraising event to raise money for the restoration of the Noah Blake Cabin. More information to be announced.

For more information on any of these programs, please call the museum at 860-927-3849

 

I hope that I might be quoted someday as having said: “The only value of age is that it gave time for someone to have done something worthwhile”.

-Eric Sloane, The Second Barrel

 

Your support helps to preserve and promote Eric Sloane’s legacy.

Find us on the web: www.friendsoftheericsloanemuseum.org

On Facebook: Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum

 

Saturday May 6th

Please join us this Saturday on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum in Kent, Connecticut, for the opening of the 2017 programming season : Noah Blake and His Wonderful Cabin.

The Eric Sloane Museum kicks off the 2017 season with a series of lectures by President of the Kent Historical Association, Friends of the Eric Sloane board member, and historian Mike Everett. The first lecture, Nature: the Howling Wilderness will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on May 6th. This talk examines the religious implications of “the untamed wilderness”. For example, early settlers took literally the biblical ideal that man is to organize the land, so colonists brought with them new plants that were to alter the landscape. What are the implications today? Suggested donation of $10 per class or purchase a Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum family level membership for $35 for the year and attend all four classes for free (and receive some great benefits, too!). This lecture includes admission to the museum. Other membership levels are also available.

Thank You to our new and

renewing members of the Friends

of the Eric Sloane Museum

Our thanks to our new and renewing members (since 1/17) in the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum.  Your financial support provides events, programming, and logistical support to the staff of the Eric Sloane Museum.  Your commitment underscores your support of Eric Sloane and the museum he founded.  Thank you.

Volunteer Membership ($20 annually)

Spencer Parrish

Individual Membership ($35 annually)

Anne Gallagher, Anne Gallagher Catering

Hattie Mauch

Bruce H. Perry

Clayton Preston

Scott Sheldon

George Stickels

Gayle Waterman

Dayna Wenzel

Family Membership ($50 annually)

William and Karen Kovacs

Alice and Richard Mandel

Ted and Jeanne Storb

Robert and Susan Vincent

Sponsor Membership ($100 or more annually)

Robin Dill, House of Books

Peter and Carol Kern

James and Rebecca Mauch

David and Allison Shelby

Harold H. Stewart

 Thank You To Our Contributors to the Noah

Blake Cabin Restoration Fund

We thank the following people for their generous financial support for our Noah Blake Cabin Restoration Fund:

Robin Dill (Robin owns Kent’s House of Books and has been a steadfast supporter of the Friends group for years).

Carol Fenner, in memory of her husband Robert Fenner.  Bob was a great admirer of Eric Sloane and worked tirelessly on several projects related to commemorating Eric, one of the most significant being  the Eric Sloane Commemoratives Committee.  Bob organized and ran the committee, with the stated purpose of working to ensure that Eric Sloane was honored on a United States postage stamp.  Bob was of critical help during the formation of the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum, and his wisdom was sought on many occasions.  Specifically, Bob was instrumental in assisting with the onerous task of filing for 501c3 non-profit status with the IRS.  Bob shared with Friends founder James Mauch copies of his work related to forming the Eric Sloane Commemoratives Committee so that the Friends group would have a model from which to work for their own application.  It can be stated that it is doubtful that the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum would have ever achieved non-profit status without Bob’s help.  We’ll all miss his insight, wisdom, and guidance.

Anne Gallagher, Chef extraordinaire, who provided her talents to the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum during our dedication of the traditional New England dry laid stone wall,  Chef Anne became a member, supporter, and friend.

Arthur C. Hastings

Peter and Carol Kern, long time supporters who knew Eric Sloane.

William and Karen Kovacs

James and Rebecca Mauch, parents of founder James Mauch.

Bruce H. Perry, who has graciously offered some early American tools from his collection to help outfit the cabin.

Clayton Preston, talented artist and supporter, who has shown his art at our annual show since it’s inception.

David and Allison Shelby

Harold Stewart, our friend from the other side of the country, who has supported us generously for many years.

Ted and Jeanne Storb

Dayna Wenzel, another talented artist who joins us annually for our art exhibit and sale.  You can see her art here.

Thank You!

The Restoration of the Noah Blake Cabin

The Noah Blake Cabin

ERIC SLOANE UPON COMPLETION OF THE NOAH BLAKE CABIN

When Eric Sloane’s Dairy of An Early American Boy:  Noah Blake – 1805 was published in 1962, “Eric Sloane” was already synonymous with “American”.  Having painted everything from “cloudscapes” (a term he coined) to covered bridges, and written on subjects as seemingly diverse as meteorology and barns, Eric Sloane was looking for a way to synthesize so much of what he had explored in oils and in words. “Not long ago”, reads the dust jacket of the book, “Eric Sloane was exploring an ancient house and came upon a small, leather-bound, wood- backedvolume…” It was through this volume that Eric found the crucible in which to explore weather, clouds, barns, early American architecture, farm life, and pioneer culture.  Out of this crucible came a profusely illustrated work of great charm and wonder.

Not just charming and wonderful, it turned out, but very popular.  In fact, Dairy of An Early American Boy:  Noah Blake – 1805 proved popular enough to attract the attention of Walt Disney, who rather clumsily made an offer to purchase the rights to the book for the purpose of creating a movie.  Sloane rejected the offer, hanging Disney’s proffered check over his toilet.

This kind of interest in his book led Eric to conceive a project where he would re-create, on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum of Kent, Connecticut, the cabin as described by Noah Blake.  The project began in earnest over the summer of 1974 and was complete and open to museum visitors that autumn. The Noah Blake cabin continued to delight visitors for decades.  By 2002, however, it was clear that the elements were taking a toll on the cabin.  Five years later, the cabin was locked and the public barred from viewing the interior.  Museum curator Barbara Russ, with the help of Sloane biographer and museum volunteer James Mauch, worked a number of avenues in an attempt to focus attention on the condition of the structure.  At the time, the State of Connecticut (the owner and operating authority of the Eric Sloane Museum) showed little interest in the museum and in the plight of the cabin.

By early 2012, however, things began to change.  Mauch tacked to a different course, founding the federally recognized non-profit group The Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum.  Mauch re-conceptualized the task of restoring the cabin from a grass roots effort to bring awareness to a problem to a coordinated effort aimed at advocating for a group of dedicated volunteers to assume direct responsibility for the cabin. The Friends board worked to grow membership and financial support while working closely with Barbara Russ to develop innovative, hands-on programming at the museum.

In the ensuing years the Friends underwrote the annual art exhibit and sale, created a series of hands on workshops that led to the construction of a traditional New England dry laid stone gathering area and fire pit, re-engineered the space between the museum and the Kent iron furnace, and undertook numerous other initiatives to enhance the museum collection and visitor experience.  The organization was also building credibility and rapport with representatives from the State of Connecticut.

THE VISION OF FRIENDS VICE PRESIDENT JEFFREY BISCHOFF – A TRADITIONAL DRY LAID NEW ENGLAND STONEWALL GATHERING AREA, COMPLETE WITH FIRE PIT.

It was in early 2015 that Mauch forged a relationship with Kristina Newman-Scott, the new Director of Culture for the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the organization tasked with day-to-day operations (among a myriad of other things) of the four state-run museums in Connecticut.  Kristina understood immediately the importance of the four museums and worked diligently to create an environment in which the state could work cooperatively with the Friends organization.  Catherine Labadia, Staff Archaeologist for the DECD, worked tirelessly to create an innovative and creative framework whereby the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum could assume responsibility for the rehabilitation of the Noah Blake Cabin.  In the summer of 2016, the State of Connecticut and the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum entered into a formal agreement to have the Friends assume responsibility for restoring the Noah Blake Cabin.

The Friends are seeking an initial $50,000 in donations to underwrite the first phase of the cabin restoration. Vice President Jeffrey Bischoffwill spearhead this fundraising effort. The Friends intend to re-build the cabin using a series of hands-on learning classes devoted to traditional skills, similar to the very successful series of courses offered in traditional New England stonewall building during the 2015 programming season. Class participants will learn from experts in the fields of timber framing, stone foundation construction, carpentry, shingle making, and many more early American skills, as they become an active and important part in the restoration process. Once completed, the Friends envision utilizing the cabin as a teaching tool for all ages.

Won’t you please help us to bring the magic back to Kent?

We welcome your support at any level to help us to rebuild the Noah Blake Cabin.  When sending your donation, tell us your story of your connection to Eric Sloane, the museum he founded, and the Noah Blake cabin.  Send it to wil@weatherhillfarm.com.   We’ll publish your story on our website, www.noahblakecabin.org.

Box of Blacksmith-made iron nails- $20.00

Antique bottle (for Noah’s window) – $25.00

Shutter or door hardware – $35.00

Bundle of wooden shingles – $50.00

Section of exact-match siding – $75.00

Adzed wooden beam – $100.00

Sawn Lumber fund – $150.00

Period Accessories Fund – $Custom.  We welcome donations of period accessories to compliment the Noah Blake cabin restoration.

We welcome your financial gift:

The Noah Blake Cabin Restoration Fund

℅ Lia Brassord, Treasurer

72 Amity Place

Amherst, MA  01002

We are a 501c3 organization.  Please contact us for more information

Earth Flight Environment by Eric Sloane

Some great photographs can be found at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collections Division.  The photographs show the finished version of Eric Sloane’s Earth Flight Environment as well as some images of the artist at work.  I did not realize that there is another Eric Sloane mural, hidden currently behind a wall, in the Age of Flight section of the museum.  From the photograph, it looks like a great mural.  Has anyone seen it in person?

Pressing Apples on October the 8th

Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum board member Jeffrey Bischoff hauled his cider press up from southern Connecticut to press apples during the October the 8th event. Many of the visitors to the October 8th event really enjoyed seeing this in operation, including my daughter Edith and Melissa Roth Cherniske’s son Aiden. Thanks to Jeff for helping to make it a special event!20150101_102931-2  20150101_102941-2  20150101_102947-2 20150101_103000-3 20150101_103010-2 20150101_103309-2 20150101_103316-2

Eric Sloane and the New England Apple, Culinary Style!

What a wonderful time we all had Saturday, October 8th! Chef Anne Gallagher helped us to continue to celebrate the New England Apple. During the year, we have celebrated the theme of “Eric Sloane and the New England Apple” in a variety of creative ways: in the spring, we celebrated in “live form” by working with Peter Montgomery to plant an heirloom variety orchard now known as the “Noah Blake Orchard”, in the summer we celebrated the apple artistically during the annual art exhibit and sale by focusing the artists’ attention on the apple as a source of inspiration, and this past Saturday we celebrated the apple in a culinary way with Chef Anne.
Chef Anne created a number of amazing dishes, including some delicious fresh-baked apple muffins and scrumptious mini burgers grilled on apple wood served with cheddar and apple salsa. We had some scions from the Seek-No-Further apple tree (see Eric Sloane’s A Reverence for Wood for his thoughts on the tree) that were chipped into dry smoking wood that Anne used throughout the day. Everything Anne served was DELICIOUS!
Our thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate the New England Apple with us!

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Our thanks to Melissa Roth Cherniske, who sent to me this photo of her son Aiden and my daughter Edith pressing apples with Jeff Bischoff on October the 8th.  Melissa’s family is delightful – Aiden is a true gentleman and a very interesting young man, and her husband Darrell is incredibly helpful to us during and after our events.  Our thanks to your wonderful family!

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